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SoFi Money Cash Management Account Review

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.

SoFi Money review
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SoFi, the financial institution known for low rates and low fees on student loans and mortgages, is making a foray into consumer cash management accounts. SoFi Money™ will offer a high-yield checking account with no account fees.

We looked at every aspect of SoFi’s new checking account offering to see how it stacks up to competitors.

What sets Money apart from the competition is that SoFi clearly wants this account to be a one-stop shop for both savings and checking. Basically, the SoFi Money account will offer an interest rate that’s much higher than the rate on most checking accounts. This means you can keep your savings in your checking account rather than a savings account. This sounds convenient, but it’s not always the best idea.

Some people may manage to save more money when they separate their money into a different account, even if the account doesn’t have a great interest rate. And you can certainly find savings accounts with higher yields than the 2.25% APY SoFi Money is offering.

We dug into the details that are available at this time to see who should consider replacing their current checking account with SoFi Money.

SoFi Money vs Ally and Simple

The SoFi Money account offers an excellent blend of low fees and high interest rates, but it won’t be perfect for everyone. We’re highlighting a few accounts that shine where the SoFi Money account is a bit weaker.

“The important thing about this account is that it’s not a checking or savings account,” said Ken Tumin, editor of DepositAccounts.com, another LendingTree-owned site. “This appears to have more risk than a checking or savings account.” Why is it riskier? Instead of providing FDIC insurance directly, SoFi sweeps your deposits into one or more partner banks for the FDIC coverage. Your money isn’t FDIC-insured until the funds arrive at a partner bank, nor is it SIPC-insured when held with SoFi.

Banking with competitor Ally provides immediate and direct FDIC insurance for your banking deposits. “Its checking account rates may be a little lower than SoFi’s account for most balances, but they also offer savings and money market accounts which offer much higher interest rates. Savings and money market rates have risen much more than checking account rates since the Fed began raising interest rates.”

Bank

APY (Checking)

APY (savings)

SoFi Money

2.25%

N/A

Pros:

  • No monthly fee
  • No overdraft fees
  • High APY on checking
  • 6 monthly ATM reimbursements include international ATMs

Cons:

  • No savings accounts
  • No free ATM network
  • 1% foreign transaction fee when you use your Visa® Debit Card
Checking Account + Protected Goals Account*

2.02%

N/A

Pros:

  • Connected Savings Goal
  • Zero fees, even for non-sufficient funds and overdrafts
  • Built-in budgeting tools
  • Free Allpoint® ATM use

Cons:

  • No ATM fee refunds
  • No check-writing abilities
Online Savings Account from Ally Bank

0.10% on account balances up to $14,999.99.



0.60% on account balances of $15,000 or more.

2.20%

Pros:

  • Up to $10 ATM reimbursement
  • Free use of Allpoint® ATMs
  • High-yield savings
  • Instant transfers between checking and savings (including free transfers to protect against overdrafts)

Cons:

  • $25 overdraft fee (one per item)
  • Up to 1% foreign transaction fees
  • ATM reimbursement only available in the United States

What’s exciting about the SoFi Money account

No account fees. This will be a huge benefit to people who tend to keep low balances or live paycheck to paycheck, as fee-free accounts are few and far between among traditional big banks these days. With SoFi Money, you won’t pay a monthly maintenance fee and you won’t have to worry about paying non-sufficient funds fee (NSF) or overdraft fees either. You’ll also get free checks, free automatic bill pay and free mobile funds transfers. Very few banks offer this level of “fee free,” and those that do often offer paltry interest rates.

High yield without complicated account requirements. Some high-yield checking accounts require account holders to maintain minimum balances, use their debit card a certain number of times or set up direct deposit. SoFi has no such requirements. The interest rate on the account is currently 2.25% APY, and it is a variable interest rate that is subject to change. In a rising rate environment, you could easily see that rate go up over time, as many other banks have been raising their rates in response to the rising federal funds rate.

