Financial Advice

10 Best Second-Chance Checking Accounts

second-chance checking accounts

While one in five checking account holders occasionally overdraft or bounce a check, some consumers have a rockier past of bank account mismanagement. Whether it’s due to a time of financial hardship, an unexpected crisis that drained your account or a rocky credit history, if you have bad marks on your banking history, you might have been denied a checking account.

You’re not alone: 16.7 million American adults are unbanked, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which means they don’t have a bank account, and nearly one in five cited a poor credit or bank history as a reason. The unbanked often have to resort to expensive financial services like money orders and check cashing services to perform monetary tasks that are simple and free when you have a checking account.

You have another option, however: a second-chance checking account. For those with bad credit or a poor history of account management, second-chance banking from banks and credit unions can be a lifeline to make money management affordable and work toward building a strong financial foundation.

Banks That Offer Second-Chance Checking Accounts

While they can be few and far between, some banks, including major national brands, offer checking accounts for people with bad credit or poor banking history. These second-chance bank accounts can provide you with basic services at lower costs while providing a secure account that’s backed by the FDIC.

To help those struggling with past banking history troubles, GOBankingRates rounded up a list of 10 banks that offer second-chance checking accounts. Among the banks with second-chance checking products, there are options that can help you get your money on track.

Don’t expect a second-chance checking account to be free, however. While GOBankingRates found a couple of free second-chance checking accounts, the majority charge a monthly fee with amounts ranging up to $13.95. Even with these fees, however, a second-chance checking account can still be more affordable than alternatives like prepaid debit cards. Read on for the 10 best banks with second-chance checking.

Read: 10 Best Online Banks of 2015

BBVA Compass second chance checking online

1. BBVA Compass: Easy Checking

  • $25 minimum opening deposit.
  • $13.95 monthly fee.

BBVA Compass offers Easy Checking to applicants who don’t qualify for its other checking products, and it is meant to “help you get back on track with your finances,” according to the BBVA site. Even those with poor credit can access important financial tools like ATMs, mobile banking, online bill pay and a debit card through the Easy Checking account. You can also upgrade to a different checking product later — customers who have Easy Checking can request that the account be rolled over into the bank’s other checking products, which include a free checking option.

A downside is the $13.95 monthly fee, which can’t be waived. Account holders should enroll in e-statements to avoid the $3-a-month paper statement fee and watch out for the $32 overdraft charge. BBVA Compass has branches in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas, but residents from any state can apply for and manage a second-chance checking account online.

FNBT second chance bank accounts

2. First National Bank and Trust: Renew Checking

  • $25 minimum opening deposit.
  • $9.95 monthly fee, reduced to $7.95 with direct deposit.

Renew Checking is a second-chance checking account offered by First National Bank and Trust for consumers who’ve “had troubles opening or managing a checking account, or have found that other institutions are not quite as forgiving,” according to the bank’s site. The account provides online account management and a free debit card, eliminating the need to pay for money orders to cover bills. Account holders can upgrade to Everyday Checking after keeping their account in good standing for 12 months.

To open the bank account, customers will need to pay a one-time $15 setup fee as well as deposit a minimum of $25; applications can be completed online as well as at a FNBT branch. The Renew Checking account charges a $9.95 monthly fee, which is reduced to $7.95 when direct deposit is set up; Overdraft fees are $31 per item. FNBT’s service area covers communities in Wisconsin and Illinois near its main office in Deloit, Wis.

Related: Study: Best Checking Account Rates Today

Foothill CU second chance checking account

3. Foothill Credit Union: Rebound Checking

  • $50 minimum opening deposit.
  • $6 monthly fee.

Rebound Checking, a low-cost second-chance checking option from Foothill Credit Union, charges $6 a month for essential features like a debit card, online bill pay and e-statements (checks are additional). Rebound Checking accounts kept in good standing for one year will be eligible for an upgrade to MyChoice Checking, which carries no monthly fee and bears interest.

It takes $50 to open a Rebound Checking account, and a minimum $50 balance will need to be maintained to avoid a $10 fee a month. To open a Rebound Checking account, membership is required with the credit union, which focuses on the San Gabriel Valley area of California.

Fort Worth City CU 2nd chance checking

4. Fort Worth City Credit Union: Independence Checking

  • $25 minimum opening deposit.
  • $7 monthly fee, waived with monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more.

Fort Worth City Credit Union in Texas offers its second-chance checking account, Independence Checking, to those in its pool of eligible members, which includes employees of many local companies, including the city and MedStar. With membership established, it takes a $25 deposit to open an Independence Checking account.

