Second-Chance Checking Accounts | Where to Go After Rejection

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By Robert Farrington | America's Millennial Money Expert. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
checking accounts

If you’ve struggled with bounced checks, regular overdrafts, or closing an account with a negative account balance, you may have run into issues opening a new account.

The issue of being unbanked or underbanked can lead to many issues for people who have struggled with poverty, economic instability, or those who tend to use cash to the exclusion of bank accounts.

In certain circumstances, some banks won’t allow you to open an account due to a checkered banking history. But if you’re trying to make headway towards economic stability, getting a checking account in place can go a long way towards reducing check-cashing and other nonsense banking fees.

In these circumstances, a second-chance checking account may be your best option. Here’s what you need to know about them.

Why Was I Turned Down for a New Checking Account?

In general, when you get turned down for a new checking account, it is for one of two reasons. The first reason is that you don’t meet basic account requirements. For example, some banks require customers to be 18 (or 19) years old, be a permanent resident or citizen of the United States, and possibly meet some other requirements.

Another reason banks may turn you down is based off of your banking history. Banks share derogatory banking history using a system called ChexSystems. If you’ve struggled with banking in the past, you may not look like a good candidate for a new checking account.

You can look at your checking history report for free through ChexSystems. This is worthwhile if you’ve been turned down for an account. That way, you can know what banks see when they consider you as a customer.

What Are Second-Chance Checking Accounts?

If you’ve been turned down for a checking account, you may still qualify for certain checking accounts called second-chance accounts.

In general, you have to pay a monthly fee to maintain one of these accounts, but you may be able to waive the fee by meeting certain criteria. Over time, you may be able to graduate to a fee-free checking account at the same banking institution (or another one).

The Best Second-Chance Checking Accounts

Looking for a second-chance checking account? Here are some of the best:

BBVA Free Checking

The BBVA Free Checking account is available in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas.

  • Best features: Free check-writing, free debit cards, no monthly fees, can opt out of overdraft protection (you’ll want to do this to avoid fees), 16,000 free ATMs, paper or digital statements
  • Minimum amount to open: $25
  • Number of free ATMs: 16,000 (you will not have access to Allpoint ATMs like other BBVA banking customers)
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $0
  • Other account requirements: None
  • Fees to know about:
    • $3 fee for out-of-network ATMs
    • $38 not-sufficient-funds fee ($32 in California) for every item that overdrafts
    • $15 deposit-item-returned fee
    • $23 extended overdraft fee (if your account is overdrawn for seven or more days)
    • $5 per month for dormant accounts
BBVA New Logo

BBVA Online Checking

The BBVA Online Checking account is available in all states except Alaska and Hawaii.

  • Minimum amount to open: $25
  • Number of free ATMs: 55,000+ (all BBVA and Allpoint ATMs plus some 7-Eleven store ATMs)
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $0
  • Other account requirements: None
  • Fees to know about:
    • $3 fee for out-of-network ATMs
    • $3 per month for paper statements
    • $38 not-sufficient-funds fee ($32 in California) for every item that overdrafts
    • $15 deposit-item-returned fee
    • $23 extended overdraft fee (if your account is overdrawn for seven or more days)
    • $5 per month for dormant accounts
    • $25 fee if you close the account in 180 days or less
BBVA New Logo

Radius Essential Checking

The Radius Essential Checking account is available in all 50 states.

  • Best features: Free ATMs, ability to upgrade to the Radius Rewards Checking account after 12 months of excellent banking
  • Minimum amount to open: $10
  • Number of free ATMs: 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs plus SUM ATMs
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $9
  • Other account requirements: Debit card limit of $500 per day, and $1,000 per day in mobile check deposit limits.
  • Fees to know about:
    • $25-per-item non-sufficient-funds fee (waived on all overdraft items $5 or less)
    • $5 daily overdraft fee
Radius Bank Logo

Peoples Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking

The Peoples Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking account is available in all 50 states.

  • Best features: Free ATMs, ability to upgrade to the Radius Rewards Checking account after 12 months of excellent banking.
  • Minimum amount to open: $30.
  • Number of free ATMs: Only those owned by Peoples Cash Solutions (based in Texas).
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $4.95.
  • Other account requirements: You have to sign up for Mastercard ATM access, and you will be charged $2 per ATM transaction when you use an ATM not owned by Peoples Bank.
  • Fees to know about:
    • $27.50 overdraft fee.
    • $27.50 non-sufficient-funds fee per item (not per day).
    • $3.95 printed statement fee (avoid this by going digital).
    • $2.00 ATM withdrawal fee at machines not owned by Peoples Bank (this will apply even at Mastercard ATMs).
    • $20 account closure fee (if you close in 90 days of opening account).
Peoples Cash Solutions Logo

Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking

The Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking account is available in all 50 states.

  • Best features: Free ATMs, opportunity to waive fee, overdraft rewind fee (if you overdraft and make a deposit on the same day, the overdraft fee will be avoided).
  • Minimum amount to open: $25
  • Number of free ATMs: 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $10 (but you can avoid this through one of the following: make 10 debit card purchases per month, maintain a balance of at least $1,500, or get direct deposits of $500 or more per month)
  • Other account requirements: Avoid the monthly fee by doing any one of the following:
    • Make 10 debit card purchases per month
    • Maintain a balance of at least $1,500
    • Receive direct deposits of $500 or more per month
  • Fees to know about:
    • $35 overdraft and returned item fee
    • $12.50 overdraft transfer fee (when you transfer from a savings account)
    • Returned item fee: $12
Wells Fargo Review

Bottom Line

Second-chance bank accounts aren’t always a great option, but they are typically better than going without an account. Getting one of these second-chance accounts can help you re-establish yourself financially and build your financial life.

The post Second-Chance Checking Accounts | Where to Go After Rejection appeared first on The College Investor.

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