North Carolina Banks That Don’t
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Are you having trouble getting approved for a new bank account? Most of the time, this is because you have negative items on your ChexSystems report, which reflects your past banking history.
Negative marks on your ChexSystems report can last for up to five years. However, it’s never a good idea to wait that long to re-apply for a new bank account. A bank account still affords you many of the financial tools and resources to be able to effectively manage your money.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), in 2019, about 3.4% of households in North Carolina did not have a bank account. This number improved significantly from 2017, when 5.9% of North Carolinians were unbanked, but there’s still room for improvement.
For those with ChexSystems records, finding a non-ChexSystems bank or a bank that offers second chance accounts is one of the best things you can do financially. In this post, we’ll answer some commonly asked questions about non-ChexSystems and second chance banking, as well as offer 11 of the top banks for residents of North Carolina to consider.
The Best Non-ChexSystems Banks in North Carolina
There are many great non-ChexSystems banks available to North Carolina residents, but the best three are CIT Bank, Chime, and BBVA (now PNC). These nationally acclaimed banks have a long track record of offering competitive banking products, even to those with past hiccups.
If you need a safe and secure place to store your savings, the CIT Bank Savings Connect is the perfect account for you. It’s rare to find a second chance account that offers as many benefits as the Savings Connect.
Savings Connect is FDIC-insured, meaning that up to $250,000 of your account funds are safe in the event of a bank failure. It also has no monthly service fees and reimburses up to $30 in ATM fees at just about any ATM in the country.
Apart from these basic features, Savings Connect also helps your money grow by offering an amazing interest rate of up to 0.50% APY, which is around 8 times the national average. To qualify, all you need to do is link an eChecking account and set up an automatic monthly deposit of $200 or more. This deposit is optional. Even if you do not make this deposit, you can still earn an amazing rate of 0.42% APY.
Chime is a financial technology company that offers modern, competitive checking and savings solutions. The good news is that Chime completely ignores your ChexSystems history when you apply for one of their products.
For a great all-around checking account, apply for the Chime Spending Account. Chime believes that banking should be as accessible as possible, and so their Spending Account comes with no minimum balance requirements, no monthly fees, and great overdraft protection. In fact, their SpotMe feature lets you overdraft up to $200 without overdraft fees.
The Chime Savings Account is a great option to be used alongside the Chime Spending Account. If you have both accounts, you can configure Chime to automatically round up all of your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar, and deposit that difference into your savings. Many past clients have found this to be a great way to encourage additional saving.
BBVA (now PNC Bank) is known for being more lenient when considering your ChexSystems history. Thus, many of their products are considered second chance accounts that can help you rebuild your banking history.
PNC Bank’s flagship product is called VirtualWallet. It is an all-in-one checking and savings account that comes with basic online and mobile banking features, allowing you to manage your money from anywhere. The account has no minimum deposit requirement and no monthly service charges.
With VirtualWallet, you can take advantage of the vast array of features, such as the Calendar. This gives you a clean overview of all your upcoming automatic payments, such as for things like rent or utilities. You can also set up Low Cash Mode, which sends you alerts when your account drops below a certain balance.
Top 8 Local North Carolina Non-ChexSystems Banks
CIT Bank, Chime, and BBVA (PNC Bank) offer amazing accounts that you can easily apply for online. If you prefer visiting a local bank in North Carolina, here are 8 more suggestions.
Bank OZK operates in the American South, and is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. They have branches all over North Carolina, and offer second chance checking accounts to anyone with past ChexSystems records.
For most people, we like the regular OZK Checking account. After the $50 minimum initial deposit requirement, you can easily waive the $7 monthly fee by always keeping your account balance above $500. Don’t forget to sign up for eStatements as well to waive the $2 paper statement fee.
- Address: 119 W Center St, Lexington, NC 27292
- Phone: (336) 249-0170
Benchmark Community Bank
Benchmark Community Bank (BCB) serves a local cluster of clients in North Carolina and Virginia. They are a non-ChexSystems bank, meaning they won’t consider your ChexSystems record when you apply for their accounts.
