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Best of

Best Secured Credit Cards with Low Deposit Requirements – March 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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Secured credit cards are used as a tool to build credit history from scratch or put positive information on a credit report after negative incidents such as bankruptcy, missed debt payments or accounts in collections. By feeding positive information into a credit report, you can improve a credit score, which is essential for getting the best financial products on the market.

In order to be eligible for a secured credit card, you must provide a minimum deposit. This deposit typically serves as your line of available credit, but in some cases your line of credit may be higher. Plenty of secured cards require rather hefty minimum deposits of $300 or more, which may be prohibitive for many Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Fortunately, alternatives to the high deposits exist. We’ve pulled together a list of the best secured cards that require a deposit and/or credit union membership fee of $200 or less.

$200 minimum deposit: Discover it® Secured

Discover it® Secured The Discover it® Secured has a minimum deposit of $200. This is our favorite secured credit card for a number of reasons including: no annual fee, the ability to earn cash back, and our favorite feature — automatic monthly reviews of your account that start at month eight. However, the one downfall of this card is the high ongoing APR, but you should always pay your bill on time and in full so you avoid interest charges.

Here are the benefits of the Discover it® Secured in more detail:

Automatic monthly reviews starting at month 8: Discover will start automatic monthly reviews of your account at month 8. If you qualify, you could be transitioned to an account with no security deposit. Even better, you could potentially be eligible for a bigger credit limit. This feature really sets Discover apart from the competition – and your goal should be to get back your deposit as quickly as possible through responsible credit behavior.

No annual fee: There is a $0 annual fee for this card.

Bankruptcy? No problem: If you have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past, you can still qualify for this card. It is a great way for people to rehabilitate their credit.

Earn cash back: Most secured credit cards do not offer any rewards. With the Discover it® Secured, you have the opportunity to earn cash back while earning rewards. You can earn 2% at restaurants and gas stations (on up to $1,000 of spend each quarter). Plus, get 1% cash back on all your other purchases. Earning cash back is not the primary reason to select a secured credit card, but it is a nice option to have available.

Free FICO® Credit Score: Discover will provide you with a copy of your official FICO® credit score. A good step in proper credit behavior is to monitor your score each month.

Read our review for more information on the Discover it® Secured.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Discover will automatically review your account starting at month eight to see if you can be transitioned to a card without a security deposit. If you qualify, you can receive an unsecured card and your security deposit will be refunded. Note that the reviews are based on various factors, including responsible credit management across all of your credit cards and loans.

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Rates & Fees

$49, $99, or $200 minimum deposit: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

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Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$49, $99, or $200
Regular Purchase APR
26.99% (Variable)

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® offers a minimum deposit as low as $49, depending on credit worthiness. If you don’t receive the $49 minimum deposit, you may receive a deposit of $99 or $200. This may be a good option if you don’t have $200 to deposit, just remember that the $49 deposit is not guaranteed. If approved for the card, once you make your minimum required security deposit, you will receive a credit line of $200.How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Capital One has a new feature where they will automatically review your account for on time payments and will inform you if you’re eligible for an upgrade. If eligible, you will be refunded your security deposit and will receive an unsecured card. The catch is that there is no time frame for when your account will be reviewed. Capital One said that it depends on various credit activities.

$200 minimum deposit: Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Citi® Secured MasterCard®

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Citi® Secured MasterCard®

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$200
Regular Purchase APR
24.74%* (Variable)

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no frills secured credit card. There is a $0 annual fee and a $200 minimum deposit requirement, like most cards on this list. Unfortunately, there are no rewards associated with this card — however that’s typical for a secured card. When coupled with responsible credit behavior, this card can help you build credit and work your way to an unsecured card.How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Citi will hold your security deposit in a Collateral Holding Account for 18 months. Prior to the 18-month term ending, Citi will send you a notification in the mail informing you if you will be transitioned to an unsecured card. If transitioned, you will receive an unsecured card and your deposit back. If not, you will still have your secured card. The status of your account at the end of the 18-month term and whether you get back your deposit depends on your account history and other credit factors.

