If you’re one of the over 1 million households in California without a bank account, access to a growing economy can seem out of reach.
Banks and credit unions use a company called ChexSystems to monitor almost all checking account holders in the state. Most people get flagged for bouncing too many checks or not being in a position to pay excessive returned check fees (“NSF”). Your bank then either closes your checking account or denies you the opportunity to open a new account because of the information contained in the ChexSystems database.
And with the vast majority of banks and credit unions in California using ChexSystems, it’s very hard to march across the street to another bank in hopes of getting a new account.
Fortunately, there are banks and credit unions in California that do not use ChexSystems. There are also banks and credit unions that offer so-called second chance bank accounts. They are hard to find, but when you do it is a great relief to know there are financial institutions that want your business. And they won’t charge you an arm and leg for it.
CheckingExpert.com has helped thousands of people open second chance banking accounts. We’ve selected the best accounts in California based on acceptance rates, checking account features and benefits, and the accounts with the lowest fees. Best of all, you can open an account today!
Second Chance Banking in California for June 2023Open an account today!
Chime® is a fast-growing internet-only financial company and our top choice for a second chance bank account.
And, best of all, Chime accepts almost all customers who apply. Even if you have bad or poor credit or have been blacklisted by ChexSystems or the credit bureaus.
Features include mobile deposits, direct deposit, online bill payment, NO monthly or annual fees, NO overdrafts fees1, NO credit check, and NO CheckSystems. Opening an account is super easy. It takes about 2 minutes and you don’t have to make an initial deposit. Here’s what we like:
No Monthly Fees
For the past couple of years, Chime’s huge growth has come at the expense of the big banks and their outrageous fees. And it’s one of the best features of a Chime account. There are no monthly or annual service charges, no minimum balance requirement, no foreign transaction fees, no fees at over 60,000 ATMs2, and no fees for mobile and online bill pay.
Deposit Cash for FREE at Over 8,500 Walgreens
Having access to a physical location for cash deposits is important to Chime members. And now it’s easy. All you have to do is go into a Walgreens store, hand the cashier the cash you want to deposit along with your Chime card, and the deposit will show up in your account immediately. This offers Chime members more walk-in locations than any other bank in the U.S. With over 78% of the country within 5 miles of a Walgreens, this is a significant benefit for millions.3
Unlike big banks, Chime was created during the smartphone era and, therefore, features an app that is more than just a way for customers to review their bank accounts.
You can transfer funds to friends and family, Chime members or not… and they can claim their money instantly4 without any additional apps. The Chime app also has a series of notifications that you can turn on or turn off so you stay in complete control. Misplaced or lost your card? You can instantaneously turn off your card using the app. No wonder over 300,000 customers have given the app a 5-star review.
Chime was one of the first to offer a “round up” option. If you use your Chime card on a purchase of $10.65, Chime gives you the option of automatically rounding up to $11.00 and putting the remaining $.35 in your free Chime savings account. And that adds up over time! Plus, Chime pays 2.00% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)5 in interest on that savings account.
If you use direct deposit with your Chime account, you can get your paycheck up to 2 days early6. And Chime is just saying no to big bank NSF charges with a fee-free overdraft program up to $200. We don’t think there is another company innovating for their customers like Chime.Get a Chime Account Today!
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. See additional disclaimers below.
U.S. Bank is the fifth largest bank in the country with the majority of its 2,000+ branches located in 26 states mostly located in the west and midwest. Their new Bank Smartly® Checking account offers a cash bonus up to $400 and comes with some great features:
- A U.S. Bank Visa debit card
- Online banking and bill pay
- Mobile banking with mobile check deposit
- Send money with Zelle®
- Access to U.S. Bank Smart Rewards™ to reap additional benefits
- No NSF charges for overdraft balances under $50
- No ATM fees at U.S. Bank ATMs
- No surcharge fees at 40,000 MoneyPass ATMs
- Member FDIC
To get an account, you’ll need to make an opening deposit of $25. The monthly service fee is $6.95 but can be waived if you maintain a minimum balance of $1,500 or by having a minimum monthly direct deposit of $1,000. You can also avoid the monthly fee if you are 24 and under, 65 and over, or a member of the military.
