If you’ve had trouble with a bank in the past, you need to know more about ChexSystems. The knowledge could save you.
Let us be your guide through second chance banking. We’ve done our research on the best non ChexSystems banks and credit unions around, as well as the best second chance checking accounts at major banks.
We’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of funding and setting up your new account. To finish it off, we’ll give you some tips and tricks on managing your new checking account.
Before we delve into that, though, let’s dig into the benefits of a non ChexSystems account.
Benefits of banks that don’t use ChexSystems
ChexSystems reports last 5 years – even once minor troubles can come back to haunt you.
Since most American banks and credit unions use ChexSystems, finding one that doesn’t can be tough. However, when banking with a non ChexSystems bank, you can be assured that the bank won’t close or freeze your account because of a bad ChexSystems report.
Often these non ChexSystems banks offer many of the same benefits as an ordinary checking account, with some added restrictions.
Here are a few of the more common restrictions:
- Requiring eStatements
- No Overdraft Privileges
- Monthly Fees
- No access to personal checks
These restrictions aren’t universal, however. There are even a few non ChexSystems bank accounts with just as many benefits as your average account.
So, let’s jump into the meat of it.
7 Banks that don’t use ChexSystems
1. BBVA Online Checking – Top Pick
Our pick for top bank that doesn’t use ChexSystems. BBVA Online Checking uses Early Warning Services, so they don’t hold a bad ChexSystems report against you. This online checking account even earns cashback rewards, and is available in all states except Alaska and Hawaii.
With free checking, mobile deposits, and more, this account offers many of the benefits you enjoy your your average bank account. Not only that, they don’t require a monthly service charge for their Online Checking, and have a low minimum deposit of $25.
BBVA Online Checking Features:
- No ATM Fees nationwide at over 64,000 participating locations.
- Complimentary online banking
- Complimentary mobile banking
- BBVA Mobile Banking App
- Mobile deposit
- Online bill pay
- Free Visa debit card
- Cash Back for everyday debit card purchases
While BBVA Online Checking does have a $3 Paper Statement Fee, you can easily avoid this by opting into free eStatements.
2. Acorns Spend Account
The Acorns Spend Account is pretty unique among the banks lined up here. This checking account, along with its attached debit card, are designed to help you learn how to save. As you spend using your debit card, each transaction is rounded up to the nearest dollar and invested.
With free ATM access nation wide, Acorn customers can enjoy their benefits on the go.
Acorns Spend Account Features:
- Unlimited free or fee-reimbursed ATM withdrawals everywhere in the USA
- No minimum opening balance
- Digital direct deposit
- Free bank-to-bank transfers
- No overdraft fees
- No minimum balance fees
- Spend strategies & a knowledge database
The Acorns Spend Account does have a $3 monthly service fee, but with free ATM withdrawals and the automatic saving and investing, it is well worth it.
3. Chime Spending Account
With Chime, it’s not called a Checking Account – it’s a Spending Account.
This banking app functions similar to many traditional banks. It doesn’t use ChexSystems, offering a second chance to those who have been dinged by the system in the past.
Although Chime Spending Accounts don’t come with checks, Chime will mail a check on your behalf at no extra cost.
Chime Spending Account Features:
- No minimum balance requirements
- Visa debit card
- No monthly or overdraft Fees
- Automatic savings
- Daily Balance Updates
With no monthly fees and no minimum deposit required, this free account is perfect for those who want to move entirely digital.
4. Navy Federal Credit Union
Credit Unions aren’t banks – they are controlled by their members and operated on the principle of people helping people. However, most credit unions still use ChexSystems to verify members and monitor their account history.
The Navy Federal Credit Union does not.
They do have pretty strict membership requirements, though. To qualify, you must be an active-duty or retired member of the military.
- Marine Corps
- Air Force
- Coast Guard (regular Active Duty and reservists)
- Army and Air National Guard personnel
- The immediate family of those listed above
Active duty, Retired military, and Veterans are all welcome as well. DoD civilian employees and contractors may be eligible, but it is not guaranteed.
