Best Second Chance Bank Accounts: A Guide to Rebuilding your Financial Health (2024)

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If a bank previously closed one of your bank accounts due to a negative account history, you might struggle to get a bank account at some financial institutions. Some banks and credit unions, however, provide second chance banking so you can still use banking services, regardless of your financial history.

We've reviewed over a dozen financial institutions. Here are our picks for the best checking accounts for people with a negative banking history. Our guide specifically highlights second chance banking with no monthly fees or low monthly fees.

Best Second Chance Bank Accounts

All of the financial institutions on our list are protected by FDIC or NCUA insurance. Money is safe at a federally insured financial institution. When a financial institution is federally insured, up to $250,000 per depositor is secure in a bank account.

Compare the Best Second Chance Bank Accounts

Capital One 360 Checking

Best Second Chance Bank Accounts: A Guide to Rebuilding your Financial Health (1)

Insider’s Rating

4.5/5

Perks

No minimums, no fees, no worries.

Fees

no monthly service fee

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

See website for details

Minimum Opening Deposit

$0

Pros

  • Earn interest on all account balances
  • No opening deposit or minimum account balance
  • No monthly service fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Range of overdraft protection options
  • Processes direct deposits up to 2 days early

Cons

  • Doesn't reimburse out-of-network ATM fees
  • Limited access to customer service by phone

Insider’s Take

Capital One is a strong bank overall. You'll earn competitive interest rates on online savings accounts and CDs.

Capital One 360 Checking review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • Over 70,000 free ATMs nationwide
  • Branches in NY, LA, TX, MD, VA, NJ, and Washington, DC
  • Interest compounded daily, paid monthly
  • FDIC insured

Chime® Checking Account

Start banking

On Chime's website

Insider’s Rating

4/5

Perks

Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposits

Fees

no monthly service fee

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

None

Minimum Opening Deposit

$0

Pros

  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly service fees
  • Receive your paycheck up to 2 days early
  • Rounds debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and puts spare change in your Chime Savings Account
  • No overdraft fees for overdrafts up to $200 with SpotMe®, if you qualify
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Request checks be sent to recipients online
  • Can deposit cash at select retailers

Cons

  • $2.50 out-of-network ATM fee
  • No overdraft protection for overdrafts exceeding $200
  • No physical checkbook

Insider’s Take

Chime has one of the best checking accounts out there, but it doesn't offer joint accounts or pay the best savings rate. Its strongest feature is that it's great for people who might not qualify to open accounts elsewhere — it doesn't check your credit score or banking history when you apply for a checking account, savings account, or credit card. It also provides several credit-building tools.

Chime Checking Account review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposits
  • 60,000+ free ATMs nationwide through MoneyPass® and Visa® Plus Alliance
  • Free cash deposits at Walgreens; May deposit cash at other select retail locations but you may be charged a fee
  • Rounds debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and moves spare change into your Chime Savings Account
  • Qualify for SpotMe® overdraft protection by receiving $200 in direct deposits per month
  • Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

Chime Savings Account

Start saving

On Chime's website

Insider’s Rating

4.25/5

Fees

no monthly service fee

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

The Annual Percentage Yield ("APY") for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of September 20, 2023. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

2.00%

Minimum Opening Deposit

$0

Pros

  • Competitive APY
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly service fee
  • Option to round debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and put spare change in savings account
  • Option to automatically save a percentage of your paycheck

Cons

  • Must open Chime Spending Account before savings account
  • Deposit cash at Green Dot locations, which may charge fee

Chime Savings Account review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • Round debit card purchases to the nearest dollar to put spare change into savings account
  • Set up a percentage of your paychecks to be put into savings account
  • Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

Pros

  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly service fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days early
  • No overdraft fees
  • Earn cash-back rewards

Cons

  • No physical branch locations
  • $3 out-of-network ATM fee
  • No joint accounts
  • Only way to deposit cash is to visit a Green Dot location and pay a fee

Insider’s Take

Varo is a good option if you're comfortable with online banking, especially if you're searching for checking and savings accounts that do not use ChexSystems to review your past banking history or do a credit check. The Varo Savings Account also lets you earn a solid interest rate that's much higher than what many traditional and high-yield savings accounts pay — it may be worth considering if you plan to set up direct deposits and meet certain balance requirements. Many of the best high-yield savings accounts let you earn a high rate without meeting specific criteria, though.