You can earn up to $400 when you open a new U.S. Bank Smartly Checking account and a Standard Savings account and complete qualifying activities. The offer is subject to certain terms and limitations and is valid through June 20, 2023.
The U.S. Bank Smartly Checking account comes with one of the best mobile apps on the market. Over one million customers have given the app an overall rating of five stars. You can manage your entire account from a computer or your smartphone.
U.S. Bank repeatedly makes the list of one of the best banks in the country.Open an account today!
Lili offers a checking account and Visa debit card with no initial deposit or minimum balance requirement, no hidden fees, no credit check, and no ChexSystems. Lili makes getting your account easy! Here’s more of what we like:
- FREE business VISA debit card
- FREE (and very user-friendly) mobile app
- NO minimum balance
- NO NSF charges or fees
- NO credit check or ChexSystems
- Receive direct deposit funds 2 days earlier than many banks
- Mobile check deposit
- Unlimited fee-free transactions
- Takes 3 minutes to apply
The Lili smartphone app gives you access to tools to manage your expenses and taxes. You assign a category for each expense by swiping left for “life” or personal expenses and right for “work” or business. You can also add receipts to transactions, download quarterly and annual expense reports, and track spending in real-time. Lili will automatically assign an expense category based on the merchant, but allows you to edit the category as needed.
Robust for Most
Lili is best for small business owners who want a no-frills, no cost, no minimum balance bank account. You can run all your business and personal expenses through the account and can easily identify and separate them out for accounting and tax purposes. After your account is set up, you can add a business name or DBA name to the account. And you manage everything from the touch of your smartphone.
But there are some limits, too. Lili doesn’t offer checks and you can’t set up your account with an employer identification number. Depositing cash at Green Dot locations can cost up to $4.95 and mobile check deposits are limited to $6,000 per month.
Lili recently announced a new set of features called Lili Pro. The cost is $9 per month and includes a no-fee overdraft up to $200 on debit card purchases and a robust and unlimited invoicing capability built into the smartphone app. On top of that, users receive 2.00% APY on savings account balances and a more robust expense tracking capability. The Pro version also offers cashback when you make purchases at over 14,000 merchants. If you’re not sure you want to sign up for Lili Pro, get Lili Standard (no cost) and you can upgrade later.
You can set up an account online. If you’re a freelancer, you should receive approval and account access almost instantly. All others (Sole Proprietor, Single-Member LLC, Multi-Member LLC, General Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership, or S Corp) can take a couple of days to get approved. You can fund your account using a mobile check deposit, direct deposit, ACH transfer, or by linking your Venmo, PayPal, or Cash App account.
Lili is open for business. Anyone who is their own boss: a sole proprietor, gigsters (ie. Uber and Lyft drivers), contractors, freelancers, or part-time entrepreneurs – you all qualify! Whether you opt for the fee-free Lili Standard account or the upgraded Lili Pro account, we think you’re going to like the way Lili helps you manage your growing business!Open a Lili account now!
For many people, having access to a local bank branch is paramount when setting up a checking account. With over 16,000 ATMs and 4,700 branches across the country, the Chase Secure Banking account might be the perfect fit.
Here are some of our favorite features with this account:
- NO credit check
- NO ChexSystems
- NO minimum deposit to open
- NO overdraft fees
- FREE access to over 16,000 Chase ATMs
- FREE Chase Online Bill Pay
- FREE money orders and cashier’s checks
What to Know About the Approval Process
Opening the Chase Secure Banking account has some important qualifiers. First, Chase verifies your name, address, and social security through Experian, but doesn’t pull a credit report or credit score. Chase doesn’t use ChexSystems for this account, but the bank does use Early Warning Services (EWS). Additionally, if you’ve had an account closed by Chase in the past, your application will not be approved. Past account closures can include missteps such as non-payment of fees, excessive overdrafts, or suspected fraud.
