Illinois Banks That Don’t Use ChexSystems
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If you’re having trouble getting approved for a new checking account, it’s likely due to your ChexSystems record. Most banks report your negative banking information to ChexSystems, who then provides this information to other banks when you try to open a new account.
Thus, it can be extremely hard to get access to banking if you’ve had trouble with banks in the past. Because negative records on your ChexSystems report can last for up to five years, you should pursue non-ChexSystems banks or second chance banking as an alternative.
People who don’t have bank accounts (also known as the “unbanked”) tend to pay more for day-to-day transactions. They also don’t have a secure place to store their money. The Woodstock Institute has specific numbers on the unbanked in Illinois in 2017:
- 7% of households in Illinois were unbanked.
- In Chicago, percentages were similar: 6.9% of households were unbanked.
- These numbers are slightly higher than the national average, which the FDIC reports is 6.5%.
To help more Illinois residents get access to banking, we’ve compiled a list of the best non-ChexSystems and second chance banks in the state. We’ll also answer some commonly asked questions about ChexSystems and what you should look for in a banking account.
The Best Non-ChexSystems Banks in Illinois
Chime and BBVA (now PNC Bank) are three large national banks that provide excellent options for those with a poor banking history. In Illinois, you can conveniently sign up for these banks online.
Chime’s mission is to make banking helpful, easy, and free for everyone. As a result, they do not run your credit or check your ChexSystems report when you apply to any of their checking and savings accounts.
Chime is technically not a bank. Instead, they are a relatively new financial technology company that offers banking services provided through The Bancorp Bank, N.A. and Stride Bank, N.A., meaning that their products are still FDIC insured. Here’s why you should consider their Chime Checking accounts and Chime Savings accounts.
BBVA (now PNC Bank) provides banking solutions and is known to be more lenient when considering your past banking history. Many of their accounts can be considered second chance accounts, since they’re willing to overlook a bad ChexSystems report.
PNC Bank’s flagship product is their VirtualWallet. VirtualWallet is a checking account that provides a bunch of digital tools to help you stay on top of your finances. For example, you can set up automatic payments for some of your bills. You can then use the Calendar feature to get a handy overview of your upcoming payment days.
To avoid overdrafting, VirtualWallet also has a Low Cash Mode feature that alerts you when your account drops below a certain balance. At the time of this post, you may be eligible for a $200 bonus when you sign up for VirtualWallet. Don’t hesitate to apply today if you need a checking account!
Top 8 Local Illinois Non-ChexSystems Banks
We highly suggest starting your non-ChexSystems bank search with Chime and BBVA (PNC Bank). However, you might want to look for a physical bank in Illinois instead. Here are 8 top local options around Illinois.
Banterra Bank provides personal and business checking and savings accounts primarily to residents in southern Illinois. Their Herrin location has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 among 21 Google reviews.
If you need to repair your ChexSystems history, consider the Banterra Restart Checking account. It is a second chance account that only requires a $50 opening balance, and has no minimum balance requirements after that. The account does carry a $9.95 monthly fee, but you can save $3 per month on this if you use their direct deposit feature.
- Address: 318 S Park Ave, Herrin, IL 62948
- Phone: (618) 942-7373
Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Bank provides banking services to residents in Illinois. They have a handful of locations scattered around southern Illinois, and many more locations around the Chicago metropolitan area.
For those with a rocky ChexSystems history, the Fifth Third Express Banking program is a great option. The account is designed to help you build up a solid financial foundation, with no minimum balance, no monthly service fees, and no overdraft fees.
- Address: 3030 E 92nd St, Chicago, IL 60617
- Phone: (773) 292-6082
First Financial Bank
First Financial Bank has been named one of America’s best in-state banks by Forbes. They are mostly based in Indiana, with a couple locations in southern Illinois.
First Financial Bank offers their First Connect account, another great option for Illinois residents with ChexSystems records looking to open a second chance account. The account has no monthly fees as long as all your account activity is electronic (a $1 fee is assessed every time you write a check). There is also no minimum balance on the account.
