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Netspend Review: Lots of Fees, But You May Get Access to Your Paycheck Early

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

If you’re in a position where you don’t have access to traditional banking, you may consider getting a prepaid card to manage your finances. It’s important to go into this decision with your eyes wide open: prepaid cards typically come with onerous fees that can eat into your already strained cash reserves.

Traditional checking accounts are almost always a better financial choice. But if you are unable to qualify for a bank account due to a poor banking history, you may not have that option. In that case, prepaid debit cards can be a helpful tool. Just be sure you’re aware of the fees before signing up.

We have already reviewed the RushCard. Today, we’ll look at NetSpend, another large prepaid debit card issuer in the U.S. We’ll walk you through how it works, what fees to look out for, and how to avoid those fees when possible.

Everything You Need to Know about NetSpend

NetSpend comes with three tiers of membership. The lowest is Pay-As-You-Go and comes with no monthly fee. You will be automatically put on this plan unless you call NetSpend to request an upgrade to their FeeAdvantage Plan.

This second plan tier, the FeeAdvantage Plan, comes with a $9.95 monthly fee. But the plan allows you to dodge other transactional fees that you would incur under the Pay-As-You-Go Plan.

The third tier, Premier FeeAdvantage Plan, requires larger direct deposit commitments. If you are enrolled in the second-tier FeeAdvantage Plan and have a direct deposit of $500 per month, you will be automatically upgraded to the NetSpend Premier FeeAdvantage Plan. This plan lowers transactional fees even further and only costs $5 per month. If you are at the first-tier Pay-As-You-Go level, you will have to call to request to be moved to the Premier tier when your direct deposit reaches $500 per month.

Here’s what it will cost you to do business under each of these tiers:

Direct deposit fees

There is no fee for direct deposit under any of the three plans. This is one of the best ways to load money onto your card.

Depositing and withdrawing funds

You can deposit and withdraw money at select NetSpend Reload Network locations. Fees vary by location, so if more than one reload location is accessible to you, it’s best to shop around. While all locations allow you to deposit money, not all of them will allow you to withdraw.

You can also withdraw money from financial institutions. If it is a Visa member financial institution, you will only have to pay a $2.50 fee for this service. If it is not, you will have to pay the $2.50 plus any fees the financial institution charges.

Loading funds onto the card

netspend

It’s easy to deposit checks through your NetSpend mobile app, but it will cost you. This process is managed by a service called Ingo Money, which carries heavy fees. If you are depositing a check that has a pre-printed signature, like a payroll check, you will pay the greater of $5 or 1% of the check’s value. If you are depositing any other check, you will pay the greater of $5 or 4% of the check’s value.

The only way to waive these fees is to agree to a longer processing time, by which you’ll receive your funds after 10 days.

You can add money onto your card via PayPal with zero fees.

When you deposit money, the most you can load via cash at any given time is $7,500 per day. The maximum you can load in a 30-day period is $15,000. Fifteen thousand dollars is also the maximum you can have on your card at any given time, though exceptions are sometimes made if your direct deposit makes it difficult to stick to that ceiling.

ATMs

When you withdraw money from an ATM in the U.S., you’ll incur a $2.50 fee in addition to any fees the ATM operator charges.

All foreign transactions are charged a 3.5% fee per transaction. If you’re withdrawing money from an ATM outside of the U.S, you’ll be charged $4.95 instead of $2.50. If your transaction is denied, you’ll be charged $1, whether you’re at home or abroad.

Debit purchases

This fee applies to people using the first-tier Pay-As-You-Go Plan.

If you make a debit purchase with your NetSpend card, you will pay a $2 fee for each transaction. If you use it as credit, your fee will only be $1. If you have a FeeAdvantage Plan or NetSpend Premier FeeAdvantage Plan, these fees are waived.

Checking balances

You may end up paying a fee when you want to check your balance. If you check online, via text or email, there aren’t any fees aside from any that your cell provider may have for the text. When you check your balance at an ATM or over the phone, however, you will have to pay a $0.50 fee each time.