Finally, Chase gives you the opportunity to open your new account online or by taking a printable coupon to a branch location. We strongly recommend you apply online as branch locations have been known to use ChexSystems during the approval process.
Highly Rated Mobile App
Available for iOS and Android, the Chase Mobile app offers 24/7 access to your account. The app is highly rated, earning 4.8 stars out of 5 on the App Store and 4.4 stars out of 5 on Google Play.
You can transfer funds, deposit checks, send money with Zelle, set up account alerts and notifications, and lock your card if it’s been lost or stolen.
The app also has incredibly helpful budgeting tools, personalized insights, and the ability to check your credit score for free.
Chase doesn’t offer overdraft services with this account as you can only spend the money you have available and the account does not include paper checks. You should also know that using non-Chase ATMs can cost from $3.00 to $5.00 per transaction.
Chase Secure Banking carries a $4.95 monthly service fee that cannot be waived. But combined with all the free services and the $100 cash bonus when you use the card for 10 purchases within 60 days, the monthly fee doesn’t pose a problem for most customers. And, you’ll have peace of mind with Chase’s Zero Liability Protection if you detect and report unauthorized transactions.
Banking With A Leader
Chase claims to be involved with 40% of Americans in some way or another. There can be comfort in size, reach, and stability. Chase has all of that and the assurance they will be there for a long, long time.
If you’ve wanted to bank with Chase and wondered if you’d qualify, we think you’re going to be really happy with the Chase Secure Banking account.Get a Chase Secure Banking account today!
The SoFi Checking & Savings account is offered by SoFi Bank. It’s a checking AND savings account on steroids and we love that. Plus, they don’t use ChexSystems to approve accounts.
You get a debit MasterCard and a very slick smartphone app. You can make deposits, write checks, utilize electronic bill pay, and transfer money. You don’t need to make an opening deposit to get an account and SoFi never charges monthly maintenance fees. You’ll have access to a large and fee-free ATM network along with a generous cashback program.
Using the SoFi direct deposit option unlocks additional benefits. First, if you overspend a bit, SoFi will cover up to $50 with no overdraft fees. Second, you’ll receive a much higher interest amount of 4.20% APY on savings account balances and 2.50% APY on checking account balances. If you decide not to utilize direct deposit, you’ll receive 1.20% APY.
The $275 bonus comes in two parts. When you deposit at least $10, SoFi will credit your account $25. When you set up direct deposit from an employer, SoFi will credit your account up to $250 (depending on the amount of your direct deposit) and bump the interest rate you earn to 4.20% APY. The bonus and interest rate are some of the highest we’ve seen.
The sign-up process can take less than 60 seconds. With over 4 million members, SoFi is a bank you can count on!
SoFi has been great! The account was easy to open and I got my debit card a few days later. The smartphone app is easy to use and I can check everything from my computer, too. I’ve had some issues with ChexSystems in the past and SoFi seems to be the perfect bank.
Kevin M., SoFi CustomerGet a SoFi account today!
Want to earn cash back on Walmart purchases – up to $75 each year? Then you might love the Walmart MoneyCard. It’s a debit card that has some strong features such as cashback on Walmart purchases, overdraft protection, interest on your savings, and a mobile app that lets you track your purchases and deposit funds into your account.
Our favorite features include:
- Easy approval: no ChexSystems or credit check
- No initial deposit is required and there are no monthly minimums
- Deposit cash for free at any Walmart store and it shows up 10 minutes later
- Deposit checks using the Walmart MoneyCard smartphone app
- Easily request multiple cards for family use1
- Manage your account from your computer or the smartphone app
- 3% cashback on Walmart.com purchases, 2% cashback for Walmart fuel stations, and 1% cash back for use in-store2
- Earn 2.00% APY on money you set aside in a free savings account3
- With qualifying direct deposits4, you can opt-in and enjoy overdraft protection of up to $200 on eligible purchases5
- No monthly fee when you direct deposit $500+ in the previous monthly period. Otherwise, there’s a $5.94 monthly fee.6
The Walmart MoneyCard is available in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.Open an account today!