Varo Bank Account review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • Access to 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs in the US, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, UK, and Australia
  • Earn up to 6% cash back at select retailers; see current cash back offers in the Varo app
  • When you receive $5 in cash back, the money is automatically deposited into your account
  • If you overdraw by more than $50, there will be no fee — your transaction will just be denied
  • FDIC insured

Varo Savings Account

Start saving

On Varo Bank's website

Insider’s Rating

4.25/5

Fees

no monthly service fee

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

3.00% to 5.00%

Minimum Opening Deposit

$0

Pros

  • High APY
  • No monthly service fees
  • No minimum opening deposit

Cons

  • No physical branch locations
  • Most open a Varo Checking Account before opening a savings account
  • Must meet certain qualifications to earn highest APY
  • Only earn highest APY on balances up to $5,000
  • Only way to deposit cash is to visit a Green Dot location and pay a fee
  • No joint accounts

Insider’s Take

Varo is a good option if you're comfortable with online banking, especially if you're searching for checking and savings accounts that do not use ChexSystems to review your past banking history or do a credit check. The Varo Savings Account also lets you earn a solid interest rate that's much higher than what many traditional and high-yield savings accounts pay — it may be worth considering if you plan to set up direct deposits and meet certain balance requirements. Many of the best high-yield savings accounts let you earn a high rate without meeting specific criteria, though.

Varo Bank review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • You must open a Varo Checking Account to qualify for a Varo Savings Account
  • To earn the highest APY each month, you must receive $1,000 in direct deposits, maintain a daily balance of $5,000 or under in your Varo Savings Account, AND keep your bank accounts above $0
  • Interest compounded daily, paid monthly
  • FDIC insured

SoFi Checking and Savings

Start saving

SoFi Bank, Member FDIC

Insider’s Rating

4.25/5

Perks

There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for the 4.60% APY for savings. Members without direct deposit will earn up to 1.20% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet

Earn up to a $300 bonus with qualifying direct deposits for eligible customers through 12/31/24. Earn up to 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) with direct deposit

Fees

no monthly service fee

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

SoFi members with Direct Deposit or $5,000 or more in Qualifying Deposits during the 30-Day Evaluation Period can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate. Members without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits, during the 30-Day Evaluation Period will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

up to 4.60%

Minimum Opening Deposit

$0

Bonus

Customer must complete a direct deposit with a minimum initial deposit of $250 in a new SoFi Checking and Savings account within 45 days of clicking to qualify (offer expires 12/31/24)

up to $300

Pros

  • FDIC insured for $2 million
  • High interest rate
  • Earn a higher interest rate with qualifying activities
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly service fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • Up to $300 bonus with qualifying direct deposit (terms apply)
  • No-fee overdraft coverage if you overdraw up to $50
  • Savings tools
  • Early direct deposit
  • Joint account available

Cons

  • Declined purchase if you overdraw by more than $50
  • Doesn't reimburse out-of-network ATM providers' fees
  • May deposit cash at Green Dot locations but there's a $4.95 fee

Insider’s Take

SoFi Checking and Savings is a great account option if you don't mind keeping your savings and checking in one account.

SoFi Checking and Savings review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • FDIC insured for $2 million
  • Free access to 50,000+ Allpoint ATMs worldwide
  • Hybrid checking/savings account
  • Earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (Vaults included) and 0.50% APY on checking balances if you set up direct deposit or deposit minimum $5,000 per month
  • Earn 1.20% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings if you don't have qualifying activities
  • Earn up to $300 cash bonus available through December 31, 2024; receive a $50 bonus if you make a direct deposit between $1,000 and $4,999 in the first 30 days of opening an account; receive a $300 bonus if you make a direct deposit of $5,000 or more in the first 30 days of opening an account
  • Create up to 20 Money Vaults to save for individual savings goals like an emergency fund or vacation
  • $4.95 fee each time you deposit cash at a Green Dot location
  • To get no-fee overdraft coverage you must have at least $1,000 in direct deposits

