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4 Best Second-Chance Checking Accounts of 2024

anUnlike credit cards, banks typically don’t review your credit score when you open a bank account, such as a checking account or savings account. Instead, banks and credit unions will review your information with a reporting agency that tracks banking activity, such as ChexSystems. Your ChexSystems report includes information about account openings, closings, overdrafts and more.

If you have negative marks on your ChexSystems report, such as closing an account with a negative balance, it will be more difficult to be approved for a new deposit account. However, some checking accounts are designed for people in this situation. These accounts are usually referred to as second chance accounts, and your ChexSystem report usually isn’t reviewed as part of your application.

CNBC Select compared options from some of the top financial institutions to round up the best second-chance checking accounts. (See our methodology for more information on how we made this list.)

Best second-chance checking accounts

Best for no fees

Chime Second Chance Banking

  • Monthly maintenance fee

  • Minimum balance

  • Free ATM network

  • Overdraft fee

  • Minimum deposit to open

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

Pros

  • No minimum balance
  • No monthly fees
  • No overdraft fee
  • FDIC-insured
  • Access to over 60,000 fee-free ATMs

Cons

  • No APY
  • No physical branches

Best for rewards

Varo Bank Account

Bank Account Services are provided by Varo Bank, N.A., Member FDIC.

  • Monthly maintenance fee

  • Minimum balance

  • Free ATM network

    More than 40,000+ fee-free in-network Allpoint ATMs in the U.S.

  • Overdraft fee

  • Minimum deposit to open

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Mobile check deposit

Pros

  • Huge ATM network
  • No monthly fee and no overdraft fee
  • No minimum balance

Cons

  • No APY
  • No physical locations

Who’s this for? Varo is great for those who want the convenience of mobile banking and an opportunity to earn cash back on select debit card purchases.

Standout benefits: With a Varo debit card, you can earn up to 6% cash back (up to $50 back per month) on eligible purchases with specific retailers. These offers vary, but in the past have included brands such as McDonald’s, Popeyes, Macy’s, PetSmart and Forever 21.

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Best for welcome bonus

Chase Secure Banking℠

  • Monthly maintenance fee

  • Minimum deposit to open

  • Minimum balance

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Free ATM network

    More than 15,000 Chase ATMs

  • ATM fee reimbursement

  • Overdraft fee

  • Mobile check deposit

Pros

  • Top-rated mobile app
  • No minimum deposit to open an account
  • New account holders can earn a $100 bonus with qualifying activities

Cons

  • No APY
  • No reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees

Who’s this for? Chase Secure Banking℠ is a second-chance account that comes with a rare opportunity to earn a welcome bonus.

Standout benefits: New Chase Secure Banking account members can currently earn a $100 bonus after completing 10 qualifying transactions within the first 60 days after opening the account. Qualifying transactions include online bill payments, debit card purchases, ACH credits, Zelle transactions and Chase QuickDeposit activity.

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Best for military members

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking

Wells Fargo Bank is a Member FDIC.

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $5, with options to waive

  • Minimum deposit to open

  • Minimum balance

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Free ATM network

  • Overdraft fee

Pros

  • Four ways to waive the monthly maintenance fee
  • Send and receive money with Zelle
  • Easy-to-use mobile app

Cons

  • $25 minimum deposit to open an account
  • $35 overdraft fee
  • No APY
  • No reimbursement for out-of-network ATM fees

How to avoid the monthly fee:

  • Maintain $500 in combined minimum deposit balances,
  • or make qualifying direct deposits totaling $500 or more,
  • or be between 17 – 24 years old
  • or have a linked Wells Fargo Campus ATM Card or Campus Debit Card (for college students)

More about the best second-chance checking accounts

Chime Second Chance Banking

Chime is an online-only fintech company that offers banking services through The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A. Its Second Chance Banking option boasts no monthly fees and no credit or ChexSystems check. Although it has no physical branches, you can deposit cash for free at Walgreens locations.

Minimum balance requirement

None

Minimum opening deposit

None

Annual percentage yield (APY)

N/A

Important fees

  • Overdraft fee: None
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • ATM fees: No transaction fees at MoneyPass ATMs at 7-Eleven locations and Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATMs

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Varo Bank Account

Varo is an online-only national bank. It has no monthly fees, no overdraft fees and no minimum balance requirement. Customers have access to more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs, and those with direct deposits set up can get access to their funds up to two days early.

Minimum balance requirement

None

Minimum opening deposit

None

Annual percentage yield (APY)

N/A

Important fees

  • Overdraft fee: None
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: No fees at U.S.-based All-Point ATMs; $3.50 fee for cash withdrawals at non-All-Point ATMs and international ATMs

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Chase Secure Banking℠

Chase Secure Banking℠ has a small monthly maintenance fee with no way to waive it, but the account’s welcome bonus can ease the sting of that fee significantly. As one of the biggest banks in the U.S., customers have access to a large ATM network and more than 4,700 physical branches. Other perks include Chase Credit Journey, allowing you access to your free credit score and identity fraud alerts.

Minimum balance requirement

None

Minimum opening deposit

None

Annual percentage yield (APY)

N/A

Important fees

  • Overdraft fee: None
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $4.95
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • ATM fees: None for Chase ATMs; $3 for non-Chase ATMs in the U.S.; $5 per withdrawal for non-Chase ATMs outside the U.S.

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Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking offers a clear path to eventually to a standard bank account. After 365 days, customers can convert into any Wells Fargo consumer checking account available. Although the account has a low monthly fee, there are several ways to avoid it.

Minimum balance requirement

None

Minimum opening deposit

$25

Annual percentage yield (APY)

N/A

Important fees

  • Overdraft fee: N/A
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $5, can be waived by meeting certain requirements
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • ATM fees: $0 at Wells Fargo ATMs; $2.50 at non-Wells Fargo U.S. ATMs (including U.S. territories); Up to $5 at non-Wells Fargo ATMs outside the U.S.

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FAQs

What is a second-chance bank account?

A second-chance bank account is a type of bank account that’s available for consumers who have had issues with overdrafts or other negative banking activity. This type of account typically doesn’t require a ChexSystems report review.

What is ChexSystems?

ChexSystems is a reporting agency that collects information about consumer banking activity. Banks and credit unions will often review your ChexSystems report when you apply for accounts such as checking or savings accounts.

Can you open a bank account if you have a negative balance at another bank?

If you have an unpaid negative account balance with one bank, it can hurt your chances of being approved for an account with a different bank. This is because this information will appear on your consumer report with agencies such as ChexSystems. In this situation, you may want to consider a second chance bank account that doesn’t require a ChexSystems review as part of the application.

Bottom line

If you struggled with overdraft charges, bounced checks or negative bank account balances, you’re likely to have a hard time getting approved for a new bank account. However, second-chance accounts provide an opportunity for a fresh start. There are even second-chance checking accounts available with no overdraft fees, no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements.

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Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every banking story is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of mortgage products. While CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics.

Our methodology

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.



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