$100 minimum deposit: Visa Classic Secured by Justice FCU

Visa Classic Secured Card from Justice FCU

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Visa Classic Secured Card from Justice FCU

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$100
Regular Purchase APR
16.90% Variable

You can join Justice FCU if you are an employee, retiree, or family member of the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, United States Courts or another qualifying group. If that doesn’t apply, don’t fret. Anyone can join JFCU by first becoming a member of an eligible JFCU association like the National Sheriff’s Association, charges a $41 membership fee for auxiliary or student members. It only costs $5 for eligible individuals to join JFCU, so that would raise the total cost of membership to $46. Credit limits range from $100 to 110% of pledged shares.

Note: Justice FCU makes it hard to find the Visa Classic Secured card on their site. When you’re on their credit cards webpage, scroll to the bottom then click on the ‘Apply Now’ directly below the VISA Classic card. That will take you to a new page where you need to click ‘Apply Online’ to land on a general application page. From there select ‘Credit Card’ and the ‘VISA Classic Secured’ will be displayed. You can call customer service to obtain more information on the card.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Justice FCU doesn’t provide automatic reviews of your account or a simple way to transition to an unsecured card — you need to initiate the upgrade to an unsecured card. To do this, apply for one of their unsecured credit cards. Then, upon approval, your secured card will automatically be cancelled and you will receive your security deposit back. Note that your approval for an unsecured card depends on your creditworthiness.

Best Strategy for Rebuilding Credit

The strategy for building a strong credit score with a secured card is simple. Make one small purchase each month ($10 or less), wait for your statement to come in, pay your bill on time and in full and then repeat the next month. By making just small purchases, you’ll be using a very low amount of your overall credit limit (also called utilization), which helps drive your credit score up faster because it shows you’re responsible.

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score and Credit Report

Once you’re in the process of building or rebuilding your credit, it helps to have a benchmark. The easiest way will be to establish a profile with one of the free credit score websites: Credit Sesame, Quizzle, Credit Karma. Do a monthly check in with your credit score to see how it’s improving.

In addition, you should also keep tabs on your credit report by downloading the report from each of the three bureaus. By law, you’re entitled to one free report from each bureau per year. You can download them all at once or space them out throughout the year. Go to annualcreditreport.com to download your free reports. Monitoring your reports will ensure all the information there is accurate and alert you about anything that may be damaging to your score, like an item in collections or reported missed payments.

A Word to the Wise

Never carry a balance on your secured card. The point of a secured card is to be building (or rebuilding) your credit history. Make one small purchase a month and pay it off on time and in full. Follow those two steps and you’ll see your credit score start to raise quickly.

Find other secured card options on our secured card comparison table.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Best of

The Best Health Savings Accounts in 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

So, you need to choose a health savings account (HSA) to go along with your new health insurance plan. There are plenty of options out there, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The best savings accounts help you save money with high interest rates and low fees—your HSA should be no different. With a high-yielding HSA, you can cover your out-of-pocket medical expenses and boost your savings at the same time.

We’ve taken the work out of finding the best health savings accounts on the market. Using data from DepositAccounts.com (similar to MagnifyMoney, a LendingTree-owned company) we scoured more than 17,100 nationwide banks and credit unions to find the highest health savings account rates available. To ensure quality and availability, we excluded institutions with a DepositAccounts health rating below a B and credit unions with restrictive membership requirements.

Health savings account deposits at all of the institutions listed below are insured by the FDIC or NCUA.

The 10 best health savings accounts in 2019

Institution
APYMinimum balance to earn APY
Great Lakes Credit Union2.00%$100
Connexus Credit Union
2.00%$15,000
Evansville Teachers FCU1.86%$500
Interior FCU1.61%$25,000
Summit Credit Union1.15%$10,000
First Technology FCU1.00%$0.01
The Adirondack Trust Company1.00%$1
Lake Michigan Credit Union1.00%$5,000
Elements Financial1.00%$10,000
Matadors Community Credit Union0.75%$5,000

Great Lakes Credit Union: 2.00% APY, $100 minimum deposit

Great Lakes Credit Union offers the highest health savings account rate on balances from $100 to $2,000. Balances over $2,000 will still earn interest, but at a slightly lower rate (more comparable to rates lower on this list).