The fee for checking over the phone is waived if you’re a NetSpend Premier FeeAdvantage member. You will still have to pay when using a live customer service representative or an ATM.

Transferring funds

netspend-transfers

Your best option is to transfer funds between two NetSpend accounts through the website, which is free. Avoid calling customer service for help with transfers at all cost. If you call and complete the transfer with help from a NetSpend customer service representative, NetSpend will charge $4.95 per transfer.

You can also transfer money onto your NetSpend card from another financial institution. NetSpend does not charge a fee for this, but your financial institution might. Check before making any transfers.

Bill pay

It’s free to pay bills with your NetSpend prepaid debit card as long as you choose to use one of the no-cost, third-party service providers available in your online Account Center.

But if your payment is denied, you will be charged a $1 fee. Furthermore, if you decide to stop using ACH payments from your NetSpend card to pay bills, NetSpend will charge you a $10 cancellation fee for each bill.

Adding a new user

Sharing a NetSpend account with someone else will cost you. If you want to order a secondary card for an additional user, you will have to pay $9.95. If either of you needs to have your card replaced, you will be charged an additional $9.95 per card.

Standard shipping for replacement cards takes 7-10 days and is free. But if you need your card in a hurry, you can pay $20 to have it delivered in 3 business days or $25 to get it in 1-2 business days.

Other fees

If your account has been inactive for 90+ days, you will be charged a $5.95 account maintenance fee every month.

Rewards

NetSpend has a cashback reward program setup that works with rotating merchants. When you use your card to shop with a featured merchant, you can earn cash back. You must register for each individual merchant offer in order to take advantage of this program.

If you refer a friend, NetSpend will give both of you $20 each after your friend has loaded $40 onto their card.

On top of offering budgeting tools, NetSpend also offers an FDIC-insured high-yield savings account. If your balance is $1,000 or less, you can currently earn a variable 5% APY. This is extremely high, although it’s worth reiterating that the rate is variable. Balances above $1,000 only earn 0.50% APY.

How to Set Up Your Card

You can open an account online, providing your name, address, and date of birth. NetSpend can also ask to see your driver’s license or another form of ID, so be sure to have these ready along with a way to upload photos of each. If you want to add a second cardholder to your account, you will need this information for them as well.

After you have successfully applied, you will need to activate and register your card before using it. To activate it, you’ll either need to call in or log in online. Then, they’ll ask you to verify your personal information in order to register.

You will be able to use your card anywhere Visa is accepted and to transfer money to other NetSpend members.

The Fine Print

While we’ve covered the fees, there is some more information you should know before opening an account with NetSpend.

Direct Deposit

With NetSpend, you can potentially get your paycheck a full two days before payday. When this works, it’s because your employer sent the information to NetSpend early and has approved the action. If your employer does not send your pay information early or does not approve of early distribution of funds, you will not be able to take advantage of this perk.

Maximum Transaction and Balance Limits

One-time ATM withdrawals are capped at $325. You can make up to six ATM withdrawals per day, with a total cap of $940. There may be even stricter limits imposed by the ATM owner.

If you are withdrawing money from a financial institution or NetSpend Reload Network location, the maximum you can withdraw is $5,000. This same limit applies to purchases.

Holding Funds

There are some situations where a merchant will request to hold funds. For instance, if you pay at the pump at the gas station, they can hold up to $100 until your final purchase goes through. If you are staying at a hotel or getting a rental car, the business may place a hold on your card up to 20% higher than the actual purchase price to account for any extra tips or damage charges you could potentially incur. This hold can last up to 30 days, meaning you won’t have access to that money until the hold is up.

