Second Chance Banking in Illinois

About 7% of Illinois’ households are unbanked, according to the 2017 FDIC survey results. Being unbanked means that other methods are being used to conduct daily financial transactions such as prepaid debit cards, money orders, and cashing checks at the grocery store. These other means are a lot more costly and time-consuming than managing money out of a bank account.

For those that are unbanked due to ineligibility to enroll in a regular checking account, there are still opportunities to enjoy and utilize standard banking features. Most checking accounts offered by financial institutions offer second chance bank accounts that give you standard account features, possibly with small fees, and opportunities to help you rebuild your finances. When looking for second chance checking accounts, you will want to find banks that don’t use ChexSystems or those that offer flexibility when it comes to ChexSystems. There are many second chance checking accounts in Illinois that banks provide for those in need of a fresh start.

Here Are Your Options for Non ChexSystem Banks in Illinois

With all the second chance banks out there to chose from in Illinois, we created a list to help you chose the best account for your financial situation. The first 4 banks are our top picks, and the rest are also great options to chose from. Use this list as your research for finding the best second chance checking account in Illinois.


BBVA Compass Bank is our top pick with the Online Checking account. While there are no branch locations in Illinois, you can still enroll in their online checking account. There are known for their award-winning mobile app and online user experience. You can apply online for a new checking account with just a few details of your information. They do not use ChexSystems report to open an account, but you may be subject to an Early Warning Systems (EWS) screen for fraud prior to becoming approved.

Account Features

  • Open a checking account with only $25
  • No monthly maintenance fee or minimum account balance
  • Enjoy free, award-winning online and mobile banking services with bill pay
  • Receive a free VISA debit card per account holder
  • Earn cashback rewards when you use your debit card
  • Be eligible for overdraft protection services
  • Enroll in BBVA ClearBenefits program for only $4 a month and utilize cell phone insurance, identity theft restoration, and more.
  • No monthly fees at 55,000 BBVA and AllPoint ATM

Chime Bank

Chime offers all you need to manage your money in an online-only platform successfully. With their online base, there are no branch office locations in Illinois. But you can still enroll for the Chime Spending Account no matter where you live. They want to help their members financially by offering savings tools and no monthly fees. They also are non ChexSystems and don’t check your credit history when applying for a checking online.

Account Features

  • No hidden or monthly maintenance fees, only out of network ATM fees may apply
  • Learn to save money automatically by making purchases, rounding to the nearest whole dollar, and depositing the difference into a savings account.
  • Manage your account using online banking and mobile banking. Utilize the phone app to track purchases and turn off your debit card if it gets lost or stolen.
  • With Google Pay and Apple Pay, you can make purchases with your phone rather than with your debit card in hand.
  • If Chime is aware of a direct deposit, you can receive your money as early as 2 days prior to payday.
  • Be eligible for fee-free overdraft protection with SpotMe.
  • Have access to 38,000+ ATM locations for no fees
  • Receive a free debit card replacement if needed

Radius Bank

After applying for a regular checking account at Radius Bank, an online-only bank not physically located in Illinois, you will be eligible to enroll in their Essential Checking account. The Essential Checking is a second chance bank account created for those with poor banking history. The checking account has a few restrictions but offers many features to help you get on track financially.

Account Features

  • There is a $9 monthly service charge for the checking
  • You are limited to debit purchases of $500 a day or less
  • Mobile check deposits are limited to $1,000 per day and $2,000 per 10 days
  • You will be eligible to upgrade your second chance checking account after 12 months with positive banking history
  • Manage your account with online banking and mobile banking. You can use bill pay, instant money transfers to friends, enroll in direct deposit, and more.
  • Take control of your finances with their Financial Dashboard to help you budget, track spending, pay off debt, and more.

Varo Bank

Varo Bank is another online-only bank which no physical locations in Illinois. Their accounts are considered a second chance checking account because they don’t use ChexSystems or check your credit score when applying. You will have all you need to manage your money online with their many features. They also help you build your savings account quickly by offering a high yield savings account to make deposits into.

Account Features

  • No opening deposit is required
  • No monthly service charge or minimum balance fees
  • No monthly fees at 55,000 AllPoint ATMs
  • Receive a free debit card replacement if needed
  • Quickly transfer money to other Varo account users with mobile banking
  • Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit enrollment
  • Quickly lock your debit card with the mobile app
  • Connect your checking account to mobile pay platforms to promptly make purchases
  • Make qualifying debit purchases and direct deposits and receive the highest APY in your Varo savings account

Banterra Bank

Banterra Bank in Illinois offers a Restart Checking account and Restart Basic Checking account to help you rebuild your financial relationship with banking. The only difference between the two accounts is that the restart checking allows unlimited check writing, and the basic checking does not. Otherwise, there is a $50 opening deposit required with no minimum balance requirements. The monthly fee is $9.95 a month but can be reduced by $3 with enrollment in direct deposit. Other features include eligibility to upgrade accounts, online banking, mobile banking, and unlimited ATM transactions but only free at Banterra ATMs. There are debit card purchasing limits, bill pay and mobile deposit are not available.