You will need to meet a few requirements in order to earn interest on a GLCU HSA. For one, you need to receive a monthly direct deposit of at least $500. You’ll also need to make at least 15 signature-based debit card purchases totaling at least $150. Finally, you must also enroll in eStatements and be active with GLCU’s online Bill Pay or Mobile Banking features.

The account does not charge a monthly fee.

Great Lakes Credit Union was founded in 1938 and now maintains 11 branches in Illinois; however, you can also take advantage of CO-OP Shared Branches and surcharge-free ATMs. To become a GLCU member, you’ll just need to open a Share Savings Account and fund it with at least $5.

Connexus Credit Union: 2.00% APY, $15,000 minimum deposit

Connexus Credit Union also offers a high health savings account rate, but you’ll need at least $15,000 in your account to earn at that rate. Still, you can earn at decent rates on all other balances larger than $100, with higher balances benefiting best. The account doesn’t require a minimum balance or charge a monthly fee. You can request an HSA debit card when you open your account for use at Connexus ATMs.

You can find Connexus branches and ATMs in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and New Hampshire. Connexus is also part of the CO-OP Shared Branch network, which gives you access to more than 5,600 Shared Branches and more than 54,000 surcharge-free ATMs through both CO-OP and MoneyPass. To open an account with the credit union, you’ll need to become a Connexus Credit Union member.

Evansville Teachers FCU: 1.86% APY, $500 minimum deposit

Evansville Teachers FCU’s Health Savings Checking account earns at a great interest rate on all balances of $500 and over. Plus, there’s no maintenance fees. You’ll need at least $25 to open the account. You can also benefit from check writing abilities, debit card access and payroll deductions with an ETFCU HSA.

ETFCU also offers five HSA share certificates with term lengths ranging between one to five years. Each require $1,000 to open and earn at competitive interest rates. However, ETFCU doesn’t recommend you use HSA share certificates unless you’ve had an health savings account established for a while, since locking money in share certificates make it much harder to to dip into your funds.

You can find Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union locations in Indiana and Kentucky. The credit union is also a member of the Alliance One ATM network, which offers fee-free access to about 5,000 ATMs. ETFCU was started by several teachers in Evansville, Ind. in 1936 — but you don’t have to be a teacher to qualify for ETFCU membership, though.

Interior FCU: 1.61% APY, $25,000 minimum deposit

Interior Federal Credit Union’s health savings account earns its great interest rate on balances of $25,000 and over. All other balances earn at lower interest rates, with balances of $5,000 and over benefiting the most. The account doesn’t require a minimum opening deposit, nor does it charge a monthly fee.

The Interior FCU Health Savings Account includes an HSA Visa debit card, which you can use for your medical purchases and at over 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs worldwide, including those at Walgreens, 7/11 and WaWa. Interior FCU has only two branches, one in Washington D.C. and one in Reston, Va. However, you’ll also have access to 5,600 Shared Branches/Service Centers in the country through the CO-OP network.

Interior FCU has been around since 1935. To open an HSA with the credit union, you’ll first need to be a member with a Primary Savings account. You can be eligible for an Interior FCU membership in a number of ways, often depending on your place of employment.

Summit Credit Union: 1.15% APY, $10,000 minimum deposit

You’ll need at least $10,000 in your Summit Credit Union Health Savings Account to earn at the most competitive health savings account rate. All other balances still earn interest, but the lower the balance, the lower the rate. Luckily, there’s no minimum deposit requirement, nor is there a pesky monthly fee. The Summit HSA comes with a free debit card, which you can use at Summit, Cirrus and Nyce ATMs.