If you meet these requirements, this credit union is a great choice – at over 8 million members, they are the largest credit union in the world. They offer five different types of checking, including a free account called Free EveryDay Checking.
Free EveryDay Checking Account Features:
- Navy Federal debit card with Zero Liability protection
- No monthly service fee
- No minimum balance requirement
- Hassle-free, requirement-free, fee-free account
- Digital banking with mobile deposits and bill pay
- Free checks
The entry requirements may be strict, but this non ChexSystems bank is a perfect second chance banking solution if you meet them.
5. First American Bank
The Fresh Start Checking account offered by First American Bank offers a reasonable second chance bank account if you’ve had trouble with ChexSystems banks in the past. First American is a privately held full-service bank with $4.9 billion in assets and 53 locations across Illinois, Florida, and Wisconsin.
Fresh Start Checking Account Features:
- MasterCard debit card
- Free Mobile Banking
- Free Online Banking
This second chance bank account has a minimum $50 opening deposit and a $9.95 Monthly Fee.
If you’ve had a troublesome banking history, PeoplesCashSolutions may be for you. They don’t use ChexSystems for validating their customers, so you don’t have to worry about a bad report. They feature a personal checkbook, a free debit card, and online banking where you can monitor your accounts and pay online without fee.
Second Chance Checking Account Features:
- MasterCard debit card
- Personal checkbook
- Online bill pay
- Online banking
- Online money transfers
With a $30 minimum opening deposit and a $4.95 monthly fee, PeoplesCashSolutions can help you if you’ve got bad credit ChexSystems reports to your name.
7. Radius Bank
Radius Bank is an online banking and lending company. They do use ChexSystems for their regular account, but if you don’t qualify they have a second chance option.
Unlike most others, The Essential Checking Account offered by Radius gives you the option to upgrade to a Rewards Checking after a year of positive banking. This second chance checking account is available to those with ChexSystem records.
One downside is they place a limit on how much can be spent on your debit card per day. This starts out at $250 per day, but the limit goes up to $500 after a month.
Essential Checking Account Features:
- Built-in Budgeting Program
- Spending Analysis
- Option to upgrade to a cash back Rewards Checking account after one year if in good standing
- Online Money Transfers
- Online Bill Pay
The Essential Checking Account has a low opening deposit of $10, and a $9 monthly maintenance fee.
What is ChexSystems?
ChexSystems is a check verification service and Consumer Reporting Agency. Nearly 80% of American Banks and Credit Unions use ChexSystems for screening applicants, verifying identities, and obtaining reports on the history of your checking account.
Any time you have an issue with a bank, whether it be insufficient funds, overdrafting, or other issues, it is noted in their system. These are compiled into reports, which are then available to all banks partnered with ChexSystems.
These reports include many different types of information about the consumer and their bank account history, but they all share one feature:
They’re all negative.
That’s right. Unlike Credit Reports, which contain positive information that might offset the bad, ChexSystem Reports contain no positive information.
This is a major criticism that has been levied at ChexSystems multiple times since its inception. There is no mention of years of being in good standing in their reports, no matter how many checking accounts you may have.
The only information they report are those negative issues associated with your account history. These ChexSystems reports extend back 5 years, so once you’re blacklisted – you’re in trouble.
Best practices if you’re blacklisted by ChexSystems
If you’ve been denied a checking account, your first step is to review your ChexSystems report immediately.
Because ChexSystems is a Consumer Reporting Agency, they are required to provide you a free copy of your report. This free report can be requested once a year, or if you’ve been denied a bank account in the past 60 days.
You can request a report the following ways:
- Request it directly through their website
- Call ChexSystems at (800)-428-9623
- Download the Consumer Request for Disclosure Form found on their website, fill it out, and mail it to
Chex Systems, Inc.