Corporate America Family Credit Union

Another option for a second chance checking Chicago, Illinois, is at Corporate America Family Credit Union. The fresh start checking account requires that you are a member of the credit union, keep a minimum balance of $100 in your Regular Share account, and pay a $10 monthly fee. They also offer a free course called Get in Balance to help you become a more successful account holder.

Catholic & Community Credit Union

With locations in Belleville and Shiloh, Illinois, Catholic & Community Credit Union provides a Rebound Checking as a second chance checking account option. The account doesn’t require a minimum balance, and there is a low monthly fee. Overdraft protection is available, and you can withdrawal from their network of 28,000 ATMs for free. If you manage the account well after 12 months, you can upgrade to a free checking with interest.

Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bank has many locations in Illinois, including Elmhurst and Rockford. Fifth Third Bank Express banking provides you quick access to your money while still providing convenience and security. There is no check writing or check deposits allowed on this account, but there are no monthly service charges, balance requirements, or overdraft fees. Other features include online banking and mobile banking, direct deposit, and free access to over 50,000 ATMs.

First American Bank

First American Bank in Illinois offers a Fresh Start Checking account as a second chance option. You will receive a free MasterCard debit card with the account, free online banking and mobile banking, unlimited check writing, and access to 55,000 ATMs surcharge-free. There is no minimum balance requirement, but there is a monthly fee of $9.95.

First National Bank and Trust Company

First National Bank and Trust Company have a few locations in Illinois, including Roscoe, Clinton, Winnebago, Rockton, and Forest Point. The Renew Checking account is a second chance option for a fresh start at banking. Account features include eligibility to upgrade account, a rewards debit card, 70,000 surcharge-free ATMs, free online banking with bill pay, mobile app, and 24-hour Telebank access. There is a $25 opening deposit required with a monthly fee of $9.95, which can be reduced to $7.95 with enrollment in direct deposit.

First Eagle Bank

First Eagle Bank provides multiple checking accounts with the most straightforward option being the First Special Checking account. This checking account requires a $100 minimum balance, free online banking with bill pay, and unlimited debit card transactions.

Go Bank

Another online checking account option is with Go Bank. The monthly fee is $8.95, but can we waived with a qualifying direct deposit. Account features include free online banking, mobile app, early direct deposit, free ATM network, the ability to deposit cash at participating retailers, bill pay, and lots more.

Marquette Bank

You can apply for a ReStart Checking at Marquette Bank. If you have had trouble with banks that use ChexSystems or check your credit score, then this is the account for you. The opening deposit is $20, with a monthly fee of $5. Features offered are a free debit card, enrollment in direct deposit, e statements, free money orders in the first 12 months, free personal finance workshop, and the opportunity to upgrade account after 12 months.

GTE Financial

The Go Further Checking with GTE financial will give you a second chance. You start the process by applying online for one of their regular checking accounts. If you do not qualify, you will be eligible to enroll in the Go Further Checking. The monthly fee is $9.95 but can be waived by enrolling in electronic statements, making $500 in deposits, and using your debit or credit card at least 15 times per month. Account features include access to 30,000 ATMs, virtual banking, remote deposit with the mobile app, bill pay, unlimited check writing, and an opportunity to upgrade after 12 months.

Navy Federal Credit Union

You can have your pick of accounts at Navy Federal Credit Union. All accounts include a debit card with zero liability protection, monthly dividends, checking protection options, no monthly service fees, virtual banking, and free checks. In order to be eligible for an account at the credit union, you have to be currently in active duty military, retired military, or a close family member to someone who is in the military. The simplest options for accounts are the Free Active Duty Checking account and the Free Easy Checking account.

Prairie Land Federal Credit Union

The Not Your Normal Checking 2 is a free checking for a second chance. There is no monthly fee or per-check charges. The minimum balance requirement is $25 but can be waived with direct deposit; you can access virtual banking, phone banking, bill pay, statements, free savings account to help pay off debts owed that are in ChexSystems, and more. Once debts owed to ChexSystems are paid, you can upgrade to a regular checking account.

SoFi Money

SoFi Money is a cash management account that rewards you and has no monthly service fees. SoFi Money is online-based but still offers a lot of great features. You can withdraw from ATMs for free at over 55,000+ locations, earn cashback rewards when you spend and receive a monthly deposit, and earn a high-interest rate 6x the national savings average on a savings account. Other general features are free online virtual banking, mobile app, and exclusive member benefits.

Peoples Cash Solutions

If you are looking for a second chance checking account, Peoples Cash Solutions has just what you need. They will give you an account even if you are in ChexSystems, TeleCheck, or have bad credit. Benefits of the account include no opening deposit required, no minimum balance required, fee debit card, free checkbook, free online banking, and bill pay. The monthly fee is $4.95.

Southern Illinois Credit Union

Southern Illinois Credit Union will provide you a Fresh Start Checking account. The opening deposit is $50, with no minimum balance requirements. If you want a debit card, you will need to pay a one time $10 fee. Features of this account are access to thousands of surcharge-free ATMs, access to shared branches, no check writing fee, and virtual banking. The monthly service fee is only $5.