Up to $1.5 million in FDIC insurance. One of the unique features of the SoFi Money account is in its design. Money kept in the SoFi Money account is actually “swept” into one of six program banks. All six banks give account holders up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance, so SoFi Money™ holders get up to $1.5 million in total FDIC insurance. While not many people will need that much insurance, it is a notable feature.

ATM fee reimbursement. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees, but SoFi also isn’t part of an ATM network. That means other banks may charge you to make a withdrawal from your SoFi Money™ that bank’s ATM. To help soften that blow, SoFi says it will reimburse account holders for up to six ATM fees per month, even on international ATMs. After that, you have to pay for other bank’s ATM fees out of your own pocket. What’s interesting with this perk is that there’s no dollar amount tied to that reimbursement. They say they’ll reimburse you for six ATM fees, no matter what those fees add up to. In contrast, other banks may reimburse for ATM fees up to a set dollar limit, like $10 at Ally.

Membership with SoFi. Opening a SoFi Money account makes you a member of SoFi. SoFi isn’t an exclusive club, but it provides its members with unique services like career coaching, local networking events and an entrepreneurship accelerator. If you’re looking to grow in your career, spruce up your resume, network with local career-minded individuals or just put a face with your bank, SoFi provides events that can help you out.

Digital first banking. Most people will interact with their SoFi Money account through the digital app. The app will include mobile banking features such as bill pay, photo check deposit, and mobile cash transfers. Although SoFi promises a digital-first experience, it remains to be seen if they can deliver. SoFi had a rocky update to its current app at the end of 2017, but has resolved the issues. Hopefully, the addition of SoFi Money to the SoFi app goes smoothly.

No account minimums. You do not need to maintain any particular balance to avoid fees or to earn interest.

Free checks. Plenty of SoFi Money account holders will forgo physical checks altogether, but those that need them can request checks for free.

SoFi Money features that aren’t so great

There isn’t much not to like about SoFi Money™, to be honest. But there are a few areas where we think other banks do it better. Although, considering the few fees SoFi charges, plus the relatively high APY it offers, some of these shortcomings might be fine to overlook, depending on how you use your account.

Six free ATM uses per month: SoFi isn’t part of a network of ATMs, which means that account holders will get hit with other banks ATM fees every time they visit an ATM. SoFi will refund up to six ATM fees every month as long as the ATM has a Visa, Plus or NYCE logo. This is a decent benefit since SoFi will even refund fees from international ATMs.

However, some banks including Axos Bank (domestic ATMs only), Aspiration Bank, Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking® account and Fidelity® Cash Management Account offer unlimited refunds on other banks ATMs (plus have a network of ATMs).

1% foreign transaction fee: Like most checking accounts, SoFi charges a 1% foreign transaction fee whenever you use your debit card to make a purchase in a foreign currency. Although this is common, some banks waive this fee.

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What’s in the fine print?

  • 1% foreign transaction fee. Whenever you use your SoFi Money Visa® Debit Card to pay for something in a foreign currency, you’ll pay a 1% fee to have the transaction converted to U.S. dollars. This is even true when you use the card to withdraw cash from an international ATM. This is a standard rate that few banks waive.
  • Standard fees for ingoing and outgoing wire transfers (actual fees not yet announced).
  • To open up a SoFi Money account, you must be 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • ATM fee refunds capped to six refunds per month. With a cap this high, most people won’t run into charges, but it could be a limiting factor for some people.

Accounts with better interest rates

Smaller banks that have “reward” checking accounts offer superior interest rates to the rates offered by SoFi. These banks limit their high interest rates to a subset of balances. They also require account holders to meet certain account usage requirements (such as debit card use minimums or direct deposits). Despite these requirements, these checking accounts may be superior savings vehicles.

For example, people with low checking account balances should consider an account at America’s Credit Union rather than SoFi. America’s Credit Union offers a 5.00% APY on balances up to $1,000. (After that, rates drop to 0.10% on balances between $1,000.01 and $15,000 and 0.25% on balances over $15,000.01). This account doesn’t have any monthly service fee, but it doesn’t offer any ATM refunds. Plus, earning the high interest rate requires you to meet several standards including 10 monthly uses of the debit card, at least $15,000 in loans or deposits with ACU, and at least $500 in direct deposits monthly.