Summit Credit Union was founded as CUNA Credit Union in 1935 in Madison, Wis.; you can find the credit unions branches throughout southern Wisconsin. Notably, unlike many credit unions, Summit Credit Union has an open charter, which opens up membership to anyone. You’ll need to open Primary Savings account with $5 to become a member.

First Technology FCU: 1.00% APY, $0.01 minimum deposit

First Technology Federal Credit Union’s HSA Checking account is easy to open and own. In addition to its decent rate, it doesn’t charge setup or monthly service fees on its health savings account, nor are there any minimum balance requirements. You just need at least $0.01 to open the account and to start earning interest. To open this HSA, you can call First Technology FCU at 855-855-8805.

You’ll receive a free HSA debit card with the account, which you can use at over 30,000 CO-OP ATMs. You can also visit over 40 First Tech branches and access more than 5,000 CO-OP Shared Branch locations.

You can qualify for a First Tech membership depending on your employment or residence. First Technology Credit Union was founded in 1952 by members of Hewlett-Packard and Tektronix. You can find First Tech branches, known as Experience Centers, in California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Texas and Washington.

The Adirondack Trust Company: 1.00% APY, $1 minimum deposit

To get started with an Adirondack Trust Company Health Savings Account, you’ll only need to deposit $1 — after that, there’s no other minimum balance requirement to earn interest. To access your health savings account, you can take advantage of free unlimited check writing and free ATM access with your ATC HSA Visa debit card. Getting paper statements on this account will cost $4, while using online banking will still cost you $2.

Founded in 1901 in upstate Saratoga Springs, N.Y., ATC maintains 13 branches along the Adirondack Mountains area and offers access to two Amsure branches in Saratoga Springs and Albany, N.Y.

Lake Michigan Credit Union: 1.00% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit

While you’ll only need $5 to open a Lake Michigan Credit Union, you’ll need at least $5,000 in your health savings account to earn at the listed APY; balances below $5,000 will have a much lower rate. The account doesn’t charge a monthly service fee and comes with a free debit card. You can use this debit card to pay for your medical costs and withdraw cash at any LMCU branch. You can also access your LMCU HSA funds through unlimited check writing and online banking.

Founded in 1933, Lake Michigan Credit Union offers open and free membership. As you might expect, you can find LMCU branches in Michigan, but there are also several branches in Florida. Plus, in addition to LMCU ATMs, you can also take advantage of over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs.

Elements Financial: 1.00% APY, $10,000 minimum deposit

You can benefit the most from Elements Financial’s health savings account if you have $10,000 available to set aside for future medical expenses; lower balances (of $100 and over) still earn interest, but at lower rates. The account does charge a $4 monthly fee, but you can avoid it by averaging a daily balance of at least $2,500.

The account includes a free Visa debit card, which you can use for purchases and to access your funds with over 78,000 ATMs worldwide through the Allpoint, CO-OP and Alliance One networks. In addition to these ATMs, you can visit Elements Financial branches and over 5,000 CO-OP Shared Branches in all 50 states and 50 countries.

Elements Financial is a credit union that requires membership before you open an account. Founded in 1930, it currently serves employees from over 135 companies in the U.S. If your company is an Elements partner, you can open a checking or savings account or complete an application for a loan or credit card to start the application process.

Matadors Community Credit Union: 0.75% APY, $5,000 minimum deposit

The health savings account from Matadors Community Credit Union requires a minimum opening deposit of $100, but you’ll need at least $5,000 to earn the highest rate tier on the account — you’ll still earn interest with balances of $100 and over, just at lower rates. There’s also a $3 monthly fee on the account.

In addition to a free MasterMoney Debit Card, you’ll also have use of unlimited check writing abilities to use your HSA money. You can use your debit card to make your medical purchases, and at Matadors Community CU and 30,000 fee-free CO-OP ATMs. You can also visit two Matador branches in Chatsworth and Northridge, Calif. or over 5,000 CO-OP Shared Branches. MCCU offers membership to employees of partner employer groups in the San Fernando, Simi and Santa Clarita Valleys of California.