Experian Smart Money

Start banking

Banking services provided by CFSB, Member FDIC

Insider’s Rating

4/5

Perks

Earn $50 bonus when you set up direct deposit

Fees

no monthly service fee

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

None

Minimum Opening Deposit

$0

Bonus

Earn $50 bonus when you set up direct deposit

$50

Pros

  • Build credit with a checking account
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • Early direct deposit
  • Online bill pay and money transfers
  • Large free ATM network
  • Free financial tools

Cons

  • No physical branches
  • $3 out-of-network ATM fee
  • No overdraft protection; if a transaction would overdraw your account, it will be denied
  • Only works with Experian credit reports

Insider’s Take

The best checking accounts have low fees and are easy to use — Experian Smart Money offers both with zero fees, plus access to an extensive ATM network and a user-friendly mobile app. The account stands out because it helps you improve your credit score when you make everyday bill payments. For this reason, the account is best for people who are just starting to build credit or could use help improving it.

Product Details

  • Online checking account and debit card aimed to boost your credit score
  • Build credit by paying bills that wouldn’t affect your credit score otherwise, including streaming services and phone bills
  • 55,000+ free ATMs in the Allpoint network
  • Deposits are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000 through partner bank Community Federal Savings Bank

Dora Financial Everyday Checking Account

Start banking

Dora, FDIC Insured Account

Insider’s Rating

4/5

Fees

no monthly service fee

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

None

Minimum Opening Deposit

$0

Pros

  • Bank On certified bank account
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly service fees
  • No credit check
  • No overdraft fees
  • Early direct deposit
  • App fully in English or Spanish

Cons

  • $1 out-of-network ATM fee
  • Limited customer service support

Dora Financial review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • Access to 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs
  • The Everyday Checking Account serves as a second chance bank account, so it won't allow you to overdraw from your account
  • NCUA insured through US Alliance Financial

Dave Spending Account

Start banking

Dave, FDIC Insured Account

Insider’s Rating

4/5

Fees

$1 monthly service fee

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

4.00%

Minimum Opening Deposit

$0

Pros

  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No credit check required
  • Dave card included
  • Early direct deposit
  • No overdraft fees

Cons

  • $1 monthly membership fee
  • 1% fee per transaction if you use Google Pay or Apple Pay
  • Doesn't allow you to overdraw from your account
  • Doesn't accept wire transfers
  • Limited ways to deposit cash
  • $2.50 out-of-network ATM fee

Insider’s Take

Dave may stand out if you're comfortable with mobile banking and searching for tools to help build your credit score. Its Dave Spending Account also might be worth exploring if you've struggled to open a bank account due to poor credit history.

Dave Spending Account review External link Arrow An arrow icon, indicating this redirects the user."

Product Details

  • Access to over 37,000 surcharge-free ATMs through the MoneyPass ATM network
  • Dave charges a $1 membership fee to access the Dave Spending Account and apps budgeting features
  • Dave will deny your purchase if you overdraw from your account
  • If you'd like to deposit cash, you'll have to visit a Green Dot location (can't deposit cash at ATMs)
  • Dave Spending Account may only be opened as an individual bank account
  • FDIC insured through Evolve Bank & Trust

First Step Checking

Start banking

The First Bank, Member FDIC

Insider’s Rating

4/5

Fees

$3 monthly service fee

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

None

Minimum Opening Deposit

$15

Pros

  • $15 minimum opening deposit
  • Debit or ATM card option
  • No overdraft fees
  • May upgrade to a traditional checking account after 6 months

Cons

  • $3 monthly service fee
  • $2 out-of-network ATM fee

Product Details

  • Over 65 branches and ATMs in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana
  • Meets the Bank On National Account Standards
  • No checks included for TheFirst Step Checking; Debit or ATM card available upon request
  • May upgrade to a traditional checking account at The First Bank after 6 months
  • Can't overdraw from bank account
  • FDIC insured

Best Second Chance Bank Accounts: FAQs

Who is eligible for second chance banking?

People who are denied standard bank accounts because of past issues like overdrafts, bounced checks, or negative balances generally qualify for second chance banking.

Are there fees associated with second chance bank accounts?

Yes, many second chance bank accounts come with monthly bank maintenance fees, although some banks may waive fees for second chance bank accounts after you've had the bank account for a certain amount of time and haven't run into any problems.