Few things are guaranteed in life, but the company behind the Zolve Azpire Credit Builder card is changing that. Part checking account and part credit card, the Azpire card helps customers use their account for everyday purchases and the payments are reported monthly to all three credit bureaus. Here’s what the Azpire account offers:
- No-hassle 2-minute application process
- Apply with SSN, ITIN, or Passport number
- No credit check
- No monthly or annual fees
- No minimum balance and no overdraft fees
- No security deposit
- Free withdrawals at over 67,000 partner ATMs
- Free smartphone app where you can manage your account
- Free international money transfers
- Free rewards and cashback program
- FDIC insured account up to $250,000
How Does The Azpire Credit Builder Card Work?
Getting started is easy. You can add money from an existing checking account, PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, or any other account that allows you to transfer money to a bank account. The money you add to your Zolve Account becomes the credit limit on your Azpire card. You then use this for making everyday purchases like any other typical debit card or credit card. You can direct deposit your paycheck or add more money when your account balance gets low.
You’ll never be charged minimum balance or maintenance fees and there are no late fees or interest charges. And, if you use the Azpire card responsibly, you may qualify for a credit card with a limit of up to $5,000 in as little as four months.
The brilliance of the Azpire credit builder card is that it guarantees people will get a credit builder card and an FDIC-insured checking account while also reporting their daily transactions as positive credit-building history to all 3 credit bureaus. No regular checking account can do that. Plus, you get zero liability fraud and theft protection through Mastercard.
Azpire is a great way to give your aspirations a boost!Get an Azpire account in 2 minutes!
Acorns doesn’t use ChexSystems or a credit report to approve accounts and offers some strong benefits.
We love the heavy metal tungsten Visa debit card and the world-class smartphone app that allows you to manage every aspect of your new checking account such as budgeting, spending, and security.
Another nice option is the ability to round up on every purchase and Acorns will take that money and automatically put it in a savings account. This really helps build a nest egg.
It takes about 2-3 minutes to sign up and you get both a checking and savings account. Here’s more:
- FREE Visa® debit card
- FREE bank-to-bank transfers
- FREE physical check sending online or through the mobile app
- FREE mobile check deposits
- FREE or reimbursed ATM withdrawals nationwide
- NO minimum balance or overdraft fees
- NO credit check; ChexSystems OK
- FDIC insured
There is a $3 monthly fee that is easily covered by the ATM fee reimbursement and other goodies included with the account.
If you’ve struggled with poor credit or ChexSystems, Acorns might be the perfect account.Learn More
A stand-out benefit of FreshStart Checking is the monthly service fee of only $7, which can be further reduced to $4 if your account balance is kept at $750 or higher. Added benefits of this checking option are:
- Free online banking and bill pay
- Unlimited check writing
- Overdraft protection
- A Visa card tied to your account
American United FCU’s California branches can be found in Cabazon, San Jacinto, and Coachella.
We like their Access Checking account because it provides all of the banking necessities while remaining affordable. The account comes with digital banking access, free eStatements, a free Visa debit card, and overdraft protection services. To waive the moderate $10 monthly service charge, you just need to enroll in direct deposit.
To get started, all you will need is $25 for an initial deposit. As the name may suggest, Armed Forces Bank offers accounts to anyone who is actively enrolled or retired from the U.S. Army.
There is a minimum opening balance of $50 and a $10 monthly service fee. However, there is no minimum balance requirement. Pathway Checking includes:
- Free debit card
- Free online and mobile banking
- Free telephone banking
- Free online bill pay
- Unlimited check writing
You can find a Bank OZK branch in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Irvine. Visit a branch nearest you to start rebuilding a positive banking history!
After you open your Fresh Start Checking account with a $25 opening deposit, you’ll immediately have access to online banking and bill pay, up to $100 per day of signature transactions, and up to $200 per day of withdrawals from ATMs or POS.