How to use your HSA wisely

Health savings accounts are used only for medical expenses, and if you shop around you can earn interest on your balances with the right account. But did you know HSAs offer tax benefits, too? You fund an HSA with pre-tax dollars, which lowers your taxable income in the year you make the deposit. As long as you spend HSA funds on approved medical expenses, it doesn’t get taxed. If you do use your HSA funds for something other than approved medical expenses, you may get hit with a 20% tax penalty.

This HSA tax advantage can come in especially handy in retirement. Funding an HSA today reduces your tax burden come tax time. If you wait until retirement to make those withdrawals, you can turn your HSA into a significant retirement contribution. Not only has the balance been earning interest for years, but now you can use that money for medical expenses, which tend to pile up in retirement. Plus, after you reach age 65, you can use your HSA for non-medical expenses without triggering the 20% tax penalty, although the withdrawals are taxed like normal income, similarly to IRA withdrawals. This also applies in the event you become disabled or die.

HSA requirements

You can generally open a health savings account if you’re already covered by a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). This works well since the HSA funds can help you cover the higher out-of-pocket costs that usually come with having an HDHP. To qualify for an HSA, you also can’t have other health coverage, be enrolled in Medicare or be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

HSA contribution limits

As set by the IRS, the amount you can contribute to your health savings account will depend on your HDHP coverage, your age, the date you become eligible and the date you stop being eligible. For 2018, if you had self-only HDHP coverage, you can contribute up to $3,450 to your HSA. If you had family HDHP coverage, you can contribute up to $6,900.

For 2019, the contribution limits for self-only HDHP coverage is $3,500 and $7,000 for family HDHP coverage.

For tax year 2018, you can make HSA contributions until April 15, 2019. Even if you weren’t eligible in 2018, you can still make HSA contributions until that date for the months you were eligible. If you have an employer contributing to your HSA, they can do so from Jan. 1, 2019 to April 15, 2019. They just have to notify you and the account trustee that the contributions are allocated for 2018.

HSA vs. FSA

A flexible spending account, or FSA, is another type of supplemental medical spending account. Like a health savings account, FSAs are also funded with pre-tax dollars to use towards qualified medical expenses like prescriptions and copayments. FSAs are employer-sponsored, however, and are usually funded through voluntary salary contributions, but your employer can also contribute. You cannot open an FSA if you’re self-employed. No taxes are deducted from your contribution. For 2018, you cannot contribute more than $2,650 to an FSA.

What further sets FSAs apart from HSAs is that you must use the money in an FSA by Dec. 31 of the contribution year, unless you’re granted a grace period or a $500 carryover option by your employer. A big drawback to FSAs is that if you don’t use the money in the account on time, your employer gets those funds. This is also true if you were to leave the company. To the opposite, the funds in an HSA are yours to keep even if you leave your company.

Health savings account vs. online savings accounts

While health savings accounts help you designate funds toward medical expenses, most HSAs don’t earn at the competitive rates we’ve come to see from online savings accounts. A $10,000 deposit into a health savings earning 2% APY would yield $200 after a year of annual compounding interest. This doesn’t fall too far behind some of the best online savings accounts. A savings account earning 2.45% would yield only $45 more than the HSA after a year.

Still, you’ll find plenty more high-yield options to really boost your savings by looking at online savings accounts, and not just for medical expenses. Plus, you typically don’t have to meet any requirements to open a savings account, like having an HDHP or meeting credit union membership qualifications.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lauren Perez
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Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Best of, Reviews

The Top 7 Second Chance Bank Accounts

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Some banks don’t like giving second chances to customers who have less-than-stellar financial histories, especially since it could expose them to expensive risks. A record of bounced checks or debit card overdrafts could easily lock you out of the conveniences of modern banking.

Fortunately, banks also like making money, and some offer special “second chance” accounts that minimize their risk while allowing consumers to stay in the banking system. A second chance bank account gives customers with troubled records a fresh opportunity to demonstrate they can bank responsibly.