Can a second chance bank account help improve my credit score?

Not directly, but they can help. While second chance bank accounts don't directly report to credit bureaus, responsible use of these accounts can help your credit by helping you qualify for other credit-building products.

How long do I need to have a second chance bank account before I can get a standard account?

Transitioning from second chance to standard banking takes time. Typically, you'll need to have a second chance bank account in good standing for six to 12 months before you can get a standard account.

Do all banks offer second chance banking?

No, not every bank offers a second chance bank account. Community banks and credit unions are more likely to offer them as part of their efforts to promote financial inclusion.

What bank gives you a second chance?

Several banks offers second-chance bank accounts. Capital One 360, The First Bank, and SoFi all offer second-chance bank account that don't check ChexSystems, for instance.

Second Chance Bank Account Reviews

The best second chance bank accounts will give people with bad credit a chance to open bank accounts and earn interest without charging high monthly maintenance fees. Ideally, banks will avoid ATM fees and other types of fees, as well.

Here are the best second-chance bank accounts as picked by Business Insider editors in 2024.

Capital One 360 Checking

Capital One 360 Checking is notably one of our top picks from the best checking accounts guide. It doesn't charge monthly service fees, foreign transaction fees, or overdraft fees. You'll also have access to 70,000 surcharge-free ATMs through the Capital One, MoneyPass, and AllPoint ATM networks.

Capital One 360 doesn't use ChexSystems to assess your risk as a consumer when opening a bank account.

At Capital One, you'll also be able to open a high-yield savings account and CDs without having to worry about ChexSystems.

Capital One 360 Checking Accounts automatically decline overdrafts if you don't choose an overdraft service. The bank also charges a $2 fee if you use an out-of-network ATM.

Capital One 360 Bank Review

Chime Checking and Savings Account

The Chime® Checking Account and Chime Savings Account do not require a credit check or review by ChexSystems.

Chime also stands out because it doesn't charge monthly service fees, and you may open an online account from anywhere in the US.

Before you open a savings account, you're required to open a checking account. This is also an online-only account, so you'll have to be comfortable with online banks.

Chime Bank Review

Varo Bank and Savings Account

The Varo Bank Account, which is the bank's version of a checking account, is a great choice if you're looking for a second chance bank account with zero monthly service fees. It also offers early direct deposit.

Varo doesn't use ChexSystems to review your bank account history. You also don't need to worry about a credit check.

At Varo, you could also get a high-yield savings account with a competitive interest rate. The Varo Savings Account pays 5.00% APY on up to $5,000 if you receive direct deposits of $1,000 each month and keep a positive balance in the Varo Bank Account and Savings Account.

To qualify for the the Varo Savings Account, you must open the Varo Bank Account first. Varo is also an online-only financial institution so it doesn't have physical branches.

Varo Bank Review

SoFi Checking and Savings

SoFi Checking and Savings doesn't require a review of ChexSystems. You also might like this account if you're comfortable maintaining your checking and savings in one account.

SoFi is offering a cash bonus of up to $300 with qualifying direct deposit for eligible customers (offer expires 12/31/24).

The account works best if you set up a direct deposit. That way, you'll qualify for the cash bonus and the highest-tier interest rate on savings account balances.

SoFi Bank Review

Experian Smart Money

Experian Smart Money doesn't use ChexSystems to review your banking history. You also might like this account if you're looking for ways to build credit. Experian Smart is automatically linked to Experian Boost, which is a financial tool that allows you to build credit for making on-time payments for phone bills, utility bills, rent payments, and more.

The account also offers early direct deposits and a $50 bonus when you set up direct deposit.

You might prefer one of our other top picks if you want overdraft protection. If you make a transaction that would result in a negative account balance, Experian will deny the purchase.

Experian Smart Money Review

Dora Financial Everyday Checking Account

The Dora Financial Everyday Checking Account is Bank On certified, which means it meets the program's requirements of low costs and low fees. It's a great option if you'd like to open an online account with a $0.

Dora Financial may also stand out if you primarily speak Spanish. The platform's mobile app is available in English and Spanish.

Customer support may be limited since it's only available through the platform's mobile app or email. If you prefer telephone customer support, you might consider other accounts.