- Address: 2000 W Court St, Kankakee, IL 60901
- Phone: (815) 937-9393
Great Lakes Credit Union
Great Lakes Credit Union offers a “fresh start to a better future” with their Fresh Checking account. You can open this account at one of their many Illinois locations.
With Fresh Checking, you only need a minimum initial deposit of $25. There are currently no monthly service fees or overdraft fees. Best of all, after six months of good standing with Great Lakes Credit Union, you can upgrade to their Free Checking account for free, which offers up to a huge 2.50% APY on balances up to $10,000!
- Address: 345 Congress Pkwy, Crystal Lake, IL 60014
- Phone: (800) 982-7850
Midwest America Federal Credit Union
Midwest America Federal Credit Union is a non-ChexSystems bank that looks at your TeleCheck record instead. Illinois residents in Danville looking to restore their banking should consider their Freedom Checking account.
Freedom Checking has no minimum balance requirements and free unlimited check writing. There is a monthly fee on the account, but this is easily waived if you maintain more than a $500 balance on the account or have more than 5 transactions each month.
- Address: 210 N. Gilbert St, Danville, IL 61832
- Phone: (217) 446-3954
TCF Bank (Huntington National Bank)
TCF Bank, now part of The Huntington National Bank, offers second chances to those with prior ChexSystems history. They have a couple locations around the Chicago metropolitan area and dozens of ATM locations as well.
Huntington National Bank offers a second chance Asterisk-Free Checking account, which has no minimum balance requirement and is completely free from minimum balances. You’ll also get their $50 Safety Zone feature, which protects you when you overdraft your account by $50 or less.
- Address: 1485 Palatine Rd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60195
- Phone: (847) 202-5511
US Bank is one of the larger banks in the nation. For some of their accounts, they offer a second chance to Illinois residents with negative ChexSystems records.
One of these accounts is the Safe Debit checking account, which comes with no overdraft charges. You’ll also get a free US Bank Visa debit card, along with online and mobile banking. The account does carry a $4.95 fee that cannot be waived, but this is worth it considering you’re signing up with a well-established bank like US Bank.
- Address: 8739 S Harlem Ave, Bridgeview, IL 60455
- Phone: (708) 233-1040
Vantage Credit Union
Vantage Credit Union is a non-ChexSystems institution that uses your TeleCheck report for screening instead. Most of their locations are in Missouri, but they have one location in East St. Louis in Illinois.
If you have a credit score higher than 499, you should easily qualify for their Simple Checking account. The account comes with no minimum balance requirements, overdraft protection options, and budget your spending.
- Address: 13 Collinsville Ave, East St Louis, IL 62201
- Phone: (314) 298-0055
Where Do I Bank If I Can’t Open a Regular Checking Account?
If you’re unable to open a regular checking account, don’t hesitate to find a non-ChexSystems bank or second chance account. There are plenty of benefits to having a checking account--money security, easy banking on the go, and having an overview of all your finances.
Any of our 10 recommendations for Illinois residents will work well for those with a negative ChexSystems history. Specifically, Chime can provide you with the best second chance savings account to repair your banking history and multiply your savings.
How Does Second Chance Banking Work?
Second Chance banking is when a bank is willing to overlook your past ChexSystems banking history. They may still pull your ChexSystems report when you apply for their accounts, but will let you open a second chance account even if you have negative records.
Second chance accounts usually come with the same set of basic features that regular checking accounts have. These include the ability to withdraw and deposit funds, a free debit card, and access to online and mobile banking.
However, second chance accounts also tend to have more restrictions placed on them. For example, you might have a maximum number of allowed transactions per month, as well as a monthly maintenance fee on the account.
Despite these restrictions, it’s still worth it to get a second chance account if you can’t get a regular checking account. In addition, almost all second chance accounts will let you upgrade to a standard account after a few months of good standing.
How Does ChexSystems Work?
ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency that keeps information about your past banking history. When you apply for a new account, banks often pull your ChexSystems report to assess your risk. If your risk is too high, the bank may reject your application.
