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SunTrust Bank Reviews — Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market, and IRA 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.

SunTrust Checking Account Options

Get free checks and cash deposit bonuses, but at the expense of low rates and possible monthly maintenance fees.

Balanced Banking

The Balanced Banking checking account is designed as a basic account which can also help you save on fees by preventing overdrafts. SunTrust automatically provides account holders with overdraft coverage. It’s designed so that your account will decline any ATM or debit card transactions which would cause an overdraft on your account. If an item (such as a check) is returned because of insufficient finds, you’ll pay a reduced fee of $20 instead of the standard $36.Account holders can also opt into the overdraft protection plan, which is an upgrade option that links your checking to another SunTrust deposit account or credit card. You’ll be charged a $12.50 transfer fee for each day you’ll need to transfer money between accounts. If you choose to link an Overdraft Assurance line of credit, you’ll be charged a $7 monthly fee.

You do not earn any interest with a Balanced Checking Account, but you do get a debit card, a free starter pack of 25 checks (or 50% off personalized ones), and a 10% cash deposit bonus if you redeem the cash back into your checking account when using a SunTrust Cash Rewards credit card. There are no ATM fees at any SunTrust machines, but you do not get reimbursed for using out of network ones.

Essential Checking

The Essential checking account is designed for those who prefer to keep a lower minimum balance and may not need overdraft protection. All you need is a minimum of $100 to open the account. However, your card may still be declined for insufficient funds like the Balanced Banking account. If you get any item returned (such as a bounced check), you’ll have to pay the standard $36 fee. You can also choose overdraft protection which has the same features as the balanced checking account.There is no interest earned with this SunTrust checking account, but you get a free starter pack of 25 checks (or 50% off personalized ones), a debit card, and a 10% cash deposit bonus if you redeem the cash back into your checking account when using a SunTrust Cash Rewards credit card. You can avoid the $7 monthly maintenance fee if you keep a $500 minimum daily balance or in qualifying monthly direct deposits per statement cycle.

Essential Checking for Students

This account is meant to help students manage their money easily as well as the ability to save on monthly fees. You won’t be charged monthly maintenance fees for up to five years as long as you’re opening a new checking account and can provide proof of active enrollment at any qualifying school. This includes high school or colleges.Other than the differences mentioned above, the Essential Checking Account for students has the same features as the standard Essential Checking Account.

Select Checking

APY

Minimum Amount to Open

0.01%

$100

The Select Checking Account is for those who want to earn interest on their deposits and intend on making more transactions. Upon account opening, you’ll receive a free starter pack of 100 checks or 50% off personalized ones. You’ll earn only 0.01% interest on qualifying deposits which is significantly lower than other banks.In addition to not paying any fees at SunTrust ATMs, you’ll get reimbursed for two out of network ATM transactions every statement cycle.

There is a $15 monthly maintenance fee, but you can get that waived if you keep a $2,000 minimum daily balance, have at least $2,000 in qualifying direct deposits, maintain $10,000 across linked SunTrust accounts, or if you have a linked small business checking account. You can also get the monthly maintenance fees waived for up to three essential checking accounts.

Signature Advantage

APY

Minimum Amount to Open

0.01%

$100

The Signature Advantage checking account is meant for those who intend on making large and frequent transactions. After a $100 minimum opening amount, you’ll need to keep at least $25,000 in balances across your SunTrust accounts to avoid the $25 monthly maintenance fee.This includes your balance in your checking accounts plus IRA or brokerage accounts through SunTrust and any linked accounts such as money market, CDs, savings, checking, and trust accounts.

You get unlimited free personalized checks and earn interest at 0.01%, which is very low compared to other banks. Account users get a debit card and unlimited transactions. You’ll also get all ATM fees reimbursed and waive the monthly maintenance fees for up to four essential checking accounts.

How to get a SunTrust Bank checking account

To open a SunTrust checking account, go to their website and fill out an online application. You’ll need to provide personal details including your phone number, address, Social Security number and a government-issued ID. You can also do so at your local branch. You can only open a Student Essential Checking Account in person.

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How SunTrust Bank’s checking accounts compare

Even though SunTrust offers services like in-person customer service and digital payments like Apple Pay®, their rates fall way short when stacked against other competitors’ checking accounts rates. Other places offer the ability to earn interest no matter what type of checking account you choose. They also have no monthly maintenance fees whereas SunTrust only waives them if you maintain a minimum amount. While SunTrust has no ATM fees on some of their accounts, other major competitors offer unlimited domestic ATM reimbursement for all their accounts.

