If you previously opened one or more checking accounts and things didn’t go that well, chances are you’ll have a hard time opening another one with a different bank. That’s because many banks use ChexSystems to get an idea about your previous banking history.
However, this doesn’t mean that your past mistakes have to be an obstacle in your way of opening a new checking account. Financial mistakes are more common than you think, especially if you don’t have much experience with how banking systems work.
And just because you didn’t have much luck with your previous accounts doesn’t mean you can’t give it another shot.
In this guide, we’ll shed light on what ChexSystems is, as well as explore some of the best banks that don’t use ChexSystems.
16 Best Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems in 2021
Chime is an online bank that doesn’t use ChexSystems. It also doesn’t make credit checks for account applications.
One of the best perks of opening a checking account with Chime is that there’s no minimum deposit. Not to mention, it doesn’t charge you any additional ATM, maintenance, or overdraft fees.
Chime’s ATMs are spread over a whopping 38,000 locations, meaning that your chances of finding a nearby Chime ATM are pretty high, no matter where you are. However, depositing money into your account can be a bit tricky since you’re required to visit a Green Dot location to make the transaction.
2. Navy Federal Credit Union
Are you a military veteran? Then the Navy Federal Credit Union might be the right choice for your next checking account.
The bank has served over 8 million customers throughout its existence, and all of them are active-duty personnel, reserve military, military veterans, Department of Defence employees, or family members of individuals that meet any of the previous criteria.
Opening a checking account is free, and there aren’t any monthly fees to cover. However, there’s a $29 overdraft fee, but if you already have a Navy Federal savings account, you can link it to your checking account and avoid paying overdraft fees.
As for ATM and branch availability, the Navy Federal Credit Union has over 30,000 ATMs across the states, in addition to 350 physical locations. It’s also worth noting that withdrawing money from ATMs is entirely free.
If your banking history is nothing to brag about, Renasant Bank might be the perfect choice for you. It doesn’t use Telecheck, ChexSystems, or EWS.
There’s a minimum deposit of $50 required to open a checking account, and once your account is opened, you’ll get a Mastercard debit card that you can use to withdraw money from the available ATMs.
Also, if your balance over the course of the month goes below $500, you’ll be charged an $8/month maintenance fee. You can work around that by maintaining a minimum balance of $500 or signing up for eStatements.
The bank lets you monitor your account online and even make transactions through its online banking service. You can also pay your bills conveniently without having to visit a physical location.
When you open a checking account at Peoples Cash Solutions, you receive a Mastercard debit card, in addition to free monthly statements. Oh, and if you opt for a Second Chance Checking Account, you’ll also receive free paper checks.
What’s more, the bank lets you access your account through its online banking service and pay your bills at no extra cost. There’s no mobile app, though, meaning that you’re limited to your PC when you need to access the bank’s online service.
So, what’s the catch? Well, Peoples Cash Solutions requires a minimum deposit of $30 to open a new account. Also, there’s a $5 monthly maintenance fee.
First Convenience Bank is a subsidiary of First National Bank of Texas. Currently, the bank offers 5 checking account options, which are:
- Power Stash
- Checking with Interest
- Power Checking
- President Select High Yield Checking
Whichever account you opt for, the bank won’t use ChexSystems to check your banking history. The Power Checking account is the most popular one. To open a Power Checking account, you need to deposit a minimum amount of $20 if you’ll do it online. Alternatively, you can do it in person. In that case, a minimum deposit won’t be required.
Also, there’s a $12 monthly fee; however, people who are 55 years old or older are exempted from paying this fee. There are also other exceptions where you won’t be required to pay the monthly fee, including:
- Keeping a $100 daily balance at least
- Using your debit card 8+ times per month
- Making minimum monthly direct deposits of $100
Historically, the Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union was founded for the employees of Kroger grocery stores. Over the years, the credit union expanded its operations by including other employee groups. If you’re not sure whether you qualify for a membership, you can ask your employer.
The Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union’s “checkless” checking account is an attractive option for individuals who can’t open a regular checking account.
The credit union lets you do your banking conveniently through its online banking service. You don’t even have to turn on your PC to view your account or make transactions because there’s a mobile app. What’s more, you can deposit checks with your phone, thanks to the MoBi Anytime Deposit feature.
One of the best things about the BBVA Online Checking account is that it almost charges you nothing once you open the account.
Other than the $25 minimum deposit, there are no associated monthly fees with the account. Also, you don’t need to maintain a minimum monthly balance to enjoy any of the services offered.