Because 80% of banks use ChexSystems, it can be very difficult to get approved for any bank account once you have a ChexSystems record. In this scenario, it’s a good idea to look for a non-ChexSystems bank. These banks don’t pull your ChexSystems report when you apply, but may still look at your TeleCheck and EWS reports, which are two other reporting agencies.
Non-ChexSystems bank accounts are usually no different from a regular checking account. For example, PNC Bank and Chime are two excellent banks that offer great perks on their checking and savings accounts, and both do not use ChexSystems.
How Do I Tell If I Have Negative Information on My ChexSystems Report?
A sure sign that you have negative information on your ChexSystems report is if you’re being continually denied a checking account by multiple banks. In this case, you’ll want to request a copy of your ChexSystems report for free to see what’s causing you to be denied. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you’re allowed a copy of your report every 12 months.
Once you have your report, review the negative information to see if there are any reporting errors. Most of the time, you should be looking under the “Reported Information” category. If anything seems off, you can submit a dispute with ChexSystems.
The dispute process is lengthy and can take time. It may or may not be worth pursuing depending on the severity of the errors. If you do decide to send a dispute, you should still sign up for one of the 10 top bank accounts that we recommended in this article to get yourself banked as soon as possible.
Does Bank of America (and Other Popular Banks) Use ChexSystems?
Unfortunately, Bank of America does use ChexSystems screening. This is common among the larger banks in the nation.
A number of other popular US banks also use ChexSystems, including but not limited to:
- Wells Fargo
While all these banks are ChexSystems banks, some of them do offer second chance products. For example, Wells Fargo does offer Clear Access Banking, which is considered a second chance account.
What Should I Look For in a Non-ChexSystems or Second Chance Account?
When considering which non-ChexSystems or second chance account to pick, look for these key features.
- FDIC insurance. When an account is FDIC-insured, it means that your money (usually up to $250,000) is protected in case of a bank failure. This gives your money extra security.
- A debit card. Your account should come with a free debit card, which you can use to easily make payments and withdraw cash at ATMs.
- Low or no monthly fees. In the best case, your bank account should not cost you any fees. However, sometimes monthly fees are unavoidable. If your account does have a monthly fee, make sure it’s $10 or lower. Some banks will also have certain criteria you can satisfy to waive the monthly fee.
- Overdraft protection. In case you overdraft your account, the best banks will have some sort of protection or insurance such that you don’t have to pay any overdraft fees.
Another feature you might consider is whether or not the bank offers a high-yield interest rate. Most basic non-ChexSystems or second chance accounts do not pay interest, but some do. These interest rates can help you compound your savings faster than other accounts can.
Conclusion and Next Steps
For the 7% of Illinois residents that are unbanked, we highly recommend looking into non-ChexSystems and second chance options. Not only will this give you access to a variety of useful banking features, but you’ll also be able to rebuild your banking history as well.
To get started with your search, we suggest reaching out to Chime and signing up for their Savings account. This is one of the best non-ChexSystems options out there that also comes with a high-yield interest rate to grow your savings.
Our Top Pick for Banks that Don't Use ChexSystems is Chime.
When doing research, Credit Help Info relies on credible and authoritative sites. These research sources are provided so that you can see exactly where we get our information.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.
1. There’s no fee for the Chime Savings Account. Cash withdrawal and Third-party fees may apply to Chime Checking Accounts. You must have a Chime Checking Account to open a Account.
2. Chime SpotMe is an optional service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members w overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member's Chime Ac deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to may change at any time, at Chime's discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won't c transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
*The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of November 17, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.
The average national savings account interest rate of 0.21% is determined by FDIC as of November 17, 2022 based on a simple average of rates paid (uses annual percentage yield) by all insured depository institutions and branches for which data are available. Visit National Rates and Rate Caps to learn more.
About the Author
Chris Morgan is a credit expert and founder of Credit Help Info. He has been featured in Addition Financial, GOBankingRates, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, and many other publications. He has read hundreds of books and resources on finance and the credit industry. Because he did this, you don’t have to. As a school teacher for over 20 years, Chris enjoys taking complicated material and breaking it down into manageable information that’s easy to understand.