Still, with a massive 5.00% APY on the first $1,000, many people can earn more interest by checking with America’s Credit Union. You can learn more about the details, requirements and limitations of America’s Credit Union here.

People with larger account balances (up to $20,000) may prefer holding their account at Consumers Credit Union. This account has no monthly service fees, unlimited ATM reimbursement and high-yield accounts. You’ll earn 3.09% APY on balances up to $10,000, 4.09% APY on balances up to $15,000 and 5.09% APY on balances up to $20,000.

Consumers Credit Union requires account holders to meet four requirements to earn interest. The requirements include making 12 point-of-sale debit purchases (without using a PIN number), having a direct deposit or bill pay, signing onto the online banking system once per month and signing up for eStatements. The requirements may be annoying, but the interest is shockingly high. Learn more about the account here.

Accounts that reimburse all ATM fees worldwide

One of the drawbacks to the SoFi Money account is the limit of six ATM fee reimbursements per month. If you’re a heavy ATM user (especially while abroad), it’s worth noting that some accounts offer unlimited ATM fee reimbursement even on international ATMs.

The Charles Schwab High Yield Checking account is probably the best example of this feature. Not only will you receive unlimited ATM reimbursements, you’ll also avoid paying any foreign transaction fees. However, this account has an APY of 0.40% compared with SoFi’s 2.25% APY.

Similarly, the Save & Spend Account at Aspiration Bank has unlimited reimbursement on ATMs worldwide. This account also offers a 2.00% APY on all balances. Aspiration also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or overdraft fees.

Accounts with no foreign transaction fees

The 1% foreign transaction fee on SoFi Money accounts isn’t an onerous fee, but some major banks waive this fee. Once again, the Charles Schwab High Yield Checking account waives all foreign transaction fees. It also offers unlimited reimbursements on ATM fees worldwide. This is likely the premier account for international travelers, but it offers a paltry 0.40% APY.

Capital One also waives all foreign transaction fees on its checking accounts. However, these accounts carry a number of other fees and a lower interest rate than the SoFi Money account. Plus, Capital One won’t reimburse ATM fees charged by other banks.

Final take on SoFi Money

SoFi Money is a cash management account that will make a lot of sense for a lot of people. It’s one of the simplest accounts, and it offers unique benefits. The blend of low fees and higher interest rates should appeal to plenty of people. It’s an account that beats out most checking accounts from large banks, and it beats out accounts from most smaller banks, too (especially on the low-fee front).

If SoFi manages to implement the account without messing up its app, this account will quickly become a favorite account among people seeking accounts that don’t charge unnecessary fees.

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.

Hannah Rounds
Hannah Rounds |

Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

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

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Reviews

Review of OFX: A Money Transfer Provider

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.

When you need to send a large amount of money internationally, OFX could be your most affordable option. The company offers web-based money transfer solutions for individuals and businesses alike. In our review, we found that this service has some features which put them ahead of the competition. However, it also lacks other features and capabilities that might be important to you.

Although OFX money transfers can sometimes take longer than some of the company’s speedier competitors, price is where it consistently shines — it charges no additional fees for transfers beyond the standard exchange rate markup, although it requires a minimum transfer for $1,000 to start with. That means people who have smaller amounts to transfer will need to look elsewhere.

OFX’s headquarters is based in San Francisco and the company has been in business since 1998. Currently, the company has offices located in six different countries. Yet it all started a little over two decades ago when it launched its first website from a garage in Sydney.

In the past 20 years, the company has grown to more than 200 employees. OFX has managed over 1 million money transfers for more than $119 billion, with the numbers still growing.

Here’s a full breakdown of OFX’s costs, fees and a look at how it compares with its competitors in the international money transfer space.