If your account remains in good standing after six months, you’ll unlock even more checking features! The ATM limit increases to $300, signature-based transactions can go all the way to $2500, and you’ll qualify for overdraft coverage of $300. There is a monthly charge of $20 for all Fresh Start Checking account holders.
If you would like more details or are interested in signing up for Fresh Start Checking, you can begin the process on Befit Financial Federal Credit Union’s website or visit their main branch in Vacaville, California!
After a year of no overdraft activity, New Beginnings account holders are welcome to apply for a regular checking account. CACCU has locations in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Modesto, and Roseville.
Current is another web-only national bank that has some really great features… and has become one of the fastest-growing checking accounts for consumers who want it all without all the costs and hassles.
Why are we featuring Current on our website? It’s simple: they don’t use ChexSystems or your credit report to open a new account. Sign-up takes about 2 minutes and Current has extremely high acceptance rates. But what’s really cool are the incredible features offered with this account:
- NO minimum balance
- NO deposit required to open an account
- NO overdraft fees when you overdraw by up to $100 with Overdrive™
- NO fees at over 40,000 ATMs in the U.S.
- Get your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit
- Earn 4.0% APY on your balance up to $6,000 with direct deposit; earn 0.25% APY without
- Earn points for unlimited cashback at participating retailers
- Send money instantly for free
- An elegant but simple smartphone app
- 24/7 member support
Current offers a really unique service it calls Gas Hold Removals. What’s a gas hold? Some gas stations may apply a hold from $50 to $100 when you use a debit card to pump gas. If you only pumped $10 of gas, but the gas station places a $100 hold on your funds, you won’t have access to the $90 difference for up to 3 business days! The Current debit card will immediately refund the hold so you have access to all your funds. We haven’t found that benefit anywhere in the marketplace.
Here’s what’s really important, though. Deposits are FDIC-insured up to the highest possible amount allowed: $250,000. We love the features, we love the smartphone app, and we love Current. That makes us think you’ll love them too.Learn More
Getting started with the Fresh Start account is as simple as a $50 deposit and having a savings account with Excite Credit Union. This account features no minimum balance and a moderate $15 monthly service fee. You will receive online and mobile banking, along with access to in-network ATMs wherever they are available. Out-of-network ATMs can also be accessed for a small fee of just $2.
The account comes with a Visa debit card, digital banking, and 24/7 mobile deposits. There’s no minimum balance and no monthly fees if you’re enrolled in paperless statements.
The Free Checking account allows you to send and receive money with Zelle® between friends, family, and people you trust no matter where they bank in the U.S. You can also link your debit card to digital wallets like Apple Pay® and Samsung Pay®.
Setting up an account is easy and you will need to make a $50 minimum initial deposit to get started.
With Opportunity Checking, you’ll have access to several notable features. You’ll receive a free Visa Debit card to use for transactions along with Falcon debit card fraud protection. Opportunity Checking also provides 24/7 access to services like mobile and internet banking, bill pay, and eStatements, in addition to over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs. All of that for a moderate monthly service fee of $10.
To open an Opportunity Checking account, you’ll need to make a deposit of at least $50. However, there is no minimum daily balance required. If you’re ready to learn more about Opportunity Checking, visit First Imperial Credit Union in El Centro, Brawley, Calexico, or Imperial to get started.
However, successfully keeping your account in good standing for a year will make you eligible to be upgraded to Foothill Credit Union’s Simply Free account. You can apply at one of their locations in Arcadia, Covina, or Glendora.
One significant drawback to many online-only bank accounts is that they have no way to accept cash deposits. But GO2bank accepts cash deposits at over 90,000 Green Dot locations nationwide. However, participating retailers may charge you a fee.
If you direct deposit over $500, your monthly maintenance fee of $5.00 is waived. And, they offer a pretty sweet overdraft protection program, but it has a gotcha charge of $15 if you don’t replace the funds within 24 hours.
Account-holders will appreciate the ability to budget their money with the help of a mobile app, budgeting tools, and a savings vault. In fact, they pay 4.50% on all money in the savings vault up to $5,000.