When it comes to a second chance account, fees are an unfortunate reality. But some accounts offer customers a better deal than others, and we’ve researched our database to find the second chance accounts with the most reasonable fee structures, while also factoring in whether they provide online and mobile banking, and how accessible accounts are throughout the country.

Second chance account basics

With a second chance bank account, customers shut out of traditional bank accounts get the opportunity to win their way back into a bank’s good graces. Similar to credit bureaus, financial services company ChexSystems maintains records of consumers’ banking histories. Bounced checks, overdrawn accounts or instances of fraud can all end up on your ChexSystems record; if you accumulate enough black marks on ChexSystems, banks could deny your application to open a new account.

Because second chance accounts are meant for customers who have demonstrated bad banking behavior, some lack features of traditional accounts, such as overdraft protection. In the eyes of the bank, you represent too much of a risk for them to extend you such courtesies.

Nobody likes paying fees, and we generally advise consumers to avoid needless banking fees due to the many fee-free banking options available. But fees are the price you pay for access to banking when you have a poor record. Plus, the second chance accounts listed below give you access to online and mobile banking, which is always a plus.

The 7 best second chance bank accounts

1. Tie between BBVA Compass ClearConnect Checking and BBVA ClearChoice Free Checking

BBVA Compass

Regional bank BBVA’s Compass ClearChoice Free Checking product is available as a second chance bank account. Keep in mind that it’s only available to residents of the states where BBVA maintains physical branches: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas. But if you don’t live in those states, you can still avail yourself of BBVA’s Compass ClearConnect Checking account (unless you live in Alaska and Hawaii, in which case you are out of luck).

ClearChoice Free Checking features:

  • Free online and mobile banking, free customized alerts, free online and paper statements, and a free debit card (with option to personalize)
  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • No monthly service charge to worry about

Fees to watch out for:

  • BBVA ATMs are free, otherwise a $3 fee will apply
  • $38 insufficient funds fee ($32 in California)
  • $15 deposit item returned fee
  • $32 stop payment fee made over the phone or in person ($30 in California); $25 if made online
  • No fee for closing your account within 180 days of opening

You can get a full list of Compass ClearChoice fees for each state here.

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on BBVA Compass’s secure website

Member FDIC

ClearConnect Checking features:

  • Free online and mobile banking
  • Minimum deposit of $25 needed to open the account
  • No monthly service charge

Fees to watch out for:

  • No fees for using any of the 55,000 BBVA and Allpoint ATMs, but for ATMs outside the network a $3 fee applies
  • $38 insufficient funds fee ($32 in California)
  • $15 deposit item returned fee
  • $32 stop-request fee when made over the phone or in person at a branch ($30 in California); a $25 fee to make the stop-request online
  • $25 account close fee if made within 180 days of opening

You can get a full list of Compass ClearConnect fees broken down by state here.

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on BBVA Compass’s secure website

Member FDIC

2. Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts

Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo’s Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts are tailor-made for folks with a lackluster credit or banking history. With a $25 opening deposit, you’ll get access to a second chance bank account that offers most of the bells and whistles of a traditional bank account. The account does come with a monthly fee, although it’s possible to waive it if you meet a few requirements (see below).

Account features:

  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • Free transfers are available between Opportunity Checking and Savings accounts
  • You can choose to opt into overdraft protection
  • Free access to bill pay
  • “My Spending Report with Budget Watch” is available if you want to pay extra attention to where your money is going
  • Free debit card with access to more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs throughout the country

Fees to watch out for:

  • $10 monthly service fee, waived if any of the following are true:
    • You make 10 posted debit card purchases or payments
    • You keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500 in the account
    • You receive $500 total in direct deposits each statement cycle
  • $35 overdraft and returned item fee
  • $12.50 overdraft protection transfer fee
  • $15 fee for excess activity (exceeding withdrawals from your savings account)
  • 3% foreign transaction fee with your debit card
  • $5 for money orders
  • $31 for stop payments