OFX key features

  • Low exchange rates: OFX claims to have better rates and fees than many banks. Per the company, you can save up to an average of 50% on global money transfer rates when compared with using a bank. Banks make money off international money transfers by charging a markup (aka a margin) on foreign exchange rates. The reason OFX fees are lower is because they say they charge margins which are “substantially less” for money exchanges than the rates many banks charge their customers. OFX exchange rate markups are often less than 1%, they claim.
  • $0 transfer fees: Once upon a time, it did charge a flat-rate fee for money transfers. However, now OFX doesn’t charge any additional transfer fees for international money transfers. (The company does point out that your recipient’s bank might deduct a fee for the incoming transfer, but it doesn’t receive any part of those funds.)
  • No hidden fees: OFX doesn’t charge setup fees, monthly account fees or any other hidden fees.
  • Compare fees before transfer: OFX lets you check the rate you will be charged for an international money transfer in advance. However, you’ll have to create an OFX account first. This process is a bit cumbersome compared with the easy-to-access fee estimators available from some other money transfer service providers. However, it also gives you a way to compare the rate it will charge you with the rate your bank would charge you for the same transaction, so you can make sure you’re getting the better deal. This is a nice touch (though you should still estimate fees from other online money transfer providers to make sure you’re getting the best deal available). To estimate fees you’ll have to create an account, log in or use the “Get Extra” widget to see how much you could save when you transfer money with OFX instead of your bank.
  • There’s an app for that: You can transfer money, track your transfers and get current exchange rates with the OFX app, available for Apple and Android devices.
  • Membership program: If you own a business, you may be able to enjoy preferred exchange rates from OFX. Preferred rates could make sending or receiving money cheaper by helping you save more on exchange rate margins. The OFX Member Benefits Program lets you share your preferred rate with your own customers, members or employees by granting them access to your OFX network as well.
  • Referral program: The OFX Referral Program allows you an opportunity to earn a revenue share when your customers or referrals use OFX for international money transfers. You can also add the company’s free rate and currency calculators to your website, giving your users access to the most recent currency information.

Sending a money transfer with OFX

Review of OFX: A Money Transfer Provider
Transfers generally take 1-4 business days. Times may vary based upon the country to where you are transferring funds.

You should allow:
  • 1-2 business days for OFX to receive your funds plus

  • 1-4 business days for the funds to reach your recipient



*OFX provides a currency converter tool inside your account, online or using the app, which can also provide approximate delivery times.
Where can you send money?
OFX can transfer your money to over 190 countries in 55 different currencies. See a list of locations here.

How much can you send? Transfer amounts start at $1,000(minimum).

*Maximum transfer amounts are determined based on your money transfer provider and type of currency. USD can generally be transferred without restrictions.

How to transfer money

Here’s a look at the process you’ll experience if you transfer funds internationally with OFX.

Step 1:
You can sign up for a personal account or business account online or via the OFX app. For a personal account, you will need to provide the following information:

  1. Your location
  2. Your email address
  3. Your currency pair (aka where you’ll be transferring money from and to)
  4. Your estimated transfer amount
  5. Your personal information (name, address, phone number, date of birth, nationality and occupation)
  6. Your driver’s license state and number (optional)

Step 2:
Create a password and set up a security question.

Step 3:
Verify your account by uploading one of the following:

  1. Copy of your driver’s license or passport (color)
  2. Proof of address (bank statement, utility bill or letter from a government agency)

Step 4:
Add the U.S. bank account you’ll be using to send funds.

Step 5:
Add new recipient details, including the person’s name and banking information.

Step 6:
Calculate transfer rate (if desired).

Step 7:
Transfer funds by setting up a direct debit or wiring the funds to OFX.

Step 8:
Funds are converted and delivered to your recipient.

Fees and fine print

Fees and penalties
Transfer rates
When you transfer money with OFX, the company takes a “small percentage” of the money you’re sending to cover costs.

Here’s how it works. Fees are based upon the market rate (also called interbank rate), which is a wholesale rate available to large financial institutions. Customers of OFX are charged a markup on the market rate, and that is how OFX makes money. You can check exchange rates here.


Transfer fees None
None

Compared with other money transfer options, OFX is often one of the most affordable ways to send money internationally. However, this isn’t the case 100% of the time. If you want to get the best value on your money transfer, it’s wise to compare costs among several money transfer providers.

Is OFX a good money transfer service to use?

