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Second Chance Bank Account: Your answer to a Second Chance at Banking

second chance bank account

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Opening a bank account and running it is as easy as it sounds. Still, you might have had issues with your checking account that led to its closure- not paying your overdraft fees, a bad banking history and bounced checks among others. We all make mistakes once in a while. I mean, that is one of the best ways to learn in this life- through your mistakes.

Now that you have learned your lesson and you want to open and manage your account better, you are finding it hard to get a bank to accept you. Second chance bank accounts are here to offer you the second chance you are looking for.

What is a Second chance bank account?

A second chance bank account is for individuals that made a mistake or two along the way and are looking for a fresh start in banking. With a second chance bank account, you can start rebuilding your banking history afresh. This is mostly a checking account. The only problem with this type of a banking account is that you will not have access to all the services that regular bank account holders enjoy.

The Good and the bad of a second chance bank account

The transaction fees for a second chance checking account are usually lower than what you are likely to pay for check-cashing services or a prepaid debit card.

To your advantage too, keeping up the good behavior by avoiding fees and negative balances will get you upgraded to a regular bank account in 6-12 months.

However, a second chance bank account comes with its own disadvantages. First, you will not be able to enjoy overdraft services that other regular bank accounts holders enjoy. Unfortunately, a second chance bank account is designed to fix just your banking history. In case you are looking for a way to improve your credit score, Credit Sesame and Approved with bad credit are here for you.

With a second chance bank account, you will also have to pay some monthly fee charges. The fees cannot be waived meaning you will have to be up to date with all the payments if you want to be upgraded to a regular bank account.

Another disadvantage is that there are some requirements such as taking money management classes. These are requirements that regular bank accounts do not have but since we are working towards getting you a second chance bank account, and hopefully be upgraded in a few months, then it is all worth it.

How to pick a second chance bank account

First things first, before signing up for a second chance bank account make sure that it at least has some of the below features:

  • Minimum limits such as maximum transactions required in a certain period.
  • Monthly fees- let it be minimal or even zero.
  • Free services such as online banking and debit cards among others.
  • Minimum balance requirement- the less it is the better. A zero minimum balance requirement is ideal though.

It is important to compare different banks that are offering a second chance bank account. There are a number of banks, large and small, offering you a second chance at improving your banking history. However, they will all be offering different services. As long as you have all the features you looking for- as discussed above- all you need to do is do a comparison. Which bank has all the features? Which bank has the least features? Will you get a chance to upgrade to a regular bank account in the near future? Do your due diligence to avoid regrets a few months down the road.

It is important to note that traditional banks are not the only ones that offer a second chance bank account. You might want to consider signing up with a credit union. Credit unions have more advantages that regular banks such as having lower fees.

Top banks that offer a second chance bank account

Wells Fargo

They mostly refer to it as “Opportunity Checking and Savings Account”. It is designed for individuals that need to rebuild their banking as well as credit history. Some of their features include:

  • A free debit.
  • A minimum of $25 deposit to open the account.
  • Access to a “spending report” that helps you watch your spending.
  • A waiver of $10 per month if you can make 10 purchases via your debit card or normal payment, a minimum balance of $1,500 or receiving a total of $500 in direct deposit each statement cycle.
  • Online and mobile banking services.

You need to be keen on the below charges before you sign up with them:

  • Money order charges ($5)
  • Stop payments ($31)
  • Overdraft and returned item charges (35)

PNC Bank

In case you apply to their regular checking account and you fail to make it, they give you an opportunity to sign up with their “Foundation Checking Account”. The features of their second chance bank accounts include:

  • $7 monthly service fee
  • $2 per month for those that choose to receive their statement
  • $25 minimum deposit to open the account
  • Taking up their money management course

The good news with PNC is that they give you an option to upgrade after 6 months.

BBVA Compass

One, you will have to be located in California, Florida, Colorado, Alabama, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico for you to access their services. Since they do not offer any special accounts for a second chance bank account services, all their accounts – ClearChoice Savings, Easy Checking accounts, and Compass ClearChoice Free Checking- have this service.

The features for the 3 accounts include:

  • Free mobile and online banking with free online and paper statements and a personalized free debit card for Compass ClearChoice Free Checking account
  • Zero monthly charges for a Compass ClearChoice Free Checking account
  • $25 minimum deposit to open the account
  • $3 charges for paper statements for Compass ClearChoice Free Checking account and Easy Checking account
  • $13.95 service charge on a monthly basis for Easy Checking account

Woodforest National Bank

It is designed to offer only second chance bank accounts. They have branches in quite a number of states such as Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Louisiana, Georgia, and Ohio among others.

With this bank, you will have access to the below features- and others-

  • $25 minimum deposit to open the account
  • $3 charges for paper statements
  • $29 charges in case your account has insufficient funds
  • A one-time setup fee of $9

Being denied access to a bank account by any bank should not have you sinking into depression. It is tough, I know, but there are banks out there willing to give you a second chance. With a second chance bank account, you will be up and running, and you banking history will start improving in no time. All you need to do is ensure you follow all the rules and regulations of the bank you have chosen to get a second chance bank account with. In no time, you just might get upgraded to a regular bank account.

Some of the banks to consider include Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, BBVA Compass and Woodforest National Bank. Going through all the features offered by these banks and others out there will help you do a detailed comparison. That way, you can choose a bank that suits your needs.


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