For those trying to get reacquainted with banking, the best option by far is the BCB Free checking account. After the $100 initial deposit fee, the account lives up to its name: there are no minimum balance requirements, no service fees, and no special requirements, making it truly a free account.
- Address: 12335 Wake Union Church Road, #206, Wake Forest, NC 27587
- Phone: (919) 556-5972
Charlotte Metro Credit Union
Charlotte Metro Credit Union is a local institution with over a dozen locations and many ATMs around the city of Charlotte. Their North Trade Street location has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 among 22 Google reviews.
Charlotte Metro Credit Union offers a Fresh Start Checking account to anyone with past ChexSystems records. The account comes with no minimum deposit requirement if you’re a member, unlimited check writing, and automatic overdraft protection. It does have a low $6.95 monthly fee.
- Address: 435 N Trade St, Matthews, NC 28105
- Phone: (704) 375-0183
North of the Charlotte metro area, F&M Bank offers non-ChexSystems banking to residents in Concord, Salisbury, Rockwell, and more. They use TeleCheck for screening instead of ChexSystems.
With their Choice Checking account, there are no minimum balance requirements. The monthly fee of $5 is waived if you use your free debit card 10 times per month. You also get three free non-F&M Bank ATM withdrawals per month, and free withdrawals at any F&M ATM.
- Address: 138 N Salisbury GQ Ave, Granite Quarry, NC 28072
- Phone: (704) 279-7291
Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third Bank is one of the larger banks in North Carolina, with many locations scattered throughout the state. They offer second chance accounts to those with previous ChexSystems blemishes.
The Fifth Third Momentum Checking account does not require a minimum opening deposit, and has no minimum balance requirements in general. You also get unlimited check writing with no monthly service fees. If you need help with budgeting on top of checking, try their Fifth Third Express Banking program.
- Address: 141 Williamson Rd, Mooresville, NC 28117
- Phone: (704) 664-4499
Members Credit Union
Members Credit Union does not use ChexSystems to screen new applicants. Instead, as is typical of most credit unions, they do a credit pull. They are rated relatively highly by locals, with their Winston-Salem location having a 4.4 out of 5 rating among 146 Google reviews.
Their Checking Account is great as a second chance account, as it comes with free online and mobile banking and overdraft protection. There is a small monthly fee, but this is waived if you have at least a $25 balance on the last day of each month. As an added bonus, you even get to earn monthly dividends on your balance.
- Address: 2098 Frontis Plaza Blvd A, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
- Phone: (336) 748-4800
Navy Federal Credit Union
For active or retired members of the military, Navy Federal Credit Union is one of the best options. They have a few locations in major North Carolina cities such as Raleigh.
If you’re currently active duty, the Free Active Duty Checking allows you to access your pay 1 day earlier and earns a 0.05% APY. Otherwise, the Free Easy Checking offers a similar set of features, with no monthly service fees or minimum balance requirements. Both accounts also earn a monthly dividend.
- Address: 6011 Poyner Village Pkwy Suite 101, Raleigh, NC 27616
- Phone: (888) 842-6328
United Bank is a non-ChexSystems bank that does not check your past banking history or credit report. This makes them a great option for North Carolinians with past financial struggles.
United Bank’s Free Checking account requires a $50 opening deposit to get started, but there are no monthly charges or minimum balance requirements after that. After you’re able to accumulate some savings, consider upgrading to their Rewards Checking.
- Address: 11 13th Ave NE, Hickory, NC 28601
- Phone: (828) 322-1912
How Does ChexSystems Work?
ChexSystems is a consumer agency that stores and reports information about your past banking history. Banks cooperate with ChexSystems by reporting negative items such as the following:
- Bounced checks
- Accounts closed with an outstanding balance
- Account, card, or ATM abuse
ChexSystems takes this negative information and generates a ChexSystems score for each consumer. This score ranges from 100 to 899, with a lower score indicating more negative items and higher risk.
Approximately 80% of all banks use ChexSystems, meaning that they pull your ChexSystems score when you apply for a new account. Thus, if your score is too low, you could be automatically denied at most commercial banks in the US.