Overall, OFX can often offer a more affordable way to send money internationally. You just have to be comfortable with the wait and minimum transfer requirements.

Pros
Cons
  • Low exchange rates mean OFX is often a cheaper way to send money.
  • Zero transfer fees keep the service affordable and simple to understand from a cost perspective.
  • 24/7 customer service support

  • No same-day delivery, (except from Australia to the U.S.)
  • Minimum transfer requirement of $1,000
  • Bank-to-bank transfers only with no cash payment or cash pick up options
  • No domestic transfers within the United States


Alternative money transfer options

MoneyGram and Western Union are international money transfer companies providing similar services to OFX.

MoneyGram

  • Where can you send money? MoneyGram has a large network. You can send money to more than 200 countries and territories around the world online or in person at one of MoneyGram’s 350,000 (approximate) global agent locations. Unlike OFX, you can also transfer money within the United States.
  • How long does a transfer take? Once you send a transaction successfully, your recipient can usually pick up cash within minutes. Just keep in mind that transfer time also depends upon operating hours and regulatory requirements.
  • How much can you send? $6,000 per online transfer is typically the cap on MoneyGram transfers, but it also depends upon the country where your recipient lives. Also, there’s a $6,000 cap per every 30 calendar days for online transfers. If you need to send more, you can. You’ll just need to a MoneyGram agent location to send additional transfers.
  • Fee to send money: MoneyGram’s costs can be a little on the high side. When compared with other competitors, MoneyGram fees are often higher plus they may include additional transfer fees. The cost to send money via MoneyGram varies quite a bit based upon where you’re sending money, how much you’re sending and how you’re paying. On the plus side, MoneyGram has a tool which can easily allow you to estimate fees online, without the hassle of being required to create an account first.

One area where MoneyGram shines is its potential speed of delivery. If timing is your primary concern when you are sending money, MoneyGram may be a good option to consider.

Western Union

  • Where can you send money? Western Union lets you send money to more than 200 countries and territories. The company also has a sizable network of over 500,000 agent locations, this can make finding a place to send or receive money in person a lot more convenient.
  • How long does a transfer take? Western Union allows you to send money in minutes in 130 currencies. Many transactions take place within minutes. Just keep in mind that factors like the service you select, your destination country, any regulatory issues, etc. could slow things down.
  • How much can you send? The amount of money you’re allowed to transfer will vary. Limits are based upon your transaction history with Western Union, the country where you are sending money, your location and the type of transfer service you choose. Based upon these factors, limits may range from $300 per money transfer up to $10,000 per transaction.
  • Fee to send money: Western Union is known for having a large network, not for being the most affordable way to send money internationally. Compared with competitors, exchange rate fees may be higher and you may be charged transfer fees on top of that. You can estimate the cost of sending money using Western Union’s online fee calculator. It’s a helpful and convenient feature, partly because you aren’t required to set up an account to access it. Also, even though Western Union may be more expensive in many cases, you shouldn’t just assume that is always the case. If you’re sending an online money transfer, it’s worth your time to see if Western Union can beat the cost your receiving elsewhere.

Western Union stands out among competitors for its conveniently large network and speed. With more than 500,000 agent locations, finding a convenient spot to send or receive money may be easier than with other service providers.

Should you choose OFX?

OFX frequently beats competitor pricing for international online money transfers. Yet there are so many moving parts when it comes to money transfers that you shouldn’t take for granted that it is the cheapest option. If you want to save the most money possible on your international money transfers, you have to be willing to do a little homework (perhaps every time you prepare to transfer funds) and compare costs between several money transfer networks.

Of course, even if it is the least expensive option for your specific situation, the cheapest option may not be the right choice for you. OFX tends to be a bit on the slow side with regard to getting money into your recipient’s hands. Also, OFX doesn’t give you the option to pay with cash nor does it give recipients a cash pickup option. If you don’t have the capability to transfer funds directly into your recipient’s bank account, you’ll need to find a different company to handle your money transfer.

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.

Michelle Black
Michelle Black |

Michelle Black is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Michelle 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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on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

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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