Many people don’t realize that you can be denied a bank account much like you can be denied a credit card. This denial is based on your banking history. If you have made mistakes in your banking past, banks can legally refuse to open an account for you.
Reasons for Denial
ChexSystems is an agency that collects data on consumer banking habits much like TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian collect data on consumer credit habits. If a bank has denied your application for a bank account, it’s likely based on your ChexSystems report.
If you’ve previously had a lot of problems like overdrafts, bounced checks, or racked up a lot of bank fees, these things will show up on your ChexSystems report and when the bank pulls the report, they’ll refuse to open an account for you because you’re too risky to take on as a customer.
You Need A Bank Account
It’s very difficult and often expensive to navigate modern life without a bank account. You need a bank account to receive your paychecks, to pay your bills, and as a secure place to store your cash. Without a bank account, you may be forced to use expensive alternatives like pre-paid debit cards, money orders, and check cashing businesses.
You Have Options
OPTION 1: If you’ve been blacklisted by ChexSystems, you have have two very strong options. The first is to locate a bank that does not use ChexSystems. There are probably a handful in each state, but it is easier to find national or regional banks who offer consumers “non-ChexSystems checking accounts” because they are the small minority of institutions not using ChexSystems.
OPTION 2: The second option is to contact a bank or credit union that offers a second chance banking account. In most cases, these banks and credit unions use ChexSystems, but will still offer you an account as long as your ChexSystems report does not allege fraud. Banks and credit unions offering second chance checking are usually willing to forgive your previous banking mistakes and give you a second chance. CheckingExpert.com has one of the most exhaustive lists of second chance banks and credit unions organized by state. Check it out!
Our Top Pick: Best Fresh Start Bank Account
The BBVA Online Free Checking Account is our hands-down winner for the best fresh start checking account. Unknown to some, BBVA is owned by a multi-billion dollar international bank and has won several awards for their leading products and online services. Setting up an account is almost too easy and the smartphone app tools are the best we’ve reviewed. Simply stated, the BBVA Online Checking account has a combination of features no other bank can match. Features include:
- NO monthly fees or service charges
- NO monthly account balance minimums
- NO fees at over 64,000 Allpoint® and BBVA ATMs worldwide
- FREE award-winning mobile app (one of the best we’ve reviewed)
- FREE Visa® debit card you can personalize with your favorite photo
- FREE online banking, bill pay, and mobile deposits
- FREE money transfer to and from any email or mobile phone in the U.S. via Popmoney®, Venmo®, and other instant transfer services
- FREE dedicated team of mobile bankers you can contact via text, email, or phone
- FREE cash back rewards for everyday debit card purchases with Simple CashBackSM
- FREE unlimited check writing
- FREE Visa Zero Liability protects you against fraudulent purchases made on your debit card
- Open with as little as $25
Applying is simple. The BBVA website is easy to interact with and takes about 3 minutes from start to finish. With all these great digital tools, no monthly service charge, and no ATM fees at 64,000 ATMs worldwide, what more could you want from your checking account?
My husband and I have been using BBVA for about 3 years now. We spent a lot of time going through different banks trying to find one that fits all of our needs and wants. BBVA has everything we want and then some. The customer service has always been wonderful and helpful anytime we’ve needed to contact them. I hate that we wasted so much time looking for the perfect bank when it was just a couple of clicks away.
This is a great bank!
Amanda, BBVA CustomerOpen a BBVA Online account today!
The Runners Up: Best Non-ChexSystems Banks
Chime is an online-only consumer bank that offers checking accounts without ChexSystems credit checks. While Chime is a simple solution for online banking, it takes less than two minutes to sign up.
- Receive Paycheck 2 Days Earlier
- No Monthly Fees
- $0 Required Minimum Balance
- No Hidden, Overdraft, or Foreign Transaction Fees.
- 38,000 Fee-Free MoneyPass® ATMs
- Mobile Daily and Balance Notifications
- Automatic Savings Programs
- Chime Visa® Debit Card
Chime offers one of the fastest-growing bank accounts in America that doesn’t use ChexSystems. The entire process is simple and sleek with its mobile banking app that offers real-time notifications 24/7. Direct deposit can allow for paychecks to be spendable 2 days earlier than other banks. Chime does a great job at keeping all fees transparent, by letting everyone know that they don’t charge hidden fees. This includes overdraft fees, minimum balance fees, monthly service fees, and even foreign transaction fees.Open a Chime account today!
TD Ameritrade is not considered a consumer bank, but instead a brokerage. Normally used for investments and retirements, TD Ameritrade can be used for cash management. ChexSystems does not apply to this brokerage.
- ATM Fees Reimbursed Nationwide
- No Monthly Maintenance Fees
- Free Online Bill Pay
- Unlimited Check Writing
- Added Convenience for Apply Pay®
- Mobile App Check Deposits
- Earn Interest
- Added Rewards Program
TD Ameritrade provides a great alternative to traditional consumer banks and credit unions by offering cash management services in-line with their investment products. This means that money can be transferred easily between accounts and can be done instantly, without fees. Earning interest is also a great perk TD Ameritrade offers, while overall not using ChexSystems, letting anyone use their platform.
United Bank is a regional bank with national reach and doesn’t use ChexSystems for its United Free Checking accounts.
- United Visa Check Card®
- Free E-Statements
- Free Mobile Banking with Check Deposit
- Free Online Banking with Bill Pay
- Apple Pay®, Android Pay®, and Samsung Pay® compatible
- No Minimum Balance
- No Monthly Cycle Service Charge
United Bank is an attractive choice for individuals looking for a non-ChexSystem bank account, but lacks the rewards compared to other alternatives. Once a relationship has been established with United bank, credit cards and lending products could be a great way to improve credit score and trust.
Memory Bank is an all-digital bank, which means all of our banking services are as close as your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
- Free MemoryBank MasterCard® debit card
- Over 92,000 surcharge-free ATMs
- 24/7 online banking with no monthly maintenance fees
- MemoryAlert balance and activity notifications, configured when and how you want them.
- Live customer support through online chat, phone and email.
- Online statements
- Minimum initial deposit of $50
OneUnited Bank has been courting consumers who need a second chance with their U2 E-Checking account. They have branches in 3 states, but offer the account nationwide online.
- Free Visa debit card
- $100 minimum to open
- Mobile banking app
- No minimum balance
- Surcharge free ATM banking at over 25,000 locations
- $12 maintenance fee is waived the first month
The Bottom Line
Don’t worry if you’ve made a few mistakes in the past when it comes to banking and need a new checking account. Happily, there are some strong solutions without having to give into the expensive alternatives such as payday loans, pre-paid debit cards, money orders, and check cashing businesses.