Did you know you could be denied the ability to open a checking account? This happens to people who fail to maintain a good record with previous checking accounts. Just like your credit score is monitored by credit bureaus, your checking account history is monitored by ChexSystems — which keeps track of various accounts a person has open. Most banks refer to this monitoring system in order to gauge a person’s credibility.


Flickr source

Burning a bridge with banks in the past may hurt your ability to open a standard account, but there is hope. If you are having a hard time opening a bank account, learn more about second chance accounts.

What is a second chance checking account?

A second chance checking account is a type of bank account used to help reestablish your credibility with banks and ChexSystems. These types of accounts usually only offer very basic checking account services.

You may not want to settle for a standard account, but you need to prove that you’ve turned over a new leaf and that you’re ready to be trusted. Good news for you, most second chance checking accounts are eligible for an upgrade to a standard account within at least a few months of opening the account and maintaining a positive balance. That means the sooner you open a second chance checking account and maintain a positive reputation, the sooner you’re eligible to receive perks from standard and superior checking accounts.

Start saving money in under a minute.

See how much you can save in just a few steps.

Get Started

Second chance checking account options

The following second chance checking account options are available to you at some of the most popular banks in the United States.

Bank of America offers a second chance checking account called the Safe Balance Account. The account has a low maintenance fee of $4.95, but you won’t be able to write paper checks. Instead, your payment options include debit, mobile or online transfers or online bill pay. The account also helps protect you from overdrawing your balance. For people who want a low-cost basic checking account this can be a good choice, especially if you are guilty of constantly overdrawing your balance.

BB&T has The Easy Checking Account, which features unlimited check writing, complimentary online and mobile banking with bill pay, money management tools, and online statements. You can apply online or over the phone to open this account. This account offers most of the features a standard account would provide, even the ability to write a check, and is a good choice if you still need to pay for expenses by using a check.

Chase’s Access Checking Account is an option for people who bank with Chase. Customers are required to deposit at least $25 into an account to open one. While most second chance checking accounts have a small monthly fee, Chase’s fee is higher, at $17, and it is unavoidable. If you already have a bad reputation with managing your money and a checking account, you should probably stay away from an account with a fee this high. It could leave you vulnerable to overdraft, which could further hurt your reputation with ChexSystems.

The only benefit of opening an Access Checking Account with Chase is the fact that it can eventually be upgraded to a normal account. An account upgrade depends on your personal history with Chase and Chexsystems.

Citibank: There is no official second chance account from Citibank, but you can open one even if you are blacklisted on Chexsystems, according to a representative from Citibank via chat. You can visit a branch in person to have someone review your personal history to determine your eligibility. The representative also added that maintaining a credit card in good standing may help establish credibility with Citibank. If you’re finding it difficult to open a standard account elsewhere, you may want to try Citibank.

SunTrust does not offer a traditional second chance checking account, but you may still be able to open one. According to an online representative, “It still may be possible. SunTrust requires two security checks prior to opening an account. We will compare your application to Equifax and Decision Power, which are credit bureau-based systems used to qualify new account applications. The Equifax inquiry posts to your credit report as a non-disclosed inquiry and will not affect your credit score nor appear on any credit watch services. If we are unable to verify you through Equifax or Decision Power, Telecheck may also be contacted.”

PNC offers a second chance checking account called Foundation Checking. This checking account requires a minimum of $25 to open and offers free service for an online account, or $2 a month if you would like to receive paper statements. You do get the option of unlimited check writing, so anyone who needs this option will find this account convenient.

The downside to this account is that there is a daily ATM withdrawal limit of $100, which can make it difficult to pull out large amounts of cash. After six months of maintaining a Foundation Checking Account in good standing, you are eligible to open normal checking account with PNC, so it may be worth opening for that reason alone.

U.S. Bank representative said there is no official account, but that applicants can have their information reviewed on a case-by-case basis. So even if you are denied an account online, you may be able to go into a branch and have an account opened, depending on your situation. U.S. Bank is worth a try if your situation is not as dire and you think you may be able to sway the bank to allow you to open a standard account.

Wells Fargo’s Opportunity Checking Account is available to anyone with a bad Checksystems record, as long as a $50 deposit is provided to open the account. A monthly service fee of $12 is applied to paper statement accounts, while a $10 service fee is applied to accounts with paperless statements. A member may have this fee waived if he or she has three or more accounts with the bank. These include debit cards, online banking, and a savings account. You must also have a minimum daily balance of $2,000, 10 debit card purchases and/or payments a month, or a total of $750 or more in direct deposits. This account is a good option if you would like to upgrade to a normal account in the future, and if you’d like to utilize savings, mortgages or any other services provided by Wells Fargo.