Doral Financial Review

Dave Spending Account

You might like the Dave Spending Account if you're searching for a banking option with budgeting features, rewards, and a high interest rate. You may set up individual personal finance goals or keep track of how much you spend in a specific category by creating a budget. Dave also has a unique feature called Dave Side Hustle. You can find remote work opportunities by setting up a profile through the app.

Dave is a mobile fintech platform with a bank account that doesn't require a credit check.

There's a $1 monthly service fee to use the Dave mobile app. If you don't want to deal with monthly fees, you might consider choosing one of our other top picks.

Dave Spending Account Review

The First Bank First Step Checking

First Step Checking might be ideal if you'd like to open an account with a brick-and-mortar bank. The First Bank is one of the largest community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to offer a second chance bank account in multiple states.

Compared to other second chance bank accounts at brick-and-mortar financial institutions, it has a low monthly service fee.

The First Bank only serves residents in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana. The account also doesn't include checks. You'll need to upgrade to a traditional checking account after six months to have access to check writing.

The First Bank Review

Bank Trustworthiness and BBB Ratings

The Better Business Bureau assesses businesses based on responses to customer complaints, honesty in advertising, and transparency about business practices.

Below are the BBB ratings of our favorite banking options.

InstitutionBBB rating
Capital One 360A+
ChimeNR
VaroA-
SoFiA+
ExperianB-
Dora FinancialNR (USALLIANCE Financial, partner bank, received a D-)
DaveB+
The First BankA+

Chime has an NR rating from the BBB because the BBB is reviewing Chime's page.

Varo received an A- rating because it has received a high volume of customer complaints on the BBB website.

Experian received a B- ratingfrom BBB because it has received a high volume of customer complaints, had government actions taken against the company, and has taken a long time to respond to customer complaints.

Dora Financial currently has an NR (No Rating) from the BBB due to insufficient information. Their partner bank, USALLIANCE Financial, received a D- rating because it has failed to respond to several customer complaints.

Dave has a B+ rating from the BBB due to a high volume of customer complaints.

Capital One, Chime, and Experian have been involved in a recent public controversies.

Capital One used to have an account called 360 Savings. In 2019, Capital One launched the new 360 Performance Savings Account, which paid a much a higher interest rate. Many customers thought their old savings accounts would transition into this new one, but in reality, they had to open a new 360 Performance Savings Account to earn the higher rate. So some customers have been earning a significantly lower savings rate for years.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs' lawyers allege that Capital One didn't inform 360 Savings customers that these were two distinct accounts, or that 360 Performance Savings paid a higher rate. However,Capital One wants this case dismissedbecause it claims people had every opportunity to learn these facts on their own. This case is still ongoing.

In 2024, the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation entered into a consent order with Chime, which required Chime to pay $2.5 million. DFPI claimed that Chime wasn't properly handling customer complaints. Through the consent order, Chime agreed to make reforms to its customer service procedures.

In 2023, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau required Chime to pay a total of $3 million, with $1.5 million going to consumers. The CFPB says that Chime misrepresented the time and fees involved in some of its transfers.

In 2023, Experian was required to pay$650,000 in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC claimed that Experian was sending emails marketing additional products to customers without giving them an option to unsubscribe. Experian did not admit wrongdoing by settling.

In November 2022,Experian was required to pay a total of $13.67 million regarding two settlementsover data breaches that occurred in 2012 and 2015. The 2015 breach occurred when an authorized person obtained access to personal information in the Experian network, primarily affecting people who applied for T-Mobile services between September 2013 and September 2015. The 2012 breach involved identity theft.

Understanding Second Chance Banking

We've provided information on what second chance banking is and whether you would qualify for it to help you decide whether opening a second chance bank account is right for you.

A second chance bank account is a type of checking account for people who have a bad enough banking history that they can't open standard accounts. Some second chance bank accounts are savings accounts, although they probably won't offer as high an annual percent interest as the best high-yield savings accounts do. Generally, the banks that offer second chance bank accounts don't use ChexSystems to check your credit history, so you don't need a good credit score to open these accounts.

If someone has a history of overdrafting, not paying fees, or having a negative balance, they might not be able to open a regular bank account. Second chance bank accounts let them have an account they can use to build up a good banking history and, eventually, qualify for standards accounts and products again.