If you have existing accounts with SunTrust or enjoy in-person customer service and a wide variety of products with one bank, this bank can be a good choice. However, if you want to earn more than 0.01% APY, then you’re better off going elsewhere.

SunTrust Savings Account Options

Low opening minimum deposit amounts and the ability to earn interest, but rates are lower than competitors.

Essential Savings

The Essential Savings account is a basic savings account for those who don’t need a lot of bells and whistles. There is no minimum opening deposit or monthly maintenance fees, though you need to have at least a balance of $0.01 to prevent account closure. To avoid a $3 monthly statement fee, opt for electronic instead of paper statements.Your money is insured up to the FDIC limit ($250,000) and you can link this account for overdraft protection with your other accounts. There is access to in-person, online, and telephone banking, but you do not have the ability to write checks. The Essential Savings Account does not earn you any interest.

Since this is a savings account, federal banking regulations only allow you up to six withdrawals per month. Otherwise, you’ll be charged $6 per withdrawal with a maximum of six every month.

Select Savings

APY

Minimum Amount to Open

0.01%


*Earn an annual 1% bonus, up to $25,
if you link your account to a Select Checking or
Signature Advantage Checking account.

None

The Select Savings Account gives you a bonus for customer loyalty. You’ll need a minimum opening deposit of $100 and your money is insured up the maximum amount set by the FDIC. You also have the same access as the Essential Savings Account, including the withdrawal limits set by federal banking regulations.However, there is a $7 monthly maintenance fee. You can get that waived if you maintain a $1,000 daily collected balance or set up an automatic transfer of $25 from a SunTrust personal checking account. All deposit amounts earn 0.01% APY.

How to get a SunTrust Bank savings account

You can open a SunTrust savings account by filling out an application on their website. To complete an application you’ll need to provide personal details including your phone number, address, Social Security number, and a government-issued ID. You can also complete an application at your local branch.

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How SunTrust Bank’s savings accounts compare

If you’re looking to open an account to link other SunTrust products, a savings account is a great way to get overdraft protection. However, if you’re only looking at the rates, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Many online banking options provide at least 10 times what SunTrust is offering with no account minimums or monthly maintenance fees. You do earn a bonus if you opt for the Select Savings account, but it may not negate the higher rates competitors are offering on savings accounts.

SunTrust CD Rates

Offers competitive rates and a lower minimum deposit amount compared to other banks.

Term

APY

6 Month CD

0.50%

12 Month CD

2.00%

18 Month CD

2.20%

24 Month CD

2.40%

58 Month CD

2.75%

SunTrust’s CDs are FDIC insured and features terms from 6 months to 10 years. You’ll need a minimum of $2,000 to open an account and your rate is guaranteed based on your opening deposit amount. You’ll start earning interest from the date you make your deposit and is compounded daily. You can keep interest earned in your CD account or withdraw it into another account.

SunTrust’s CDs are automatically renewed. You’ll be sent a reminder a minimum of 10 days before your account matures. During this grace period, you can either choose to renew the CD, withdraw it, or transfer it to another type of account.

Early withdrawal penalties are based on the amount of time that is left until the maturity date. Keep in mind that you may have to pay the penalty using the principal amount if the interest earned is not enough to cover it.

The early withdrawal penalties are as follows:

  • 1 to 30 days remaining: 7 day’s interest
  • 32 to 90 days remaining: 1 month’s interest
  • 91 days to 11 months remaining: 3 month’s interest
  • 1 to 3 years remaining: 8 month’s interest
  • 3 years to 7 years remaining: 12 month’s interest
  • 7 years and over: 24 month’s interest

How to get a SunTrust Bank CD

You can fill out an online application to open a CD account. To complete the application, you’ll need to provide your personal information such as your address, Social Security number, and a federal issued ID. If you have a co-applicant, they’ll also need to provide their details. Once the application is complete, you can then find your CD at your local branch or online using an external bank account.

Otherwise, you can head to your local branch to open an account.

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How SunTrust Bank CD rates compare

SunTrust Bank’s CD rates are pretty comparable to its major competitors. Their 6-month and 18-month CD rates are slightly lower than other banks, but other terms fall significantly lower. In addition, their minimum opening deposit amount is higher for shorter terms. Other places also offer a wider variety of CD accounts, including those that have the potential for rate increases.

SunTrust Money Market Rates

Rates are comparable to other major banks, but only for its introductory rate.

