4 Credit Unions That Don’t Use ChexSystems Listed (Plus Those That Do)

Many credit unions use ChexSystems to screen potential members, and they may turn you down for an account if your ChexSystems report is negative. However, there are a few credit unions that do not pull ChexSystems reports — these include Unify Financial Credit Union, Navy Federal Credit Union, Corporate America Family Credit Union, and Consumers Credit Union.

ChexSystems is similar to a credit reporting agency, but rather than focusing on your credit, it focuses on your banking activity — specifically, your checking and savings accounts. Banks and credit unions use ChexSystem to screen people who want to open accounts to help assess the risk of extending financial services and/or credit to these customers.

ChexSystems uses a scoring system similar to a credit report. Scores can go up to 100, with higher scores representing more positive banking activity and a better chance of being approved for opening an account. Things that can lower your ChexSystems score include excessive numbers of bounced checks, accounts that have been closed owing money to the bank, any fraudulent activity, and opening accounts under assumed names. If you are trying to join a credit union that uses ChexSystems, consider requesting a copy of your report from ChexSystems’ Consumer Disclosure page.

How Do Credit Union Memberships Work?

Credit unions offer checking and savings accounts, issue loans, and provide most of the services that banks offer. Unlike banks, which are open to anyone, credit unions are not-for-profit, member-owned institutions. Because they are not focused on profits, they can offer lower interest rates on loans, higher rates on savings accounts, and other benefits to their members.

While banks have customers, credit unions have members. This means there are membership requirements for joining a credit union and using its services.

Credit union members generally share some sort of common bond — the same employer or profession, the same geographic area, the same place of worship, or another commonality. When a credit union has one of these types of membership criteria, you must meet them in order to join.

There are also some credit unions with relaxed membership requirements that may be open to anyone. These relaxed requirements often have to do with charitable donations or charity organization memberships. For example, Alliant Credit Union’s membership is open to anyone who meets standard requirements and donates $10 to Foster Care for Success. Similarly, Mountain America Credit Union is open to anyone who meets standard requirements and is a dues-paying member of the American Consumer Council.

However, if you meet the basic requirements for joining a credit union, there is a chance that you could still be turned away if the credit union uses ChexSystems and your report has excessive negative marks.

We’ve Done the Comparing for You — Here’s What We Recommend

For a credit union that virtually anyone can join (if all basic membership requirements are met) and that does not use ChexSystems, consider Unify Financial Credit Union. It offers comparable services and fees to other credit unions, and membership is not contingent on your employer or geographic location.

Another good option for a non-ChexSystems credit union is Navy Federal Credit Union. It offers a wide range of services with notably low fees, and while it has specific military-related membership qualifications, many people qualify as military family members, veterans, government employees, etc.

The following table includes the credit unions that do and do not use ChexSystems. You can use it for a quick comparison of membership eligibility and available accounts, then click any credit union or scroll for more information about account terms.

Credit Union Uses ChexSystems? Membership Availability Account Types/Services
Unify Financial Credit Union No Must be a U.S. citizen with valid ID and SSN Checking, savings, money market accounts, youth savings, retirement accounts, loans, insurance, credit cards, etc.
Navy Federal Credit Union No Must be active-duty military, veteran, government or civilian employees, family member, etc. Checking, savings, money market accounts, youth savings, retirement accounts, loans, insurance, credit cards, etc.
Corporate America Family Credit Union No Employer-based Fresh Start Checking
Consumers Credit Union No Must live, work, worship, or study in Michigan's Lower Peninsula Checking, savings, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, youth accounts, retirement accounts, loans, etc.
Alliant Credit Union Yes Must donate $10 to Foster Care for Success, live in Chicago, be related to a member; also available through select employers Checking, savings, certificates of deposit, custodial accounts, retirement accounts, loans, credit cards, insurance, etc.
Connexus Credit Union Yes Must donate $5 to the Connexus Association, work for a supported company, or live in a supported community Checking, savings, money market accounts, retirement accounts, health savings accounts, loans, credit cards, etc.
Mountain America Credit Union Yes Must be an American Consumer Council member or live in select counties in Utah Checking, savings, money market accounts, youth accounts, retirement accounts, 401(k) options, loans, credit cards, etc.
PenFed Credit Union Yes Must be a member of Voices for America's Troops, National Military Family Foundation; also available for military members and families Checking, savings, money market accounts, loans, credit cards, etc.
Chartway Federal Credit Union Yes Must donate $10 to the We Promise Foundation or live, work, or worship in a branch area Checking, savings, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, retirement accounts, loans, credit cards, etc.