Attn: Consumer Relations
7805 Hudson Road, Suite 100
Woodbury, MN 55125
- Download the Consumer Request for Disclosure form found on their website, fill it out, and fax it to 602-659-2197
Once you’ve requested your report, it takes about five business days to receive it in the mail.
As soon as you have it in hand, go over the report with a fine toothed comb. If you spot any potential errors or that you’ve been the victim of fraud, reach out to ChexSystems immediately to dispute it. The sooner you take care of it, the better.
Unfortunately, if there are legitimate marks against your account – there’s no easy way out. These reports last around five years.
Until then, you should find a bank or credit union that gives you a second chance. Luckily, there are banks that don’t use ChexSystems. There are even banks, known as second chance banks, that offer special accounts that ignore your ChexSystems report.
If you’re storing your money in a normal bank account, there are always risks the bank will conduct a random sweep.
Beware ChexSystems Bank Sweeps
If you’ve found yourself in the unfortunate situation that you have negative marks on your ChexSystems report, take steps to protect yourself.
Banks that use ChexSystems will conduct random “Bank Sweeps” of their account holders to ensure they are in good standing. Keep tabs on your account, and be very careful not to store all of your money in any one ChexSystems bank If a bank conducts one of these sweeps, they could close your account with no prior notice.
In these circumstances, your account funds would be frozen and you could be left without access to your money for up to 30 days.
To play it safe, we recommend depositing your money across multiple accounts and using banks that don’t use ChexSystems.
Funding your new checking account
With many online banks, they will require you to fund your opening deposit before use. Now that you know who you want to use, how do you fund that initial deposit? There are several options.
Using BBVA Online Checking as an example, the page for opening an online checking account lists that you need a $25 minimum deposit from:
- Debit or Credit Card
- Account at another bank
- Existing BBVA account
If you don’t have access to any of these, most online accounts accept funding from a prepaid card. These prepaid cards can be bought at most convenience stores and gas stations, and can loaded with various amounts.
Although it may take 2-3 days for the funds to go through, Paypal is another valid option for many banks.
Staying Safe when ordering checks
If you’ve been reported to ChexSystems, and still have checking accounts with banks that use the service, don’t use these companies. They share your personal information with ChexSystems, who will then report your record to your new bank – who could then opt to close your account without notice.
These companies are well known, and include:
- Designer Checks
- Checks Unlimited
- Current Checks
Instead, order from these companies that do not work with ChexSystems:
- Costco Check Printing
- Harland Clarke
By choosing a company that doesn’t share your personal information with ChexSystems, you lower the risk of your checking account in good standing being closed without warning.
Tips to manage your new account
Now that you’ve opened a new account in the second chance banking world, don’t waste it. Be very careful with managing your new account, and do everything you can to avoid unnecessary fees. Remember – you’re here to try and heal your past mistakes. Don’t let them overrun you again.
Some general good strategies for your new bank account:
- Check your balance at least once a week
- Review your bank statements and all financial correspondence
- Don’t spend more than you have available in your account
- Check your account balance and deduct your upcoming bills before making big purchases
- Make sure that the money you deposited is available before use
Overall, you should do your very best to responsibly manage your new account. This bank account, if maintained and kept in good standing, could be your first step in obtaining financial freedom.
While your credit score won’t be directly impacted by a ChexSystems report, a checking account in good standing are often a prerequisite to obtaining loans. More than that, learning responsibility with your new bank account will help you far into the future on your financial journey.
Whether you’ve had issues in the past, or are just looking out for your future – it’s important to keep your money safe. By keeping at least a portion in a non ChexSystems account, you’re taking an important step to watching your back.
Don’t let a forgotten mistake and a random bank sweep keep your money locked up. The options are out there for all your banking needs. Take that first step. See our related posts on the best banks for bad credit, online checking account no chexsystems post, and banks that offer early direct deposit.
Banks That Don’t Use Chexsystems by State/City
A mother who was once in debt along with a bad credit score is here to share here experience, tips, and guides on how she overcame her debt and achieved a fantastic credit score.