Signature Money Market

APY

Minimum Amount to Open

0.01%

$100

Special intro rate of 1.01% for the first three months

$10,000

The SunTrust Signature Money Market Account only requires a $100 minimum opening deposit, but you’re not earning any significant interest at 0.01% APY. However, SunTrust offers an introductory rate of 1.01% for the first three months if you make a $10,000 opening deposit. After this period, you will be reverted to their standard APY of 0.01%. Interest is compounded daily and is credited to your account every month. For balances below $10,000, you’ll need to contact SunTrust customer service to ask as they differ depending on if you’re opening a new account or not.

There is a monthly maintenance fee of $15 for this account. However, you can get that waived if you have at least a daily collected balance of $5,000 or make one automated transfer from a SunTrust checking account of $100. You are also limited to six withdrawals as per federal banking regulations. If you make more than six withdrawals during a statement cycle, you’ll be charged a $15 excessive withdrawal fee with a maximum of six.

How to get a SunTrust Bank money market account

Opening a SunTrust Bank money market account is the same process as any checking or savings account. The fastest way to do it is online. Once you provide all necessary details including those of your co-applicants, you’ll then need to find your account online or at your local branch.

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How SunTrust Bank’s money market account compares

While the introductory rate for balances of $10,000 and above is pretty high compared to other banks, this account falls short in amounts less than that.

Their minimum opening is lower, but that’s not necessarily an advantage since you’ll need to pay a monthly maintenance fee for balances below $5,000 or if choose not to make monthly automatic transfers. Other competitors don’t charge fees on their money market accounts.

Some even give you a free debit card as well as the ability to link multiple accounts and write checks.

SunTrust IRA Rates

Term

APY

12 Month CD

2.00%

18 Month CD

2.20%

24 Month CD

2.40%

58 Month CD

2.75%

SunTrust Bank’s IRA CDs require a $2,000 minimum opening deposit and your rate will be based on how much you initially deposit. You can earn tax-deferred earnings and your account is insured up to the FDIC limit. You’ll earn interest from the date you make a deposit and it’ll be compounded daily. Depending on your status, you may be subject to contribution limits so it’s best to check with a SunTrust advisor.

Any interest earned can be rolled into the principal or withdrawn. You’ll earn only 0.01% interest on qualifying deposits which is significantly lower than other banks.ther account. You can see how your investment is doing anytime by logging into SummitView®, which is SunTrust’s wealth management software. Also, your IRA CD will be automatically renewed once the 10 day grace period (including non-business days) is over. You will be sent a reminder when the IRA CD reaches maturity, but there will not be a confirmation of renewal.

Like their regular CDs, there are early withdrawal penalties or if you decide to transfer ownership of your CD before the maturity date. These penalties are based on how much time is left until your maturity date.

The early withdrawal penalties are as follows:

  • 1 to 30 days remaining: 7 day’s interest
  • 32 to 90 days remaining: 1 month’s interest
  • 91 days to 11 months remaining: 3 month’s interest
  • 1 to 3 years remaining: 8 month’s interest
  • 3 years to 7 years remaining: 12 month’s interest
  • 7 years and over: 24 month’s interest

If you haven’t earned enough interest to cover the early withdrawal penalty, SunTrust will use some of the principal amount to cover it. In addition, you may be subject to an additional tax penalty by the IRS if you’re less than 59 ½ years old.

How to get a SunTrust Bank IRA CD

To open a SunTrust Bank IRA CD, you’ll need to call the SITS client advisory center at 1-877-962-9032 to speak to a representative.

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How SunTrust Bank IRA CD rates compare

SunTrust Bank’s CD rates are higher than the national averages. Their 12-month CD IRA, however, falls short, as other institutions offer IRA CD rates that are much higher. SunTrust also doesn’t offer shorter terms and their minimum opening deposit is higher compared to competitors.

Overall review of SunTrust Bank

SunTrust Bank’s CD and IRA rates have competitive rates and the bank offers a wide variety of terms. However, their checkings and savings accounts fall short, with many of them not earning you any interest. If this is important to you, then you’re better off looking elsewhere. Many alternative online banks offer much higher rates with no monthly maintenance fees.

However, SunTrust does provide a wide variety of banking and investment products. You can choose anywhere from the most basic of accounts to products intended for frequent use. SunTrust also gives you the ability to link multiple accounts and offers financial incentives to do so.

If you like brick and mortar banks as well as keeping all your finances in one place, SunTrust is a good option. Even if their savings and checking accounts don’t have the best rates, you may be able to make up for it with their CDs and IRAs.

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.

Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain |

Sarah Li Cain is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sarah Li 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