Credit Unions That Don’t Use ChexSystems

If you suspect you might be denied an account with ChexSystems, it’s useful to know which credit unions don’t pull a ChexSystems report for new customers. Below, we list the credit unions that do not use ChexSystems to process new checking and savings account members, ordered starting with the best overall credit union options. We confirmed this information using the credit unions’ online account disclosures and by contacting customer service.

Unify Financial Credit Union

  • Membership eligibility: You can apply if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid ID and Social Security number, as well as an active debit or credit card. It has locations in many states.
  • Available accounts: Checking, savings, money market accounts, youth savings, retirement accounts, loans, insurance, credit cards, and more
  • Opening deposit requirements: Between $5 and $25 for most accounts; $2,000 for Premier Checking
  • Monthly fees: Between $1 and $20 for most accounts (can be waived if you meet certain conditions); none for Free Checking or Youth Savings
  • Overdraft fee: $30
  • ATM withdrawal fee: No fees for withdrawals from Unify or Co-op Shared Branch ATMs; first three withdrawals per month from non-Unity or Co-op ATMs are free, with fees of $1 for each withdrawal per month thereafter
  • Find out more or apply
  • Membership eligibility: Available to active-duty Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard personnel; Delayed Entry Program members; Army and Air National Guard members, Department of Defense (DoD) Officer Candidate/ROTC members, civilian and government employees, retirees, and annuitants; all veterans, military retirees, and annuitants; and their family members.
  • Available accounts: Checking, savings, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, retirement accounts, loans, credit cards, and more
  • Opening deposit requirements: Vary
  • Monthly fees: Typically none (may need to set up direct deposit)
  • Overdraft fee: $20, except on amounts of $5 or less, or if the total amount overdrawn is less than $15 at the close of the business day
  • ATM withdrawal fee: None
  • Find out more or apply

Corporate America Family Credit Union (CAFCU)

Note: CAFCU offers the Fresh Start Checking program that does not use ChexSystems, specifically for those with poor checking account histories. All other checking account types require sufficient ChexSystems scores. The following information applies to Fresh Start Checking accounts.

  • Membership eligibility: CAFCU is employer-based and has 700 member companies nationwide, with locations in several states.
  • Available accounts: Fresh Start Checking (others use ChexSystems)
  • Opening deposit requirements: $100
  • Monthly fees: $10
  • Overdraft fee: $39
  • ATM withdrawal fee: Free for the first seven withdrawals per month; $2.50 per withdrawal thereafter
  • Find out more or apply

Consumers Federal Credit Union

  • Membership eligibility: Must live, work, worship, or attend college in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula
  • Available accounts: Checking, savings, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, youth accounts, retirement accounts, loans, and more
  • Opening deposit requirements: Varies (between $5 and $25 for checking and savings accounts)
  • Monthly fees: None for active accounts
  • Overdraft fee: $35
  • ATM withdrawal fee: None
  • Find out more or apply

Credit Unions That Do Use ChexSystems

The credit unions listed below use ChexSystems to verify potential members’ banking activity history before making a membership decision. If you have a good ChexSystems score, you have nothing to worry about. If your score is less than stellar, these credit unions may deny you an account. As above, we’ve ordered these credit unions starting with the best overall option.