On top of that, BBVA offers a free online banking service and a mobile banking app, in addition to a free VISA debit card. It’s also worth noting that you can make money transfers via phone and email using services like Venmo and Popmoney.
Another perk of getting a BBVA checking account is its loyalty program. Every debit card purchase you make will increase your cashback rewards.
8. SoFi Money
Opening an account with SoFi Money is an excellent option for those who don’t want to be overburdened with fees that come out of nowhere.
Applying for the account takes a few minutes, and once you’ve completed the sign-up process, you’ll receive a Mastercard debit card that you can use in any Mastercard-supported ATM.
There’s no minimum deposit needed to open the account, and as we mentioned, you won’t have to deal with ATM, transfer, or maintenance fees. You can even get a $50 bonus after signing up and depositing a minimum of $500.
SoFi Money serves customers from all over the country. And guess what? You don’t even have to visit a physical location to do your banking tasks because SoFi Money has a free online banking mobile app.
Wells Fargo Bank originally offered an opportunity checking account, but later on, the bank revamped it to clear access banking. We actually like the new offering because it spares you the need to pay for overdraft and insufficient funds fees. However, there’s a $5 monthly fee, but you won’t have to pay it if you’re 24 years old or younger.
Once you make a minimum deposit of $250 and your application is accepted, you’ll receive a free VISA debit card that you can use to withdraw cash from any supported ATM across the states. You can also use Zelle to make money transfers.
The bank also offers extra features that include mobile banking, account alerts, zero liability protection, and round-the-clock fraud monitoring.
On a side note, keep in mind that this is a debit account. In other words, you can’t write paper checks with it.
GO2bank is yet another bank that doesn’t check your banking history with ChexSystems. It’s one of the banks that deposits your check two days early, a feature that’s common among many other challenger banks.
One of the features that make GO2bank’s an attractive choice is its budgeting services. It allows you to budget your money using several budgeting tools, coupled with the mobile app and the saving vault. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll be charged a 1% fee for the money that you keep in the saving vault.
There’s also a $5 monthly fee, but you won’t have to pay it if you deposit $500 as a bare minimum.
As for overdraft fees, there’s an overdraft protection program that gives you a grace period of 24 hours to deposit the money back. We also like the fact that the bank offers cash-back rewards on many types of purchases.
Oh, and once you open a checking account with GO2bank, you’ll become eligible to get a credit card with zero annual fees.
The Acorns Spend Checking Account is a flexible checking account that lets you enjoy the Acorns’ investing perks.
Once your application is accepted, you’ll receive a free VISA debit card. Other perks of this account include zero overdraft fees, unlimited ATM reimbursement, direct deposit, mobile check deposit, and automatic bill payment.
You can even make mobile payments conveniently with the app. It’s also worth noting that Acorns provide FDIC insurance for up to $250,000.
The downside is that there’s a $3 monthly maintenance fee.
12. United Bank
United Bank offers customers with a negative banking history the chance to get a free checking account that doesn’t charge any monthly fees. Additionally, you don’t need a minimum balance to open this account.
You can do all of your banking tasks through the bank’s online banking service. You can even make mobile check deposits with the app.
Our only problem with this bank is that it serves a limited number of states, but it’s going to expand to more locations pretty soon, so keep an eye on it every once in a while.
13. Varo Bank
With Varo Bank, you can either open a checking or savings account without having to make a minimum deposit. All of Varo Bank’s accounts charge no monthly, overdraft, or foreign transaction fees. What’s more, the bank’s accounts are FDIC-insured.
The downside is that you have to pay a fee of $2.5 for out-of-network transactions. Nevertheless, you can avoid that by sticking to Varo’s ATMs.
You can also use Green Dot Reloads to make direct or mobile deposits without having to pay any deposit fees, but you might be charged merchant fees when applicable.
The bank offers a 2.8% APY on its savings account, but, unfortunately, regular accounts don’t have that feature.
First American Bank offers a Fresh Start Checking Account that doesn’t require a ChexSystems check. To open the account, you must deposit a minimum of $50. There’s also a $9.95 fee, which is quite high compared to other banks.
On the flip side, you get unlimited check writing and free e-statements. It’s also worth mentioning that there’s no minimum balance that you need to maintain to enjoy the bank’s services.
First American Bank has some physical branches in a handful of states, specifically in Illinois, Florida, and Wisconsin. Nevertheless, it serves the whole country through its online portal.
Axos is an online bank that charges little to no fees on most banking activities. The bank doesn’t use ChexSystems while also offering a full-fledged service for its customers.
One of the best things about opening an account with Axos is that you won’t have to deal with any monthly, overdraft, or insufficient fund fees, making it an attractive option for those who want a low-cost banking service. Additionally, you get unlimited ATM reimbursements.
