Smart Reviews

Finding a Second-Chance Checking Account

People with bad financial histories might struggle to find banks that are willing to offer them checking accounts. That’s why we’ve evaluated several second-chance checking accounts to help people learn about their options. In spite of a less than perfect history on ChexSystems, these three banks will work with you to provide a second chance for you to open a checking account and improve your financial profile. These accounts do not rely on your past history and offer a straightforward way to get your financial life back on track. These accounts are temporary in nature and once you have re-established yourself as a responsible client you will want to upgrade to a regular account.

Wells Fargo is one of the few major banks that offer these accounts. Before signing up be aware that you will need a minimum deposit of $50 to open the account and that there is a $10 monthly maintenance fee. In order to avoid this fee, you will need to meet at least one of the following criteria: make 10 debit card purchases, maintain a balance of no less than $1,500, or receive at least $500 via direct deposit each month. Wells Fargo is one of the few banks that provides steps to avoid a lot of monthly maintenance fees.

There are a lot of fees associated with the second-chance account at Woodforest but after a period of 180-days, you will be able to apply to switch to a less costly option. It takes only $25 to open the account but be aware of the many fees associated with doing so, such as account and debit card set-up fees. The monthly fee is either $11.95 or $9.95 with direct deposit, and again once you are able to upgrade your account, the others available from Woodforest do not include monthly maintenance fees. Please note that this bank does not currently operate in all 50 states.

First National Bank and Trust Company offers its “renew” account for people with less than perfect history and it is a minimum of $25 to get the account started. No minimum monthly balance is required but there are monthly maintenance fees of $9.95 or $7.95 with direct deposit. There is also a set-up fee of $15. If you keep your account in good standing for a yearlong period you will be eligible to upgrade to a traditional account. Their no-fee ATM network includes 70,000 machines located all over the world.

If you are ready to improve your banking and credit history but are unsure of where to start, these three banks offer the best second-chance checking accounts and are a great place to start. Local community banks and credit unions are also great places to check on the availability of second-chance checking accounts if these options are not available in your area.