10 Second-Chance Checking Accounts With No Opening Deposit

a person writing a check with a calculator in the background

Many Americans have less-than-amazing financial histories for a variety of reasons. A record of bounced checks or debit card overdrafts can easily cut off your ability to participate in modern banking. Not having a checking account can be extremely inconvenient and make it difficult for individuals to participate in society. 

However, some banks offer special “second chance” accounts that minimize their risks while allowing you to be part of the banking system. These banks won’t use your ChexSystems history when considering your application. This system makes “second chance” great options for individuals to make headway towards economic stability.

10 Second Chance Checking Accounts with No Opening Deposit

Second chance checking accounts often have several types of fees associated with them. However, some have better deals than others. That’s why we’ve put together ten different second chance checking accounts that have little to no opening deposit options so you can pick the type of account best for you and your finances.

A black cell phone sits o a wooden table. On the screen is the word Chime
  1. Chime

Chime is not technically a bank, but they do have an online checking account product available to anyone. Consistently ranked as one of the best second-chance checking accounts on the market, they don’t ask for a credit check or banking score. 

Chime is popular because they offer several non-traditional financial tools to help you get back on track. They offer a direct deposit tool that allows you to get paid up to two days earlier than traditional accounts. They also offer an automatic savings feature.

There is no opening fee or balance requirement. There are barely any fees at all. A big perk of Chime is the lack of monthly charges, foreign translation fees, ACH transfer fees, and, because overdrafts are not possible, no overdraft fees.

  1. Varo Bank

Varo is one of the few banking accounts designed for second-chance accounts almost exclusively. Their commitment to second-chance accounts makes Varo especially popular. With Varo, users can do everything from rebuilding their credit scores to keeping a debit card on hand.

 There is no credit check, minimum balance requirements, monthly fees, or overdraft fees. Varo also works within the Allpoint ATM network. These ATMs are conveniently located in stores like CVS and Walgreens and allow users to withdraw money with no fees.

  1. GO2bank from GreenDot

GO2bank is a completely digital bank account offered through Green Dot. Green Dot is a financial institution that initially became popular as the world’s largest prepaid debit card company. Their GO2bank account offers several rewards, including a free ATM network, early access to pay, high-interest savings, and more. 

Maybe most importantly, GO2bank allows you to build your credit – all without an opening fee.

While there is technically a $5 monthly maintenance fee, this charge is waived with an eligible direct deposit.

  1. Nearside Business Checking 

Nearside is a quick-growing company specifically created for entrepreneurs and small business owners. They don’t require a minimum deposit to open an account, and there are no monthly maintenance fees. In addition to those perks, there are also no NSF fees, ACH transfer fees, or card replacement fees.

With their free cashback and rewards program and focus on business owners, Nearside is also a popular choice for gig workers, contractors, freelancers, and anyone else who works for themselves.

A grey cell phone sitting on a wooden table. On the cell screen is an App Store entry for Chase Mobile.
  1. Chase Secure Banking

The Chase Secure Banking options doesn’t do any credit or banking score check. A big pro of this account is that it is an account with a major banking institution – which means that there are plenty of branches to do your banking. There is a monthly maintenance fee of under $5, but this second chance checking account is free to open.

Chase also offers special bonuses, occasionally offering $100 to open an account! If you don’t need to open a second chance checking account immediately, it can be worth it to keep an eye out for one of these deals.

  1. Current 

Current is another option for those looking for an online-only bank that doesn’t go through ChexSystems or a credit report when users want to open a new account. 

Current doesn’t require a deposit to open an account, and there’s no minimum balance required to keep your account open. These perks make it a strong option for those low on funds who want an account.

Current also offers a unique service known as Gas Hold Removals, which can be especially important for those who regularly travel. Some gas stations may apply a hold on your cart of up to $100 when you use a credit card to pump gas, no matter how much you  spend. Sometimes it can take up to three days to get that hold back. With a Current card, they automatically refund that hold, so you have access to that money.

  1. SoFi

Sofi offers a checking and savings account that doesn’t require a minimum opening deposit and avoids account fees and overdraft fees – while also offering paper checks, which is not always a guarantee with digital accounts like this. 

