Whether itâs angling the perfect shot in a game of pool or telling a crush how you really feel, everyone wishes they could have a second chance from time to timeâand money matters are no exception. Sometimes in life, things just â¦ happen. And sometimes, those circumstances can wreak havoc on our personal finances in a lasting way.
You probably already know that bureaus like Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax track your credit history. But you might not know that consumer reporting agencies track your banking history, too. And in the same way that having a poor credit history can hurt your chances of receiving credit in the future, having a poor checking history can make it harder to get a bank account.
checking account interest rates are notoriously low, itâs unlikely your second chance checking account will grow any interest at all.
Thatâs why, as when opening any other kind of bank account, itâs important to review the fine print closely to ensure you know what youâre getting into before you apply. If you need to use paper checks to pay rent, for example, an account where theyâre not allowed wonât workâand there are other accounts available that will offer the service you need.
free checking account: the bank will ask for a variety of personal information, and you may be asked to verify your identity with a form of official identification like a driverâs license or Social Security card.
These days, these applications can usually be done entirely online. Depending on the institution, you may be required to put down a minimum initial deposit, but in many cases, the account will be 100% free; it may take a few business days to process your application, and then youâre in!
Once youâve opened a second chance checking account, you can use it as normal to pay bills, restaurant tabs, and grocery store totalsâwhatever expenses come up in your day-to-day life. Meanwhile, the negative items that might be on your ChexSystems report will slowly vanish. Most records fall off after five years.
Consumers also have the right, under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, to request a free ChexSystem report once a year. A request can be made by phone, mail, fax, or online form, allowing review of the report for any incorrect negative items and disputing them.
Dispute investigations are generally complete in a month, at which point the reportee will receive a letter in the mail notifying them of the results.
Thus, over time, itâs possible to clean up a ChexSystems recordâwhich can unlock the ability to pursue other types of banking services, including high-interest deposit accounts.
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Pros and Cons of a Second Chance Account
While second chance checking accounts do provide a valuable service to those who would otherwise be unable to find banking services, there are some drawbacks to these accounts as well. Here are the pros and cons of second chance checking accounts.
• Allows clients to use a checking account even without perfect banking history.
• Gives account holders time to rebuild their banking history and let items fall off their ChexSystems report.
• In many cases, second chance checking accounts are free and donât require a minimum opening deposit.
• Some accounts may assess monthly fees and minimum opening depositsâand may not offer waivers.
• The account may have limited capabilities (such as an inability to use paper checks or to access overdraft protection).
• The account is unlikely to offer interest growth on account balances.
Alternatives to Second Chance Accounts
Second chance checking accounts are a solid option for those who might not be able to open a traditional checking account because of their banking history. But theyâre not the only alternative.
For example, many banks offer prepaid debit cards that can be used to pay bills and other expenses without using cash. It works like a gift card: Clients load the card with a certain amount of money, which they can then use as they see fit. The cards are aso reloadable, making them a fair option for working around the handicap of not having a bank account.
Whatâs more, many prepaid debit cards donât require a credit check to open, which makes them a viable choice for folks with poor credit histories as well as poor ChexSystems reports.
That said, prepaid debit cards often include a variety of feesâsuch as monthly maintenance fees, activation fees, and reloading feesâwhich can eat into the userâs balance and make them unsustainable for long-term use.
Others who find themselves unbanked might try to simply pay their way through life using cash; after all, you can get a paycheck cashed at the nearest major grocery store or Walmart, though the check-cashing services generally come with a fee.
Plus, many utility companies, landlords, and other bill collectors donât accept cash as payment. And if your cash is lost or stolen, thereâs no reliable way to get it back. Itâs gone.
This Digital Account Might Be an Answer
SoFi offers a product that can be helpful to anyone with dollars to manage..
SoFi MoneyÂ® is a cash management account that puts your finances under your control from the comfort of your smartphone or web browserâand it comes with no account fees, overdraft fees, or minimum opening deposit requirement. Better still, make recurring $500 monthly deposits to earn benefits that help you build your savings. And yes, SoFi also offers paper checks.
Interested in saving for your future? SoFi MoneyÂ® has a unique feature called vaults, which help you set aside cash for specific purposes.
The sign-up process can take as little as a minute and is all done online; once approved, a debit card arrives in the mail within 5-7 business days. (There are no ATM fees either, within the network of 55,000-plus worldwide locations).
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.
The SoFi MoneyÂ® Annual Percentage Yield as of 03/15/2020 is 0.20% (0.20% interest rate). Interest rates are variable subject to change at our discretion, at any time. No minimum balance required. SoFi doesnât charge any ATM fees and will reimburse ATM fees charged by other institutions when a SoFi Moneyâ¢ MastercardÂ® Debit Card is used at any ATM displaying the MastercardÂ®, PlusÂ®, or NYCEÂ® logo. SoFi reserves the right to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.
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