Avoiding Fees

While the interest rate on NetSpend’s savings account is impressive, the fees on its prepaid card are numerous. Here are ways to avoid some of those fees:

  • Fees for reloading your card in person. Whether you go to a financial institution or a NetSpend Reload Network location, you’re going to incur fees. You can avoid these by staying as digital as possible, loading your card instead via direct deposit or PayPal.
  • Fees for mobile deposit of checks. The fees imposed by Ingo Money can eat away at your paycheck quickly. If at all possible, set up direct deposit so you don’t have to mess with paper checks, or be sure you can wait a full 10 days before having access to those funds.
  • Fees for transferring money between accounts. If you choose to transfer money to another NetSpend user via a customer service representative, you will incur a $4.95 fee. Avoid this fee by doing the transfer online.
  • ATM fees. NetSpend suggests avoiding ATM fees by asking for cash back when you’re making a purchase at a retailer. If this is possible for you, it could save you some money.
  • POS fees. When you make a point-of-sale purchase, you will be charged $1 to run the purchase as credit or $2 to run it as debit if you are on the Pay-As-You-Go Plan. This is not ideal, but upgrading to a plan where these fees are waived will cost you either $5 or $9.95 per month. Most people will make enough individual purchases to make upgrading worth it, but run your own numbers before making the switch.
  • Balance inquiry fees. To avoid these fees, make a habit of checking your balance exclusively online.
  • Foreign transaction fees. You can avoid these fees by only using your card domestically.
  • ACH fees. Unfortunately, making automatic bill payments with your NetSpend card will eventually cost you money if you ever have to stop the automatic payment. You’ll have to pay $10, but you can avoid this fee by manually paying all of your bills.
  • Fee for account inactivity. If you want to avoid a $5.95 fee, don’t let your account stay inactive for 90+ days.

Pros & Cons

Pro: NetSpend’s savings account has an incredibly high interest rate of 5% APY.

Con: That 5% APY rate only applies to a balance of up to $1,000, which is likely not even enough for a sufficient emergency fund. After that, rates drop to a modest 0.50% APY.

Pro: You can earn money for referring friends.

Con: You’ll be referring them to a prepaid card laden with fees. NetSpend is not alone; most prepaid cards come with a lengthy fee schedule. It may be more considerate to recommend a traditional checking account to your friend if they can get one.

Pro: Unlike many prepaid cards, NetSpend has a rewards program that can equate to cash back.

Con: You are rewarded for shopping with certain merchants, so you won’t earn cash back on every purchase. If this is your goal, there are plenty of credit cards that offer rewards regardless of what you’re purchasing where.

Pro: The maximum balance limit of $15,000 is decently high in the world of prepaid cards.

Con: This may not be the best card for big purchases, especially if you’re north of the $5,000 mark.

When to Transition Away from Prepaid Cards

While the 5% APY interest rate on NetSpend’s savings account is advantageous, the advantage only lasts until you hit the $1,000 mark. At most, you can earn $5 per month this way, and with all of its fees, NetSpend could potentially cost you more than your savings account would be earning.

If you can get a traditional checking account with low or no fees, it is likely to be better for you financially. That being said, there are a couple of reasons you may not be able to access one.

The first is if you have a poor banking history. If this is the case, don’t give up. Negative hits on your ChexSystems report, the reporting agency for checking a savings account, last a maximum of seven years, though most items are dropped after five. Use those years to demonstrate good behavior so that when the negative information falls off of your report, you’ll be ready for your traditional checking account.

If you don’t have access to a physical bank, consider online banking. You can easily have a traditional checking account in this way, and you’re not as likely to run into fees for things like depositing a check via mobile.

If you don’t have access to the internet via a computer or smartphone, check out the ConnectHome program. It provides internet and technology like computers at low or even zero cost. It’s not fully mature yet, so it may or may not be available in your area, but it’s something to keep tabs on. Check back frequently to see if they’ve expanded to your locale.

While you’re waiting, you’ll unfortunately have to look at less-than-desirable options, like prepaid cards. If you’re going that route anyway, though, you might as well earn 5% APY on your savings.

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.

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here

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Reviews

Apple Card Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

The information related to Apple Card and Uber Visa Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Apple aims to redefine credit card usage with the launch of the Apple Card, which debuted in March 2019. In addition to providing a simplified application process and not charging any fees, the Apple Card encourages members to pay less interest and provides special privacy and security features. Customers also receive a percentage of every Apple Card purchase amount in the form of Daily Cash.