SoFi also offers a feature called Vaults, which allows you to save money for specific purposes. This perk can be a major selling point for users preparing for a major expense or do better with saving when their funds are in individual “buckets.”

  1. Fresh Start Checking

Fresh Start Checking, run through Horizon Bank, is a second chance checking account with no opening deposit and a minimal monthly service fee of $5. Fresh Start Checking is a simple second chance checking account for those who aren’t looking for anything extra.

They offer options to link to a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay  and unlimited check writing. Fresh Start Checking also waives all Overdraft and NSF fees.

  1. Acorns Spends

 The popular investment app, Acorns recently introduced Acorn Spend Account.. An Acorns Spend Account is a checking account and an investment and retirement account. 

This account is best for those focusing on investment and savings. When you use your Acorns Spends card, your purchase is automatically rounded up to the nearest dollar and that money put away for investments.

There is no minimum cost to open an account, but  a small account upkeep fee of $3 a month.

  1. 1st Convenience Bank

The 1st Convenience Bank is all in the name – they’re about convenience. However, this bank  is only located in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. However, they offer a variety of different checking account options, including:

  • Power Checking
  • Checking Interest
  • President Select High Yield Checking
  • eAccount

There is a $12 monthly maintenance fee, but that only applies if a minimum daily balance is not kept up. All checking account options only require $1 to open. 

Other Inexpensive Second Chance Checking Accounts 

While all of the above options may be excellent picks for you and your financial needs, other low-cost second chance checking accounts are $10 or less to open. Sometimes these options can cost less in the long run or have a feature that is especially geared toward your finances.

Only you know the checking account you need for your economic health. That’s why it’s important to know all the options available to you. 

A person holds a cell phone. On the screen are the words LendingClub. There is a blue background, which also contains the word LendingClub

LendingClub Essential Checking ($10)

Formerly known as Radius Bank, LendingClub Essential Checking now offers an FDCI-insured account. This second chance checking account includes a free MasterCard debit card. 

One perk of this account type is the option to upgrade your account after 12 months of responsible banking. It does cost $10 to open an account, but there’s no minimum balance required to maintain it.

Aspiration ($10)

Aspiration is an environmentally and socially conscious company built to help you make more sustainable choices while making the most of your money. Aspiration pledges that deposits made through the company will not fund any fossil fuel exploration and that for every “round up” purchase made, they plant a tree.

There is a $10 opening deposit required. However, the monthly fee is different than most other banking options. Rather than having a flat rate, Aspiration works under a “pay what is fair” model. This model allows you to choose a monthly fee (as low as $0) that you believe is fair for your wallet and reflects the service. In the long run, this can make it a less expensive option than those with no opening fee.

What to Look for in a Second Chance Checking Account

People with less-than-perfect financial histories don’t have to settle for the first bank that will offer them a basic account. You shouldn’t have to take a second chance checking account that includes high fees and extra tight restrictions just because you haven’t done your research. When you are looking for a second chance banking account, take into consideration those that offer the following:

  • Low or no opening cost required
  • Low or no minimum balance required
  • Low or no monthly fee
  • Ability to write checks
  • Online banking options
  • Debit card access

Without these factors listed above, you may end up in an account that further hurts your finances. You must thoroughly vet any second chance checking account you’re considering, just as we’ve done for the above options.

Is a Second Chance Checking Account Right for You?

There are other options for those who cannot open a traditional checking account. These options include prepaid cards or payday loans. However, payday lender loans and cards often have a variety of hidden fees, even for payments made on time. Prepaid cards may work in the short term, but they will not help your overall financial wellness.

The ease and convenience of a second chance checking account show that it’s often a superior option for those who have been denied a traditional checking account based on past banking mistakes. Second chance checking accounts ensure bounced checks or unpaid overdrafts do not have to haunt you forever.

For some users, a second chance checking account can offer you another opportunity for banking. In many cases, you can open a second chance checking account with no opening deposit as early as today.

Related: Instant Bank Account with Virtual Debit Card