Features of Second Chance Bank Accounts

Basic Account Functions

Second chance bank accounts generally function a lot like regular bank accounts: they provide a place for you to keep the money that you plan on spending, whether that's for regular expenses like rent, mortgages, or utilities or for purchases like groceries.

Some, but not all, second chance bank accounts also allow you to use debit cards and checks for purchases. Depending on the bank you choose, you might also be able to bank online using mobile banking apps.

Monitoring and Restrictions

Some second chance bank accounts don't offer all of the features you'd expect from a checking account. They might not let you use checks or debit cards to make sure you don't accidentally overspend. They also might not let you overdraft. While this means you won't rack up overdraft fees, the best banks for overdrafts offer overdraft protection.

Second chance bank accounts might also come with higher monthly fees. Check with the bank you're planning on using to see what fees and features their second chance bank account comes with.

Benefits of Second Chance Banking

If you can't open a standard checking account, second chance bank accounts can be invaluable when it comes to paying bills and building a strong financial history.

With a checking account, it's much easier to save and spend money. You can easily cash checks you receive, you don't need to keep track of paper bills for everything, and it's easier to keep track of your funds as you're learning how to budget.

Second chance accounts also help you build up a healthier banking history. If you can keep your second chance bank account in good standing for six to 12 months, you'll generally be able to start opening standard accounts with more features and lower fees. You can also start working on savings goals, like saving up to buy a house, which in turn can help your credit history.

How to Find and Open a Second Chance Bank Account

When looking for a second chance bank account, check credit unions and community banks near you. Both of these are more likely to offer second chance bank accounts, as they're more likely to offer programs supporting financial inclusivity. Some larger banks also offer second chance bank accounts, so make sure to read up on several different banks to see which account is right for you.

When deciding which bank to use, keep an eye out for service fees and features. In general, you'll want an account with a lower service fee, especially if you've struggled with paying fees in the past. However, you'll also want to decide which features, like early direct deposit, might be important enough to you to pay a slightly larger fee.

Otherwise, opening a second chance banking account is similar to opening a checking account. The only place where it differs is in identification requirements; depending on the institution, second chance bank accounts are more likely to allow non-standard types of ID, such as foreign IDs or passports.

Tips for Successfully Managing a Second Chance Bank Account

Staying Within Limits

When you have a second chance bank account, it's important to make sure you're practicing good banking habits so you can build up your history. A lot of the tips for how to save money apply here. Make sure you're not overdrafting your account or trying to make purchases you can't pay for. Also make sure to pay any fees that come with your account on time, so you're not building up unpaid fees.

Graduating to a Standard Account

After a certain time period, usually between six to 12 months, you'll be able to switch from a second chance account to a standard account. Check with your bank to see how long that period is, and make sure to switch to a standard account when you can to access better features and a potentially lower fee.

Why You Should Trust Us: Expert Advice on Choosing the Best Bank Account

To learn more about what makes a good bank or credit union and how to choose the best fit, four experts weighed in:

Best Second Chance Bank Accounts: A Guide to Rebuilding your Financial Health (11)

BI
  • Tania Brown, certified financial planner and vice president of coaching strategy at OfColor
  • Roger Ma, certified financial planner withlifelaidout®and author of"Work Your Money, Not Your Life"
  • Sophia Acevedo, certified educator in personal finance, banking editor, Business Insider
  • Mykail James, MBA, certified financial education instructor,BoujieBudgets.com

The things you should look for in a second-chance bank account are about the same as any other bank account. Here are a few questions our experts have shared that can help you figure out if a specific bank account is right for you:

  • Are you clear on the fees, and whether you can waive them?
  • Are you confident in bank security, and how accessible your money is in-person or online?
  • Is the bank FDIC-insured?
  • How easy is it to get ahold of customer service, and when are they available?
  • How easy is it to transfer money in and out of your account?

Methodology: How We Chose the Best Second Chance Bank Accounts

At Business Insider, our goal is to create useful content that helps you make good decisions about your money. We recognize every person has distinct preferences, so we provide ample options to help you find the most suitable financial product or account.

We research extensively to make sure you know the standout features and limitations of a financial institution.