Cardholders earn 2% Daily Cash every time they use Apple Card with Apple Pay. 3% Daily Cash on all purchases made directly with Apple, including at Apple Stores, apple.com, the App Store, the iTunes Store and for Apple services, and using Apple Pay for Uber and Uber Eats and 1% daily cash on store, website or app that doesn't take apple pay.

Daily Cash, which is automatically added to your Apple Cash card in the Wallet app on your iPhone, can be used like cash to make purchases, send money to your bank account, pay down your Apple Card balance and more.

If you have an iPhone 6 or later, you may be eligible for the Apple Card. To apply, simply update your iPhone to iOS 12.4, open the Wallet app and tap the plus (+) sign. Once approved, you can begin using your Apple Card instantly via Apple Pay.

You will also be issued a physical, titanium card to use at locations where Apple Pay is not yet accepted. Purchases made using the titanium Apple Card will earn 1% Daily Cash.

In this review, we’ll break down the pros and cons of the Apple Card as well as show how it compares to the Uber Visa Card.

Where the Apple Card stands out

Rewards rate. The Apple Card offers 2% Daily Cash every time they use Apple Card with Apple Pay. 3% Daily Cash on all purchases made directly with Apple, including at Apple Stores, apple.com, the App Store, the iTunes Store and for Apple services, and using Apple Pay for Uber and Uber Eats and 1% daily cash on store, website or app that doesn't take apple pay.

No fees. You will not be charged additional fees to use the Apple Card. In addition to a $0 annual fee, the Apple Card comes with a $0 returned payment fee, a $0 late penalty fee (although you will incur interest charges) and no foreign transaction fees.

Smart payment suggestions. To help you make informed decisions when paying your card bill, the Apple Card will estimate the interest charges you will incur (in real time), based on the amount you decide to pay.

Also, the Apple Card offers smart payment suggestions to encourage you to pay down your balance more quickly.

Privacy and security. A unique card number is created on your iPhone for your Apple Card. This means that each purchase made using your iPhone is protected by Face ID or Touch ID authorization, as well as a one-time unique dynamic security code.

Additionally, the issuer of the Apple Card, Goldman Sachs Bank USA, does not share or sell your data to third parties for marketing and advertising purposes.

Additional Apple Card benefits

  • Titanium card for places that don’t accept Apple Pay
  • Ability to contact Apple Card support 24/7 by sending a text from Messages
  • Real-time views of your latest transactions and balance via the Wallet app
  • Weekly and monthly spending summaries

Where the Apple Card falls short

No sign-up bonus. The Apple Card does not come with a sign-up bonus.

Application restrictions. If you’re an Android cellphone user, you’re out of luck. The Apple Card is only available if you have an iPhone 6 or later that runs the latest version of iOS.

How it compares with the Uber Visa Card

If you want to earn bonus cash back in popular spend categories without paying an annual fee, there are other credit cards to consider. The Uber Visa Card, for example, offers 4% back on dining, including UberEats, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, Uber and music streaming services, and 1% on everything else.
Additionally, the card also comes with a $0 annual fee and doesn’t require an iPhone to apply.

See how the Uber Visa Card compares to the Apple Card in the table below.

 Apple CardUber Visa Card
Annual fee$0$0
Sign-up bonusN/AEarn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days.
Rewards
  • 2% Daily Cash every time they use Apple Card with Apple Pay. 3% Daily Cash on all purchases made directly with Apple, including at Apple Stores, apple.com, the App Store, the iTunes Store and for Apple services, and using Apple Pay for Uber and Uber Eats and 1% daily cash on store, website or app that doesn't take apple pay.

  • 4% back on dining, including UberEats, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, Uber and music streaming services, and 1% on everything else.