GTE Financial is one of the largest credit unions in the US. Membership is open to anyone through easy requirements and an online application process. The Go Further account includes:
- Free EMV-equipped debit card with built-in rewards
- Online and mobile banking tools
- Free bill pay service
- Easy money transfers through the Popmoney service
This account provides you with a simple and affordable way to manage your money. There is a required opening deposit of at least $100, but after that point you won’t need to worry about any monthly service fees or balance requirements. The account also includes online and mobile banking, a Visa debit card, and access to thousands of fee-free ATMs nationwide.
You can apply for a Free Checking account online or visit one of their branches and apply in-person. HomeStreet Bank has over a dozen locations in California in cities including Burbank, Fontana, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Riverside, and many others.
With Second Chance Checking, you get access to free online banking and direct deposit. Make your purchases with a debit card, and take advantage of the free automated telephone account, too. Second Chance Checking account holders will pay a moderate monthly fee of $10 in exchange for the many benefits Mid Cities CU Provides.
To learn more about what is included in Second Chance Checking or to find out if you qualify, you can visit Mid Cities Credit Union in Compton, California.
Both account options come with a free NFCU debit card. There is no monthly service fee with direct deposit. Your account is protected from overdrafts with free savings transfers, a checking line of credit or an optional overdraft protection service. You also receive:
- Free mobile deposits
- Free bill pay
- Free traditional name-only checks
- Dividends credited monthly
- A $100 per month direct deposit requirement
- $25 opening deposit along with $15 per month as a service fee
- No monthly minimum balance requirement
North County CU offers membership to anyone that lives, works, attends school or worships in San Diego county. Once you join, you can remain a member for life regardless of where you live. They have one stand-alone location in San Diego and dozens of fee-free ATMs in the area.
NorthOne is a fast-growing company built specifically around business banking solutions for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. In addition to streamlining the application process, NorthOne doesn’t check your credit and doesn’t use ChexSystems. Here’s a recap:
- FREE business Mastercard debit card
- FREE access at over 40,000 ATMs nationwide
- FREE online and mobile app
- FREE live chat (not a chatbot), telephone, or email support
- FREE in-app invoice creator
- NO minimum monthly balance requirement
- NO NSF fees
- NO ACH transfer fees
- NO credit check or ChexSystems
NorthOne doesn’t require a minimum account balance and charges a $10 monthly fee that includes unlimited transactions in your account. These include ACH payments, bill pay, debit card usage, mobile deposits, and transfers. The only other fee is $15 for wire transfers.
You can also grant read-only access to employees or your accountant or bookkeeper. This keeps your account safe while also giving access to those who need it.
NorthOne targets account approvals within one to two business days. Information required to open an account includes name, address, and social security number or tax identification number. If applicable, NorthOne may ask for a copy of your business license and business formation documents. After you’re approved, you’ll need to make a $50 minimum opening deposit.Learn More
One of the most important steps to taking your business to the next level is the need to set up a business bank account. And if you get the right business account, it can give your growing business all the tools much larger businesses enjoy… without all the big business costs.
Novo understands small business owners and makes it easy to open and manage an account. As an online-only bank, you’ll find Novo strikes the right balance between technology, human touch, and real-world benefits. Here are some of our favorite features for Novo Business Checking:
- NO monthly fees
- NO minimum balance requirement
- NO ATM fees
- NO credit check or ChexSystems
- FREE Mastercard debit card
- FREE mobile app
- FREE transfers, mailed checks, and incoming wires
- FREE invoicing to create, send, and track invoices
- FREE mobile check deposit
It takes about 10 minutes to sign up for a Novo account. You’ll need personal and business information, which may include a social security number, business tax ID, and business formation documents. They do not check your credit or use ChexSystems.
Novo is growing quickly. Their offering is popular with small business owners. The account approval process is currently taking 1-2 business days and once you’re approved, you can get full access to your account with a simple $50 deposit.
