Several groups in our society are unable to open a checking account and access other banking services because of past life circumstances. To help address this situation, financial service providers are offering second chance banking. This program is designed to provide financial opportunities to unbanked individuals and formerly incarcerated people.
Second chance banking involves a special checking account that doesn’t require a background check of a person’s past banking history. This account has limited features to minimize potential fees and no minimum balance. For those who lack a US ID or Social Security number, a foreign ID or passport is accepted to access this service.
A major goal of second chance accounts is to build banking credibility. Once reliability is demonstrated over time, a person is then able to open a regular checking account. These accounts have a positive impact in low-income communities, where customers traditionally pay higher bank fees resulting in their account often being closed by the financial institution due to overdrafts.
In addition to making banking available to unbanked and underbanked consumers,
second chance banking also serves as an important step in financial freedom for formerly incarcerated people. A high percentage of these individuals were unbanked prior to their confinement, lack proper identification, or denied banking services due to their criminal history. Some who previously had an account may have had it closed due to inactivity or extensive fees.
The program also involves financial education to help a person build credit, save money, and achieve financial independence. A wide variety of banks, credit unions, community development financial institutions, minority depository institutions, and community-based non-profits are involved in second chance banking.
For additional information on second chance banking, click here.
- Have students talk to others to learn about difficulties they may have encountered with banking services.
- Have students create a visual summary (poster or slide presentation) to communicate how banking services are related to successful money management and financial planning.
- What are benefits of second chance banking for individuals, their community, and society?
- Describe actions you would recommend to a person in need of obtaining a bank account.