There are plenty of reasons why people in Washington DC don’t have bank accounts. A study conducted by the FDIC explains that most unbanked people don’t have enough money to meet the minimum balance requirements. Another reason is that many people are blacklisted by a company called ChexSystems, a large consumer reporting agency.
If you’ve tried to open a checking account but were unable to because of a negative banking history, odds are you’ve been reported to ChexSystems. Most banks use ChexSystems to determine if you’re eligible for an account based on your history at other institutions. If you have a history of account mismanagement, unpaid debt, or a variety of other actions, banks and credit unions will see you as too much of a risk.
Fortunately, there are many banks in Washington DC that still want your business! Many of these banks offer second chance accounts that are tailored to those who have had financial hardships in the past. Others don’t use ChexSystems at all during the application process.
Our job at CheckingExpert.com is to help you find a bank or credit union in Washington DC that will provide you with the checking account that you deserve.
Second Chance Banking in Washington DC 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.
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
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
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
It’s important to note that direct deposit is required for the Renew Checking account. Once you open the account and receive the first direct deposit into your account, you will receive a debit card. The account also includes mobile access and a moderate $10 monthly service fee. After 12 months of responsible use, Healthcare Systems FCU allows you to upgrade to one of their traditional checking accounts.
Anyone working volunteering in the healthcare industry is welcome to join. You can also join if you have a household family member that works in the industry. Unfortunately, they do not have any branches in DC, but they do offer access to co-op shared branches and a location in Alexandria, VA.
Free Checking also offers unlimited check writing and no per-check charges. If you need any financial advice, this account comes with a budgeting tool called Balance Financial Fitness aimed to help you stay on track with your checking account! You’ll also earn dividends on your account balance, which is a nice added bonus.
To become a member at LCFCU, you must work for a company in their selected employer groups. There are dozens of companies that they extend membership to, so there’s a good chance you may be able to join if you work in DC. Visit their website or contact their DC branch on Independence Avenue to see if you’re eligible!
It’s important to note that direct deposit is required with this account. There are no minimum balance requirements, no monthly service fees, and a free Visa check card that is included. We like this account because it allows you to upgrade to a traditional checking account after only six months of good standing! With Fresh Start Checking, you can improve your financial standing quicker than other second chance accounts out there.
All District of Columbia residents are eligible to become a member at Market USA FCU. Once you’re approved, all that is required is a $5 deposit into a savings account to establish membership. They focus primarily on remote banking, but if you want to visit them in person their nearest branches are in Maryland in Hyattsville and Laurel.
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
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
The Fresh Start account comes with access to online banking and Bill Pay, a complimentary Visa debit card and ATM access for over 30,000 ATMs with no surcharge, and eStatements.
For more information about the requirements for opening a Fresh Start account, or if you’re interested in beginning the process, contact Transit Employees Federal Credit Union by phone or visit their Dakota Crossing branch!
Free Checking has no hidden fees, no minimum balance requirements, and no monthly service charge. It’s truly a free checking account! All that you’ll need to get it started is a $50 opening deposit. You’ll also gain access to their mobile smartphone app where you can deposit checks and monitor your account.
United Bank has six locations in Washington DC. You’ll find them on 18th & K Street, U Street, G Street, Georgetown, Glover Park, and Clarendon. They also have branches in several neighboring states if you travel locally or live outside of the 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 Washington DC? 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.