First, we researched to find financial institutions that offered second chance bank accounts. We looked at our Hispanic American-owned banksand credit unions guide, our Black-owned banks and credit unions guide, best banks of 2024, and CDFI reviews to compile a list of institutions to consider.

Then, we reviewed second chance bank accounts to find the most-well rounded banking options. Our top picks have low minimum opening deposits and low monthly services fees. Several of our favorite accounts can be easily opened from anywhere in the U.S.

See our full ratings methodology for checking, business checking, savings, and money market accounts »

Sophia Acevedo

Banking Editor

Sophia Acevedo is a banking editor at Business Insider. She has spent three years as a personal finance journalist and is an expert across numerous banking topics.ExperienceSophia leads Personal Finance Insider's banking coverage, including reviews, guides, reference articles, and news. She edits and updates articles about banks, checking and savings accounts, CD rates, and budgeting and saving. She is highly knowledgeable about long-term trends in rates and offers at banks across the U.S.Before joining Business Insider, Sophia worked as a journalist at her college newspaper and was a freelance writer. She has spent seven years writing and editing as a journalist.Sophia was nominated for an Axel Springer Award for Change in 2023 for her coverage of ABLE accounts, tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities. She was also a winner of a 2018 California Journalism Awards Campus Contest for her photography.She loves helping people find the best solutions for their unique needs and hopes that more people will find the tools to solve their financial problems. She’s inspired by stories of everyday people adapting to their financial circ*mstances and overcoming their fears around money.ExpertiseSophia's expertise includes:

  • Bank accounts
  • Savings and CD rate trends
  • Budgeting
  • Saving
  • How banks operate

EducationSophia graduated from California State University Fullerton with a degree in journalism and a minor in political science.She is an avid reader across a variety of genres, and she started running in 2021. She ran in the 2024 Los Angeles Marathon.

Kit Pulliam

Personal Finance Insider editorial fellow

Kit Pulliam (they/them) is a banking expert who specializes in certificates of deposit, savings accounts, and checking accounts. They’ve been reporting, editing, and fact-checking personal finance stories for more than four years.ExperienceKit has spent their career making complicated concepts more accessible to the average person. As a tutor in math and reading comprehension after college, they melded the certainty of numbers with the flexibility of words, a skill that has served them in the personal finance field since.Before Business Insider, Kit was an editorial specialist for Tax Analysts, diving into the tax code to help readers get the best information about a confusing but necessary subject.They find banking similar to taxes in that way: There are some things everyone needs to know because just about everyone needs to work with a bank — and you don’t want to end up with an account that doesn’t serve your needs.As interest rates change, they enjoy the fast pace of reviewing rates for products like CDs and high-yield savings, which can change daily and have a direct impact on readers’ money.ExpertiseTheir expertise includes:

  • Certificates of deposit
  • Savings accounts
  • Checking accounts
  • CD rates
  • Bank reviews

EducationKit is an alumnus of Vanderbilt University, where they studied English and psychology and received the Jum C. Nunnally Honors Research Award for their senior thesis.Outside personal finance, Kit enjoys reading, film, video games, and cross stitching. They are based in the DC area.

Evelyn He

Compliance and Operations Associate

Evelyn He is a Compliance and Operations Associate on the Personal Finance team to ensure content accuracy and editorial independence so readers get up-to-date and objective financial advice.The compliance team's mission is to provide readers with fact-checked and current stories so they can make informed financial decisions. The team also works to minimize risk for partners by ensuring language is clear, precise, and fully compliant with regulatory and partner marketing guidelines that align with the editorial team.

Top Offers From Our Partners

Best Second Chance Bank Accounts: A Guide to Rebuilding your Financial Health (15)

SoFi Checking and Savings Earn up to 4.60% APY on savings balances and up to a $300 bonus with qualifying direct deposit. FDIC Insured.

There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for the 4.60% APY for savings. Members without direct deposit will earn up to 1.20% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet. To earn the $300 bonus, the customer must complete a direct deposit with a minimum initial deposit of $250 in a new SoFi Checking and Savings account within 45 days of clicking to qualify (offer expires 12/31/24).

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Read our editorial standards.

Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

**Enrollment required.

Best Second Chance Bank Accounts: A Guide to Rebuilding your Financial Health (2024)
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