On top of that, the bank offers a reward system that qualifies you to get up to 1.25% APY (Annual Percentage Yield) on many types of purchases. You can maximize your APY by making monthly direct deposits of at least $1000 and using your card to make 10 transactions per month.
It’s also worth noting that the bank lets you apply for certificates of deposit and loans, even if you have bad credit.
If you’re into app-based banking, the N26 mobile-only bank might be a good choice for you. It’s also an excellent option for those who have a negative banking history but still need to travel a lot and make transactions overseas.
The app doesn’t charge you any foreign transaction fees, which is why it’s an attractive option for regular travelers.
On top of that, the app offers zero monthly maintenance fees. Not to mention, you don’t have to maintain a minimum daily or monthly balance.
The bank’s main headquarters is in Europe, but it serves American clients and other clients from various nationalities.
The app itself is pretty robust when it comes to security and ease of use. It allows you to reset your PIN, turn foreign transactions on or off, and lock/unlock your Mastercard card, which you get for free once you sign up.
What Is ChexSystems?
ChexSystems is a banking reporting agency that keeps track of your past banking activities and any previous problems you had with your savings or checking accounts. It also reports the problems that led to the closure of your account.
Many banks and credit unions opt for the services of ChexSystems to screen the applications of potential customers that want to open a new account.
How Does ChexSystems Work?
ChexSystems collects information about your past banking activity when it comes to your banking records. It’s similar to how credit bureaus keep track of your debt and payments to determine your credit score.
However, in the case of ChexSystems, a “risk score” is calculated based on your positive and negative financial activities that are related to your current or previous bank accounts.
When you send an application to a bank that uses ChexSystems, the bank officials will review your report and check your risk score to decide whether you’re eligible for a checking or savings account or not.
Advantages of Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems
Opting for a bank that doesn’t use ChexSystems can have a plethora of benefits over a conventional prepaid debit card, which include:
Many prepaid debit cards don’t offer fraud protection, but that’s not the case with non-ChexSystems bank accounts. If your bank card gets lost or stolen, rest assured that you’re protected.
Many banks are FDIC-insured, meaning that you can get up to $250,000 in compensation when needed. Just make sure that you check whether the bank has FDIC insurance or not before applying.
There’s no better way to keep your money safe than to deposit it in a bank account. Keeping large amounts of cash at home is generally not preferred, as theft hits when you least expect it. Not to mention, you can easily review your balance using online banking services, which many banks offer at no extra cost.
Check cashing services are fine, but only if you’re willing to live with their costly fees. Usually, the fees aren’t that significant, hovering around 4% for most services, but they’ll definitely add up over time.
Even if you go for a prepaid debit card, you’ll likely have to pay transaction and activation fees. Many prepaid cards charge a monthly fee, too, and while some banks charge a similar fee, it’s usually lower than that of prepaid cards.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Second Chance Banks and Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems Differ?
The primary difference between second-chance and non-ChexSystems banks is that second-chance banks may use ChexSystems just to get an idea about your past banking activity.
However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your application will be rejected if you have a history of banking problems. These banks offer what they call “second-chance bank accounts,” allowing customers to make a fresh start regardless of their past banking mistakes.
Since these banks are fully aware of your previous banking troubles, they will charge you extra fees when you open a bank account with them. Nevertheless, many second chance banks will convert your “downgraded” account into a regular one following a period of disciplined banking from your side. The exact timespan varies from one bank to another, though.
On the other hand, non-ChexSystems banks don’t care about your past banking problems at all. They don’t even work with ChexSystems, and your application will most likely be accepted regardless of your risk score.
Can I Apply for a Non-ChexSystems If I Live Anywhere in the United States?
Yes, you can easily apply for any non-ChexSystems account regardless of the state you live in. Just make sure that the bank you want to work with serves your state.
What Are the Chances That My Application Will Be Rejected?
In some rare instances, your non-ChexSystems account application might be rejected. However, it won’t likely have anything to do with your previous banking history. In normal circumstances, your application should be accepted.
What Card Will I Receive After My Application Is Accepted in a Non-ChexSystems Bank?
Once your application is accepted at a non-ChexSystems bank, and an account is opened, you’ll receive a debit card. Some banks issue Mastercard cards, while others offer VISA cards.
To recap, banks that don’t use ChexSystems are your best bet if you have a history of irresponsible banking behavior.
Just make sure that you get things right this time and do your best when it comes to sticking to the bank’s policies and rules. Later on, you can apply for regular bank accounts at any bank you want.