It’s not a given that anyone can open a regular checking account. About 7.7% of American households, or almost 17 million people, are unbanked, and part of the reason involves having bad credit or poor banking histories.
Making mistakes with a bank account, such as not paying overdraft fees, can put you on a list to let other banks know you’re a risky customer, and you might be denied an account because of it.
Fortunately, there is a solution. We give our highest recommendation for the best-in-class institution that offers a no-ChexSystems/no credit check account.
BBVA Compass ClearConnect Checking
Available in all states except Alaska and Hawaii. The BBVA Compass ClearConnect Checking Account is our hands-down winner for the best checking account. Unknown to some, BBVA Compass is owned by a multi-billion dollar international bank and has won several awards for their leading products and online services. They are a fully insured FDIC member. Features include mobile deposits, direct deposit, online bill payment, and NO monthly or annual fees. Setting up an account is almost too easy and the smartphone app tools are the best we’ve reviewed. Here are a few of the highlights:
- FREE Visa® debit card you can personalize with your favorite photo
- NO monthly service charge
- Complimentary online banking and mobile banking, bill pay and online statements
- 24/7 customer support
- NO fees at over 55,000 ATMs nationwide (includes BBVA Compass and Allpoint® locations)
- You can apply with only a $25 opening deposit
Applying is simple. The BBVA website is simple and easy to interact with. As stated above, there is a $25 minimum deposit required to open an account and once that deposit clears, you’ll be off and running. Hands down, BBVA is one of the most friendly banks for those who need a second chance at a checking account. The entire process from start to finish takes about 7 minutes.
For anyone interested, I signed up for a BBVA Compass Bank checking account while on ChexSystems. I have been using the new checking account, debit card, online website, direct deposit, and customer service for over a month now. I have to say I am genuinely impressed with everything they have done with me and my account.
So far it seems like the ideal bank.
B. Lewis, BBVA Compass Customer
Get an account now!
Getting Started Is Easy
Apply and make an initial deposit.
It takes 7 minutes to sign up. You’ll need to make an initial deposit of $25 to get started. Deposit funds through direct deposit, transfer funds from another account, or deposit directly to BBVA Compass.
Get your Visa card in the mail and set up your online banking account.
You’ll receive your ClearConnect Visa card in the mail in 5–7 business days. Then download the BBVA Compass App and set up your account. Managing your account on your phone or computer has never been easier.
Use your ClearConnect Visa and checking account for all your day-to-day spending. You’ll have total control over your funds and can transfer money, pay bills and withdraw cash. And you can set alerts on the BBVA Compass mobile app to carefully monitor your money.
Managing Your Money Is Easy With The Award-Winning Banking App.
It’s all right on your phone. The BBVA Compass Mobile App allows you to manage your account 24/7, no matter where you are. No wonder Money Magazine named it the Best Mobile Banking App.
The second option, especially if you really feel the need to work with a local brick-and-mortar branch location, is to open an account with a bank in your state who may be willing to overlook any challenges you may be having with ChexSystems or bad credit.
The Best Second Chance Banks by State
When people apply to open checking accounts, financial institutions screen them to determine how much of a risk they’ll be. About 85% of banks and credit unions in the United States use ChexSystems, a consumer reporting agency that gathers information on closed checking and savings accounts. Consumers with outstanding debts or overdrafts, fraudsters and victims of identity theft may have records on ChexSystems.
When a person with a ChexSystems record tries to open a checking account, it’s up to the financial institution to determine whether to approve that account. ChexSystems reports may or may not be used, as can credit reports.
When people cannot get bank accounts, their alternatives tend to be prepaid debit cards, payday loans and check cashing services, which aren’t always ideal because of transaction fees. They can also be much less convenient, since they may lack features such as online access to funds.
A second chance checking account, however, offers the security of a bank account while letting a consumer rebuild his or her banking history. After a year or two, an account holder may be able to upgrade to a regular checking account.
Unfortunately, some major banks don’t offer second chance checking, but many community banks and credit unions have them under various names, such as Opportunity Checking and Fresh Start Checking.
Some banks and credit unions offer so-called second chance checking accounts to help people rebuild their credit and financial histories. These accounts usually carry monthly fees and come with a few other requirements, such as participating in a financial literacy or money management class. An account holder might also not be eligible for overdraft protection, since second chance banking serves as a way to prevent overdrawing an account altogether.
Here’s an overview of these accounts and where you can find them at branches in your area.