Intro APR on purchasesN/AN/A
Regular purchase APR12.99%-23.99% Variable17.74% - 28.49% Variable
Foreign transaction feesNone0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

Unlike the Apple Card, the Uber Visa Card allows you to earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. Additionally, the Uber Visa Card offers a higher cashback rate on dining, hotels and airfare.

That said, the Uber Visa Card offers a slightly lower cashback rate on Uber purchases than the Apple Card: The Uber Visa Card offers 2% back on Uber purchases, compared with 3% with the Apple Card. The caveat is you must pay for your Uber purchases via Apple Pay to earn the 3% rate with the Apple Card.

The bottom line

If you’re an iPhone user who wants to earn cash back on every purchase and take advantage of tools that encourage responsible card usage, the Apple Card is a solid option. However, if prefer a card that comes with a sign-up bonus and a higher rewards rate on dining and travel purchases, the Uber Visa Card is the better choice.

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.

Tracy Brackman
Tracy Brackman |

Tracy Brackman is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Tracy here

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Best of, Reviews

The Top 7 Second Chance Bank Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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.

Account Name

Monthly Fee

Minimum to open

Availability

Chime$0$0Nationwide
Peoples Bank Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking$4.95 $30Nationwide
Radius Essential Checking$0$10Nationwide
Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts$10, can be waived if you meet requirements$25All 39 states (plus Washington D.C.) that has a Wells Fargo location.
BBVA Easy Checking$13.95$25Nationwide, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii
Woodforest National Bank Second Chance Checking$9.95 monthly maintenance fee if you use a direct deposit; $11.95 without a direct deposit$25Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia
First National Bank and Trust Company Renew Checking $9.95; $7.95 with direct deposit$25Select areas of Wisconsin and Illinois

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. Chime

Chime

Fintech app developer Chime is not a bank, however their online checking account product is open to everybody no matter how bad your record is with ChexSystems. Chime does not check on applicants with ChexSystems, plus they offer lots of non-traditional features to help you get your financial life back on track. Best of all is the fact that they charge no fees at all, and require neither a minimum opening deposit or a minimum balance.

Chime account features:

  • No opening balance or minimum balance requirements.
  • Set up direct deposit for your paycheck, and the funds from each pay period will be deposited as soon as the transaction is initiated, giving you access to your pay up to two days earlier than conventional checking accounts.
  • Automatic savings features to help you save in your connected Chime Savings account.
  • The app sends you daily bank account balance notifications, and sends transaction alerts every time you use your debit card.
  • You can disable the debit card from the app.
  • Send 15 fee-free “friend transfers” P2P payments each month.
  • Nominal 0.01% APY on all deposits.

Fees to watch out for:

  • Chime’s service is almost entirely fee-free: No monthly charges, no ACH transfer fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no ATM fees if you withdraw funds from MoneyPass or Visa Plus Alliance network ATMs.
  • If you make an ATM withdrawal outside of these networks, there is a $2.50 fee.
  • Overdrafts are not permitted, so there is never an overdraft fee.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Chime’s secure website

Member FDIC

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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

LEARN MORE Secured

on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

5. BBVA Easy Checking

BBVA
BBVA’s Easy Checking product is available as a second chance account to customers in the Lower 48 (sorry, residents of Alaska and Hawaii, you’ll have to look elsewhere). Note that you must open the account at one of the bank’s branch locations, or by phone outside of the branch network footprint; you cannot open this account via their website. There is a $13.95 monthly service charge to maintain the account. You can request that BBVA upgrade your account one of their regular checking products after 12 months — and ditch that high monthly fee — so long as the Easy Checking account remains active and has a positive balance.

BBVA Easy Checking features::

  • Online and mobile banking, customized alerts, and a free debit card (with option to personalize)
  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • Free BBVA ATM withdrawals

Fees to watch out for:

  • $3 fee for out-of-network ATM withdrawals
  • $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

LEARN MORE Secured

on BBVA’s secure website

Member FDIC

6. 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)

LEARN MORE Secured

on Woodforest National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

7. 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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on First National Bank And Trust Company (WI)’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 [email protected]

James Ellis
James Ellis |

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