Suburban Bank & Trust

The Money Smart Checking at Suburban Bank & Trust will set you up for success financially. It is required that you complete the Money Smart Financial Training if you are in ChexSystems. There is no opening deposit required, you will receive a free debit or ATM card with up to 6 reimbursements for out of network ATM withdrawals, mobile alerts, and automatic savings accounts transfer starting at a $1 a day.

Staley Credit Union

If you are looking for a fresh start, Staley Credit Union offers a Renew Checking account. The minimum opening deposit is $50, with a $7 monthly fee. You can have access to virtual banking 24/7 with free online bill pay, and overdraft protection from savings or credit cards if needed. Their network of ATMs includes fee-free at over 5,000 locations nationwide.

TCF Bank

TCF Bank offers a Base Account as an affordable option. The opening deposit is $25 with a $4 monthly fee. There is no overdraft fee; checks are not offered, free online statements, digital banking, mobile pay, bill pay, and more.

US Bank

US Bank offers a second chance account called the Safe Debit. You can enjoy online and mobile banking, mobile check deposit, discounts on money orders, and a debit card. There is also free credit report access through your online dashboard; you can see your Vantage Score and ranking, use the Score Simulator to see an estimated credit score if specific actions are taken, and find helpful credit education information and resources. The monthly fee is $4.95.

Washington Savings Bank

If you need a fresh start, Washington Savings Bank offers the Renew Checking account. This account will allow you to upgrade to a free checking after 1 year if there is satisfactory account history. There is an opening deposit required of $10 and a $14.95 monthly fee but no deposit fees, withdrawal fees, or minimum balance requirements. Features include virtual banking with bill pay and budgeting tools, mobile banking with mobile deposit after 3 months, free debit card, and more.

Woodforest National Bank

Woodforest National Bank offers a second chance checking account to those who have experienced previous challenges with banks and their accounts. There is an opening deposit of $25 required, an account opening fee of $9, and a monthly fee. If you have a direct deposit, then the cost is only $9.95; if you don’t have a direct deposit, then the cost is $11.95. Services offered include virtual banking, mobile app, overdraft solutions, financial services, and card services.

Wells Fargo

Clear Access Banking with Wells Fargo is perfect for a second chance and for those who want to avoid overdraft and non-sufficient fund fees, those who don’t need to write checks, and for teens. The opening deposit required is $25, with a monthly fee of $5. If you are under the age of 25, then the fee is waived. Besides the monthly fee, there are no other fees, no paper checks allowed, bill pay, and online transfers come with virtual banking, access to Wells Fargo ATMs, budgeting and spending tools, and text banking features.

Advantage One Credit Union

At Advantage One Credit Union, they do use ChexSystems; instead, they look at your credit report. You can be eligible for any of their standard checking accounts, but the simplest one is the Basic Checking. It is a free checking with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. There is optional overdraft protection, direct deposit, auto-pay for loan payments, unlimited check writing, and more.

Archer Heights Credit Union

You can be eligible for Archer Heights Credit Union checking accounts because they will do a credit check rather than review your ChexSystems record. Their checking account comes as a free checking with no monthly fee, no minimum balance requirement, and no per check fee. Overdraft protection is available, direct deposit, and payroll deductions.

Central Federal Savings and Loan Association

Rather than using ChexSystems, Central Federal Savings and Loan Association uses TeleCheck. You can be eligible for any of their checking accounts. There is the Totally Free Checking account, the Basic Checking with Interest, Super Checking with Interest, and Preferred Checking with Interest. The Totally Free Checking only requires a $50 opening deposit with no minimum balance, no monthly service charge, doesn’t earn interest, and you receive a debit card.

Chester National Bank

Telecheck is used at Chester National Bank rather than ChexSystems. They have many different checking account options, such as a Regular Checking, Golden Checking, Student Checking, and Club Checking. The Club Checking requires a $50 opening deposit with a $1,000 minimum balance required to avoid an $8 monthly fee. You can also waive the fee if you maintain at least $2,000 in a savings account. There is no interest earned on this account.

First Savings Bank of Hegewisch

As long as there is no report of fraud listed on your ChexSystems record and no money is owed to First Savings Bank of Hegewisch, then you can enroll in one of their checking accounts. You can pick from the Totally Free Checking, The Free Checking Plus Interest, Senior Checking, First Checking, and E-Account. The Totally Free Checking account doesn’t require a minimum balance or a monthly service charge. You will need $10 to open and receive features such as free logo checks forever, unlimited check writing, 6 free out of network ATM transactions per cycle, direct deposit, virtual banking, bill pay, telephone banking, free debit card, and more.

Glenview State Bank

Glenview State Bank won’t look at ChexSystems, Telecheck, or EWS, but they may run your credit report to make sure you have a decent credit score. They offer a GSB Checking, Prime Life Checking, and a Health Savings Account. The GSB Checking has a $100 opening deposit requirement but no monthly fees. This bank account earns interest, gives you access to virtual banking, and over 37,000 surcharge-free ATMs. All checking accounts come with free identity theft resolutions services as well.