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What Is A Second-Chance Checking Account?

Getting rejected for something as essential as a checking account can feel discouraging. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, some of the common reasons banks and credit unions deny checking account applications include a history of negative marks on your account caused by instances such as excess overdraft or suspicion of fraud.  

But one rejection doesn’t mean you’re permanently exiled from the banking system. Second-chance checking accounts offer you an opportunity to access a checking account and start building a better financial record for your future. 

Below, CNBC Select breaks down how second-chance checking accounts work and how to decide if one is right for you. 

What is a second-chance checking account? 

A second-chance checking account is an account where the bank or credit union doesn’t examine your ChexSystems or Early Warning Services report when deciding whether to approve your application. Similar to how the major credit bureaus collect and report data provided to creditors and lenders to assist them in determining an individual’s borrowing credibility, ChexSystems and Early Warning Services also generate reports on an individual’s banking activity. 

A track record of banking issues may result in customers being blacklisted by these agencies which banks often review before approving new account applications. That means having a flawed banking record can cause your application to be rejected.   

Second-chance banks, on the other hand, don’t look at this record and allow you a “second chance” at using a checking account. Some of our favorite second-chance checking accounts include Chime Second Chance Banking, which offers no overdraft fees, monthly maintenance fees or foreign transaction fees. Note you may still have to pay any cash withdrawal and third-party fees, along with out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM. 

Chime Second Chance Banking

  • Monthly maintenance fee

  • Minimum balance

  • Free ATM network

  • Overdraft fee

  • Minimum deposit to open

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking also doesn’t charge overdraft fees but it does require a $25 minimum opening deposit and a monthly maintenance fee of $10. However, the maintenance fee is waived if you’re part of Wells Fargo’s Worldwide Military Banking program, if the primary account holder is between the ages of 13 and 24 or if the account is linked to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM Card or Campus Debit Card.  

Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking

Wells Fargo Bank is a Member FDIC.

  • Monthly maintenance fee

    $10, with options to waive

  • Minimum deposit to open

  • Minimum balance

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Free ATM network

  • Overdraft fee


  • Three ways to waive the monthly maintenance fee
  • Large ATM network
  • No minimum balance


  • $25 minimum deposit to open an account
  • No APY
  • $10 Monthly fee

It’s important to keep in mind that second-chance checking accounts typically don’t offer overdraft protection since the purpose of these accounts is to help you avoid overdrawing your account and build a positive banking history. While these accounts don’t come with overdraft fees, they simply decline any transactions made when your account lacks sufficient funds. 

Pros and cons of second-chance banking 

Is a second-chance checking account right for you? 

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Bottom line

A second-chance checking account can be a great option if you’ve been denied a standard checking account due to previous banking issues. Although this account type may come with some limitations, it’s a solid choice to access an essential banking account while building up a track record of responsible use.  

Why trust CNBC Select?

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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