How Do You Get Around ChexSystems?
Negative items can stay on your ChexSystems report for up to five years. However, five years is much too long for you to wait to get a checking account. To get around ChexSystems, you should consider one of the non-ChexSystems or second chance banks that we’ve recommended in this article.
You could also submit a dispute to ChexSystems. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), ChexSystems must investigate your disputes. However, the dispute process can take a long time. If you do want to submit a dispute, we still recommend signing up for a non-ChexSystems bank account in the meantime.
If I Owe a Bank Money, Can I Still Open a New Account?
Just about any bank will have a restriction where you cannot open a new account with them if you currently owe them money. If you try to open an account with a different bank, and that bank uses ChexSystems, they will also be aware of this unpaid balance. This can make it difficult for you to get approved.
However, this is why it’s important to choose a non-ChexSystems or second chance bank instead in these scenarios. This effectively means the bank is unaware of your past unpaid balance, making it possible for you to open a new account with them.
Is Getting a Non-ChexSystems or Second Chance Account Worth It?
If you can’t get a regular checking account, getting a non-ChexSystems or second chance account is definitely worth it. A checking account still provides many benefits, including the following:
- A safe place to keep your money. A bank account’s primary function is to secure your money. By putting your money in a bank, you won’t have to bring cash around, which is easily misplaced. Also, most bank accounts are FDIC-insured, meaning that your money is safe even if your bank goes bankrupt.
- Access to useful banking features. Features as simple as being able to see your overall balance and transaction history is a huge plus, especially if you want to take better care of your finances. There is an endless list of other features that you could find useful, such as direct deposit, a free debit card, and low balance alerts.
- Potential to upgrade to regular checking. Non-ChexSystems or second chance accounts may come with a limited list of features. However, after a few months of good standing, most banks will let you upgrade to a regular checking account. Apart from unlocking more advanced features, these accounts also usually pay an interest rate on your balance, allowing your savings to grow more over time.
Of course, the other benefit to getting an account is the opportunity to repair your past banking history. This can allow you to open any checking or savings account you want in the future without worrying about being denied.
What Should I Look For in a Non-ChexSystems or Second Chance Account?
Different banks offer different account benefits. When comparing non-ChexSystems and second chance accounts, we recommend focusing on the following features:
- FDIC insurance. You’ll want to make sure at least up to $250,000 of your money is secure in the event of a bank failure.
- A debit card. Your account should definitely come with a free debit card. This also lets you withdraw cash from ATMs.
- Low or no monthly fees. Avoid monthly service fees if possible. If you must pay a fee, look for accounts with a monthly fee of $10 or lower. In addition, check to see if your bank has a set of criteria you can satisfy in order to waive their monthly fee.
- Overdraft protection. You should avoid overdrafting on your account at all costs. However, just in case you do, overdraft protection can help cover you and prevent you from paying unnecessary fees.
You can also consider the account interest rate as another factor. Some of the best accounts, such as the CIT Bank Savings Connect, come with a high-yield interest rate that can help you compound your savings quickly.
Best Practices For Managing Your Checking Account
Start off your account on the right foot by following these best practices:
- Check your balance often. Staying aware of your balance can help you avoid overdrafting or mishandling your money.
- Review your bank statements. Every month, review your bank statement to verify that all the transactions were made by you. If you notice anything suspicious, report it to your bank immediately.
- Use banking alerts. It can be useful to set up an alert every time you make a transaction with your account. This can help you stay on top of transactions and notify you if your balance is low.
Conclusion and Next Steps
North Carolina residents have many options when it comes to non-ChexSystems and second chance bank accounts. In this article, we’ve shared 11 of the top options for you to consider.
We highly recommend reaching out to CIT Bank to start, specifically their Savings Connect account. It will help you get back on your feet financially, while providing an opportunity for you to secure your hard-earned money and earn a high-interest yield on top of it.
Our Top Pick for Banks that Don't Use ChexSystems is CIT Bank.
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About the Author
Chris Morgan is a credit expert, who 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.