We like Novo. We think you’ll like it, too.Learn More
A $50 minimum deposit is all that’s required to open this account and the first monthly fee is actually waived for your convenience. Keeping your account positive for a whole year will also make you eligible for an upgrade to a standard checking account. Some important benefits are:
- Free online and mobile banking
- Access to 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs
- Mobile Remote Deposit Capture for depositing checks
Although OneUnited Bank only has one branch in Los Angeles, they offer services to all California residents and are in-network with hundreds of locations where you can deposit or withdraw money from your account.
With a small minimum opening deposit of $25, you can open a Fresh Start Checking account today. There is a $13 monthly service fee, but this can be reduced down to $10 by hitting $200 in direct deposits each month. Some prominent benefits of this account include:
- Online and mobile banking
- Over 30,000 fee-free ATMs
- eStatements and mobile check deposits
To get started with Fresh Start Checking, you’ll need to visit one of their branches to submit an application. They have locations in Burbank, Chatsworth, Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, and several other cities across California.
This account is very minimal and doesn’t include any extra features or perks. If you appreciate a no-frills, ultra-basic account, this may be a good option for you. There is a $10 monthly service fee and you’re able to apply for a Basic Checking account after 12 months of your account being in good standing.
Premier Community CU locations are in Manteca, Stockton, and Lodi. Visit their website or one of their branches to get started!
If approved for this account, you will have no minimum balance required and will be responsible for a $15 per month service fee. It’s worth noting that there is a $300 daily limit on withdrawals via purchases and ATMs, as well as a $500 monthly direct deposit requirement. Online and mobile banking can be accessed from anywhere and the Visa check card can be used at accepted locations.
To open an account, visit a location in South Pasadena, Los Angeles, or Van Nuys today.
The monthly service fee is only $5, but can be waived by keeping a balance of $2500 or more in your savings and checking accounts, enroll in direct deposit of $500 or more each month, or simply be under the age of 24 or over the age of 65. They also offer a Bill Pay service that allows you use the service free of charge 20 times a month.
Self-Help FCU has over a dozen branch locations in cities including Biggs, Fresno, Lamont, Modesto, Napa, and many others.
Before applying for this account, you’ll need to make sure any outstanding balances from other banks are paid off. After that, however, you’re free to apply and begin the process of recovering your financials. To open the account, a $25 deposit will be required along with a moderate $10 monthly service fee. We like that there is no minimum balance requirement and after a positive year of use you’re eligible to upgrade to a free checking account.
Strata CU has three branch locations in Bakersfield, California. In order to become a member, you must live, work, worship, or attend school in Kern County and deposit $5 into a savings account.
Features of Sun Community FCU’s checking accounts include access to 30,000+ surcharge-free ATMs, online banking, mobile banking, bill pay, and eStatements. The features and requirements of the Select Checking account are best discussed in person at one of the bank’s branches.
If you’re interested in learning more about Select Checking or finding out if you qualify, you can visit one of Sun Community Federal Credit Union’s eight branches located in Brawley, Calexico, Calipatria, El Centro, Palm Springs, and several other cities.
This account has no monthly fees associated and allows for eBanking from any device, meaning you’ll have access to your funds anywhere in the world that you have service. Building a positive checking history has never been easier with this second chance bank account.
UNIFY FCU has several branches in the greater Los Angeles area including Lakewood, Montebello, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hawthorne, and several others. Visit their website to find a branch near you!
If this sounds like a possibility for you, we recommend the Bank Freely Checking account. They don’t charge any monthly service fees and all you need to open the account is a deposit greater than $0. Union Bank understands that mistakes happen, so if you overdraw your account by an amount less than $5, they will not charge any overdraft fees.
There’s a good chance you’ll find a branch location anywhere you go in California. Bakersfield, Walnut Creek, Oakland, Vallejo, Los Angeles, and San Diego are just a few cities with Union Bank locations.