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Member FDIC

3. Woodforest National Bank Second Chance Checking

Woodforest National Bank

This regional bank has a checking account aptly named Second Chance Checking, to help people rejected by other banks access — provided they live in one of the 17 states where a physical branch exists and can meet the $25 minimum opening deposit requirement. Those states are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9.95 monthly maintenance fee if you use a direct deposit (or $11.95 without a direct deposit), $3.00 monthly paper statement fee (which can be avoided if you sign up for electronic statements)
  • $9 one-time account set-up fee
  • $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee when used at a non-Woodforest network ATM
  • $15 debit card set-up fee
  • $29 overdraft fee (for each charge)

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on Woodforest National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

4. First National Bank and Trust Company Renew Checking

First National Bank and Trust Company (WI)

First National Bank and Trust Company’s second chance bank account offering is called Renew Checking. You’re eligible for a new account if you live near the bank’s Beloit, Wisc. headquarters, in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Account Features:

  • No monthly minimum balance
  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • Free online and mobile banking, bill pay, and e-statements
  • Access to 70,000 no-fee ATMs worldwide through Allpoint and MoneyPass
  • Eligible to upgrade account after twelve months in good standing

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9.95 monthly service fee, or $7.95 with direct deposit
  • $30 early account closure fee (if closed within 90 days of opening)
  • $34.50 overdraft fee
  • $34.50 insufficient funds fee
  • $34.50 stop payment fee

The fee schedule for personal accounts at First National Bank and Trust Company is here.

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on First National Bank And Trust Company (WI)’s secure website

Member FDIC

5. Peoples Bank Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking

Peoples Bank Cash Solutions

This Texas-based bank offers a second chance bank account that is available nationwide, and so long as you don’t have a record of bank or checking fraud on your record, you should be approved for this account. You’ll need to deposit at least $30 before the bank activates your account and provides you with checks and a debit card.

Fees to watch out for:

  • $4.95 monthly maintenance fee
  • $27.50 overdraft fee
  • $27.50 nonsufficient funds fee
  • $3.95 printed statement fee (which can be avoided with electronic statements)
  • $2.00 ATM withdrawal fee at machines not owned by Peoples Bank
  • $25 stop payment fee
  • $20 account closure fee (if within 90 days of opening account)

LEARN MORE Secured

on Peoples Bank Cash Solutions’s secure website

Member FDIC

6. Radius Essential Checking

Radius Bank

Products from online bank Radius are available to customers nationwide, and accessibility is a strong point in its favor. This second chance bank account only requires customers to deposit $10 to open an Essential Checking account, which is lower than some other accounts on this list.

Account Features:

  • A free debit card
  • 24/7 mobile and online banking
  • Access to Radius’s budgeting and personal finance tracking apps
  • Eligibility to upgrade to Radius’s Reward Checking account after 12 months of positive banking history

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9 monthly maintenance fee
  • $25 per item non-sufficient funds fee (waived on all overdraft items $5 or less)
  • $5 daily overdraft fee

LEARN MORE Secured

on Radius Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Alternatives to a second chance bank account

Get a prepaid debit card

Tired of the traditional banking experience? You could opt for a prepaid debit card instead. With a prepaid card, you can load money onto it and spend at merchants that accept major credit and debit cards. But if you try and spend more money than what’s on the card, the transaction is declined — although this prevents you from accruing any overdraft or insufficient funds fees. This is useful if you feel you may still have trouble managing your spending and need an extra layer of security to prevent you from getting into trouble.

Some prepaid cards offer extra perks like advance direct deposit and free ATMs so long as you stay in their network.

Open a secured credit card

You may also have better luck applying for a secured credit card if your credit score is in good enough shape. Usually, this requires depositing cash with the lender, who then gives you the credit card for the same amount. Each month that you make on-time payments, the bank will report that good behavior to the credit bureaus, helping you boost your credit score. At the end of the payment period (generally 12 months, though it varies by banks), you’ll get the full deposit back.

Secured cards can come with high interest rates and many don’t feature the enticing rewards other high-end cards do, but they get the basic job done for consumers who don’t need a card with a high credit limit.

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Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

James Ellis
James Ellis |

James Ellis is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email James here

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