The features offered by the Independence Checking account include a free debit card, online banking and bill pay, mobile bank, remote deposit and person-to-person transfers. The $7 monthly fee can be waived when $1,000 or more of combined direct deposits are made to the account each month. Its overdraft fees are also low — account holders are charged just $1 for each day the account balance is below $0.

Read: 10 Best Checking Accounts of 2015

Montgomery Bank second chance banking

5. Montgomery Bank: New Start Checking

  • $20 minimum opening deposit.
  • No monthly fee.

For consumers who have a rocky financial history or some bad credit in their past, Montgomery Bank offers a free second-chance checking alternative. Montgomery Bank is based in the St. Louis area, but residents throughout the U.S. and its territories can apply for its New Start Checking account.

Montgomery Bank’s second-chance checking option offers the basic features of a typical checking account — check writing, debit card, online banking and bill pay, direct deposit and money management through ATMs and branch locations — all without a monthly fee. Applications for the New Start Checking account can be completed online, and the account can be opened with a deposit as small as $20.

PNC foundation checking

6. PNC Bank: Foundation Checking

  • $25 minimum opening deposit.
  • $7 monthly fee.

PNC Bank offers a second-chance checking option called Foundation Checking to potential customers who don’t qualify for its other checking products. Before becoming an account holder, however, you’re required to take a 90-minute course in money management at a PNC branch or one of its nonprofit partners, reports CNN Money. That might seem like a hassle, but it could be a helpful review of the basics if you need a second-chance checking account.

The Foundation Checking account offers basic checking, including the use of a debit card, for $7 a month. Not only does this checking charge a lower fee, it also provides you with other options sooner: Foundation Checking account holders can be eligible to upgrade their account after just six months.

Tarrant Countys CU second chance checking account

7. Tarrant County’s Credit Union: Fresh Start Checking

  • $0 minimum opening deposit.
  • No monthly fee.

If you can qualify for Tarrant County’s Credit Union’s Fresh Start Checking, you’ll benefit from this free second-chance checking. With no minimum opening deposit and no monthly fees, you’ll get a basic checking account with a debit card, mobile and online banking and unlimited check writing. You must be a member of Tarrant County’s Credit Union, which serves Tarrant County in Texas.

Vantage CU second chance checking accounts

8. Vantage Credit Union: Fresh Start Checking

  • $0 minimum opening deposit.
  • $12 monthly fee, reduced to $10 if certain conditions are met.

Vantage Credit Union offers its Fresh Start Checking option to its members who can’t qualify for its other checking accounts due to poor credit or banking histories and who are at least 25 years old. This second-chance checking account provides online and mobile banking, free debit card use, online bill pay and overdraft protection (if qualified).

The Fresh Start Checking does carry some restrictions, including stricter rules on check deposits. It also charges a $12 monthly fee, which can be reduced to $11 with a direct deposit, automated clearing house debit or monthly automatic transfer of at least $25 — or to $10 if the account holder meets all three of those conditions. Vantage Credit Union is based in Bridgeton, Mo., and primarily serves the St. Louis area.

Wells Fargo opportunity checking

9. Wells Fargo: Opportunity Checking

  • $50 minimum opening deposit.
  • $10 monthly fee, waived if one of three conditions is met.

With its national service area, Wells Fargo has a second-chance checking account that’s an option for many unbanked Americans. The Opportunity Checking account takes $50 to open and carries a $10 monthly fee. The maintenance fee is waived, however, if the account holder meets just one of these three conditions:

  • Makes 10 or more debit card purchases in a month.
  • Maintains a minimum daily checking balance of $1,500.
  • Totals $500 or more in direct deposits to the account in a month.

woodforest second chance checking

10. Woodforest National Bank: Second Chance Checking

  • $25 minimum opening deposit.
  • $9.95 monthly fee, reduced to $7.95 with a monthly direct deposit.

Woodforest Bank’s Second Chance Checking can help if you are having trouble qualifying for a checking account. It takes a $25 opening deposit to establish this account, as well as a one-time $9 setup fee. The monthly fee is $9.95, which can be reduced to $7.95 by setting up direct deposits to the checking account. Woodforest National Bank serves 17 states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Caroline, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia — so chances are pretty good that you can access its Second Chance Checking account.

Some of the financial institutions mentioned above might be clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., parent company of

This article originally appeared on 10 Best Second-Chance Checking Accounts

This article by Elyssa Kirkham first appeared on and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.