Strive to reestablish your credibility with not only ChexSystems, but with banks in general.

  • Tori Merrill

    b/n BOA n Chase, which is more beneficial? BOA has a low fee but chase’s access checking can eventually b upgraded to a normal account? is it worth the $17 fee?

    • http://MyBankTracker.com Gerald Morales

      Bank of America’s second chance checking account can also get you an upgrade to a normal account. I would go with Bank of America to avoid paying a higher fee every month. But if you really want to bank with Chase in the future, then consider their access checking account.

  • Melly

    Wells Fargo opened me a “second chance” account. I deposited money, changed all of my direct deposit information so that my paychecks were deposited, then I went to use my “temporary debit card” and could not. I thought it was just the card. Went in to the branch, and was told that since I was in Early Warning Systems, I could not have an open account. They closed the account and I had to wait over a week to get my money out, and my paycheck was delayed because the deposit was rejected and I had to get a paper check sent out. AFTER all of this, I was sent notification by mail that my account was being closed due to being in EWS. I got my report from EWS, and it’s clean. Can’t figure this one out, but whatever. I’m using a prepaid card now, which sucks because it cost me almost $200 to cash my tax refund check at a check cashing place.

  • April

    I am looking for a new banking account after finding out that once I paid off my $497 debit with Chase that I could not open another account. Which I never knew that being that when I was with Regions I was able to open another one the only reason why I changed account because where I was moving to did not have a Regions bank close to me. I use to be with Bank of America but they closed my account after a buyer from craiglist wrote me a bad check and it came back as fraudulent. Would I be able to check to see if they are still able to do a second chance account?

    • http://www.mybanktracker.com Simon Zhen

      It is okay to have negative marks on your ChexSystems report, but you must make sure that you resolve the issue with the banks that left those negative records. Essentially, you should review your report and pay off all the negative balances/fees/penalties that still exist.

      I’ve found that most of the banks that offer second-chance checking accounts will gladly offer one to you as long as all negative balances are paid off.

      I actually found a bunch of banks that offer second chance checking accounts, see this post:


  • Post Homeless

    I just left Citi Bank at Oakbrook Center in Illinois. They did not acknowledge that these kind of accounts even exist with them and denied me for any account including savings. Do not go to Citibank if you are trying to start over. They are only interested in you if you have “Arrived”.

    • Post Homeless

      one more point should be noted just for general discussion and awareness in my opinion. There had been account at US bank some years ago that was overdrawn but I had lost my job. through a series of circumstances it is now known that checking accounts were manipulated in order to incre overdraft fees to the profit of the bank and dismay of the customer. in a class action lawsuit the federal government ordered US bank to pay back percentages to all those customers who had been affected buy these fraudulent practices. as it turns out we receive the check several months ago for a sizable amount to reflect and hopefully repay some of the damages and losses that we incurred because of these practices by US bank. I would like to see of movement within the banking system that removes any questionable banking data that comes from those banks who are known to have had questionable business practices and especially those who have been ordered by the federal government to pay back portions of the money they stole from their customers. if these kinds of basic practices were in place the system would be more honest and there would be more banks that stand for what’s right then there are who only have a goal of protecting a system. it is soon forgotten that’s the tax dollars of we the people are responsible in large part for the existence and stability of many banks today. I wish there was a system whereby the American public could grade the individual banks and systems before government funds are determined for bailing them out again. such a benchmark is long overdue and particularly warranted when it comes to using taxpayer dollars to bail out banks and systems only to in turn see those banks and systems did not have services to the very ones who have brought about their very existence in a bipartisan act.

      please disregard any grammatical errors as this is brought to you by Google Voice typing. I think you get the gist

      • http://www.mybanktracker.com/ ClaireMBT

        Post Homeless, thank you for sharing your thoughts with MyBankTracker. I too agree with your sentiments about a general improvement that needs to be made with the banking system in the U.S., especially when it comes to transparency.

  • Sad

    I just left wellfargo. They did not let me open with one negative from B of A in 2009. Even i am having a mortgage account current and never paid late. So stay away from wellfargo to save your time.

    • http://www.mybanktracker.com Simon Zhen

      Well Fargo pointed out to you that a negative record on ChexSystems from Bank of America was the reason that you couldn’t open a checking account?

      Did you ever fix that violation with Bank of America?