This option provides the same benefits as Upward Credit Union’s Elite Checking program, with the exception of overdraft protection. With that said, after a nine-month waiting period you are free to apply for their standard checking account. Features of Renew Checking include:
- No monthly service charge
- Visa debit cards and access to ATMs all across the country
- No minimum balance requirement
Membership is extended to those who live, work, attend school, or belong to an eligible employer in San Mateo county. You can find Upward CU branches in Burlingame, San Mateo, and Redwood City.
Opening an account is easy and Varo doesn’t check your credit or use ChexSystems. Varo doesn’t even require an initial deposit to open an account, either. There are never any monthly maintenance fees, account balance minimums, overdraft fees, foreign transaction fees, transfer fees, or debit card replacement fees.
Varo’s recent bank charter has them innovating more than ever. They have a very strong cashback program, a payroll advance option, and have started to offer their customers a secured credit card called Varo Believe.
Finally, if Varo receives a payroll notification before your payday, it can deposit your money more quickly than many banks.
There is a $5 monthly fee, but that is be waived for account holders 24 years old and younger. This account is available to residents in all 50 states.
- The largest number of branches in the U.S.
- Minimum deposit of $25 to open an account
- Online bill pay and smartphone app
- Mobile check deposit
- Includes a Visa debit card
- Send and receive money through Zelle
- Additional features include account alerts, 24/7 fraud monitoring, and zero liability protection for your debit card
Did we leave your financial institution off this list of The Best Second Chance Banking in California? Has there been a change in any of the listings? Please let us know.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.
1Eligibility requirements apply. Overdraft only applies to debit card purchases and cash withdrawals. Limits start at $20 and may be increased up to $200 by Chime. See chime.com/spotme.
2Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM. Cash deposit or other third-party fees may apply.
3Customers are limited to three $1,000 cash deposits at Walgreens each day and $10,000 each month.
4Sometimes instant transfers can be delayed. The recipient must use a valid debit card to claim funds. Once you are approved for a Chime Checking Account, see your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Pay Anyone Transfers details. Please see the back of your Chime debit card for your issuing bank. See Terms and Conditions.
5The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of May 22, 2023. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
6Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
1Family Accounts: Activated, personalized card required. Other fees apply to the additional account. Family members age 13 years and over are eligible. Limit 4 cards per account. See Deposit Account Agreement for details.
2Cash back, up to $75 per year, is credited to card balance at end of reward year and is subject to successful activation and other eligibility requirements. Redeem rewards using our website or app. You will earn cash back of three percent (3%) on qualifying purchases made at Walmart.com and in the Walmart app using your card or your card number, two percent (2%) at Walmart fuel stations, and one percent (1%) on qualifying purchases at Walmart stores in the United States (less returns and credits) posted to your Card during each reward year. Grocery delivery and pickup purchases made on Walmart.com or the Walmart app earn 1%. For the purposes of cash back rewards, a “reward year” is twelve (12) monthly periods in which you have paid your monthly fee or had it waived. See account agreement for details.
3Interest is paid annually on each enrollment anniversary based on the average daily balance of the prior 365 days, up to a maximum average daily balance of $1,000, if the account is in good standing and has a positive balance. 2.00% Annual Percentage Yield may change at any time before or after account is opened. Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of 3/1/2022.
4Direct Deposit: Early availability of direct deposit depends on timing of payroll’s payment instructions and fraud prevention restrictions may apply. As such, the availability or timing of early direct deposit may vary from pay period to pay period. Make sure the name and social security number on file with your employer or benefits provider matches what’s on your Walmart MoneyCard account exactly. We will not be able to deposit your payment if we are unable to match recipients.
5Opt-in required. $15 fee may apply to each eligible purchase transaction that brings your account negative. Balance must be brought to at least $0 within 24 hours of authorization of the first transaction that overdraws your account to avoid the fee. We require immediate payment of each overdraft and overdraft fee. Overdrafts paid at our discretion, and we do not guarantee that we will authorize and pay any transaction. Learn more about overdraft protection.
6No monthly fee with qualifying direct deposit, otherwise $5.94 a month. Waived when $500+ is loaded in the previous monthly period. First monthly fee occurs upon first use, the day after card activation or 90 days after card purchase, whichever is earlier.