checking account, prepaid cards, credit cards, secured credit cards, ChexSystems
   Benefits of a Bank Account for Everyone checking account, prepaid cards, credit cards, secured credit cards, ChexSystems

If you have been rejected by banks when opening a checking account or bank account, then you're probably listed in ChexSystems®, a negative database that tracks individuals who are blacklisted for up to 5 years from the banking system. You may have overdrawn previous checking accounts or didn’t pay off non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees, and had your checking account closed.

However, there are checking and bank account alternatives that will let you bank again.

Prepaid cards
A basic Visa® or MasterCard® debit account that allows you to load funds onto a prepaid card, and use the card to pay for transactions.  These accounts are open to anyone, even if you are in ChexSystems.

Online check-less checking accounts
All the features of a regular bank account, but designed for the unbanked and individuals in ChexSystems. Often including a debit card and online banking/bill payment privileges.  Because these checking accounts restrict paper check writing, not only are your transactions paid faster, but you also eliminate the risk of bouncing checks and getting charged NSF fees.

Secured credit cards
A Visa or MasterCard secured credit card is a special type of credit card designed to help you rebuild your credit by putting an advance deposit where the issuer can provide you with credit "secured" by that deposit.  These cards are open to those who pass the issuer's underwriting criteria and sends in the required deposit.

Try any of the links on this page to get the benefits of a bank account.

 

checking account, prepaid cards, credit cards, secured credit cards, ChexSystems
checking account, prepaid cards, credit cards, secured credit cards, ChexSystems

How do prepaid debit cards differ from bank debit and credit cards?

In the 1970s when banks first started issuing ATM cards, they were limited in their functionality and convenience. Unlike credit cards, ATM cards could only access cash from automatic teller machines at bank locations, and only by using a PIN. In the 1980s, banks began linking their debit cards to consumer checking accounts. Debit cards became more flexible as supermarkets, gas stations and convenience stores started accepting these cards for payment.

In the 1990s, Visa and MasterCard joined with banks to issue bank debit cards, checking account check cards and prepaid cards with their logos. With this association, debit card users finally gained the functionality and convenience that could only previously be accessed with traditional credit cards. Debit cards could now be used at virtually any credit card terminal without needing a PIN.

The benefit to consumers is the ability to pay for transactions without incurring debt, since the funds come directly out of their checking accounts. Merchants love debit card transactions because payment is immediate without worry of bounced checks or the delay in cashing checks, while having minimal transaction fees. Employers also benefit from prepaid cards, as they work great as direct deposit payroll cards.  For the employee with the prepaid card, it was like having an employer-funded checking account.

Prepaid debit cards differ from bank debit and ATM cards in that they do not need a PIN for non-ATM transactions. It works like a bank debit card in that the "credit line" on the prepaid card is the amount loaded on the card. Funds are withdrawn from the account until the balance is zero. The difference is that prepaid card funds are not attached to a checking account, rather a balance loaded on the card. Many prepaid debit cards can be reloaded, and are accepted anywhere Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepted.

Prepaid debit cards differ from credit cards in that they do not extend credit. They are also available to nearly anyone who can load funds onto the card and do not require a credit check for approval. These are great options for individuals with poor or insufficient credit, and for those who want to be able to control their spending better.

Prepaid debit cards differ from secured credit cards in the same ways as with traditional credit cards. However, the difference between secured credit cards and regular credit cards is that secured credit cards require a deposit that the "credit line" is extended from, while regular cards extend credit based on the individual's credit history and the card issuer's confidence in the cardholder's ability to pay.

 

checking account, prepaid cards, credit cards, secured credit cards, ChexSystems

Should I get a prepaid card?

MasterCard and/or Visa prepaid cards work just like regular credit cards. No one will know the difference except you. These accounts are easy to open, easy to "load" with funds, have no interest charges, will keep you from building debt, and can be used anywhere Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepted.

However, the disadvantage to just a prepaid card is that you're limited to transactions with businesses that can accept credit cards. Paying bills or rent may be difficult if impossible with a prepaid card. To get around this, we recommend opening a checking account. For individuals in ChexSystems who are unable to open traditional checking accounts, there are alternatives, which give you the same functionality as a bank account, but eliminate the risk of bouncing checks and the excessive costs of NSF fees.

 

Get the benefits of a checking account now, even if you are in ChexSystems.