Alliant Credit Union

  • Membership eligibility: Open to anyone who donates $10 to Foster Care for Success; who lives or works in near the Corporate Headquarters in Chicago, IL; who is an immediate family member of an Alliant member; or who is an employee or member of select organizations.
  • Available accounts: Checking, savings, certificates of deposit, custodial accounts, retirement accounts, loans, credit cards, insurance, and more
  • Opening deposit requirements: None for most checking and savings accounts
  • Monthly fees: Typically none
  • Overdraft fee: $25
  • ATM withdrawal fee: None
  • Find out more or apply

Connexus Credit Union

  • Membership eligibility: Open to anyone who donates $5 to the Connexus Association; is an employee or retiree of Connexus-supported companies; or resides in a Connexus-supported community.
  • Available accounts: Checking, savings, money market accounts, retirement accounts, health savings accounts, loans, credit cards, and more
  • Opening deposit requirements: Vary
  • Monthly fees: Typically none
  • Overdraft fee: $29.95
  • ATM withdrawal fee: Free for the first four withdrawals per month; $2 per withdrawal thereafter
  • Find out more or apply

Mountain America Credit Union (MACU)

  • Membership eligibility: Open to anyone who is a member of the American Consumer Council ($5 to join; $15 for lifetime membership) or who lives in Salt Lake County, Duchesne County, and select areas of Wasatch and Uintah Counties in Utah.
  • Available accounts: Checking, savings, money market accounts, youth accounts, retirement accounts, 401(k) options, loans, credit cards, and more
  • Opening deposit requirements: Vary
  • Monthly fees: $4 for most checking accounts; waived when you meet direct deposit and/or minimum balance requirements
  • Overdraft fee: $20
  • ATM withdrawal fee: No fees for MACU or Co-op Shared Branch ATMs; $2.50 fees for non-MACU or Co-op ATMs
  • Find out more or apply

PenFed Credit Union

  • Membership eligibility: Open to anyone who is a member of Voices For America’s Troops ($17 annually) or the National Military Family Foundation ($17 donation); who is a member of the U.S. Military or federal government employees; or who lives in select areas or works for select organizations.
  • Available accounts: Checking, savings, money market accounts, loans, credit cards, and more
  • Opening deposit requirements: Vary
  • Monthly fees: $10 for checking; waived if you set up direct deposit or meet minimum balance requirements
  • Overdraft fee: $30
  • ATM withdrawal fee: Free for PenFed ATMs; $1.50 for non-PenFed ATMs
  • Find out more or apply

Chartway Federal Credit Union

  • Membership eligibility: Open to anyone who makes a $10 donation to the We Promise Foundation or lives, works and/or worships in one of their main branch service areas.
  • Available accounts: Checking, savings, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, retirement accounts, loans, credit cards, and more
  • Opening deposit requirements: Vary
  • Monthly fees: $6 for checking accounts; can be waived with direct deposit or meeting minimum balance/purchase requirements
  • Overdraft fee: $30
  • ATM withdrawal fee: Free at Chartway ATMs; $1 at non-Chartway ATMs
  • Find out more or apply

Disputing Your ChexSystems Report

A low score with ChexSystems may make it difficult to open a new checking or savings account at most financial institutions. If you’ve been denied an account due to ChexSystems, you can obtain a copy of your consumer report from ChexSystems’ Consumer Disclosure page. It is possible that there may be errors in your report that are preventing you from getting approved at your desired bank or credit union.

You can dispute your ChexSystems report if you don’t believe the information is complete or accurate. For more information about the disputing process, visit the Dispute Information page on the ChexSystems website.

In Summary

While non-ChexSystems credit unions exist, many do use ChexSystems to verify membership. If you have excessive negative marks on your ChexSystems report, consider applying to join Unify Financial Credit Union or Navy Federal Credit Union. Unify offers broad membership qualifications, and Navy Federal Credit Union offers some of the lowest fees on its accounts. If you are applying for a credit union that uses ChexSystems and you find errors on your report, you can dispute the consumer information in the report to hopefully clear up the issue.

For more about ChexSystems, we also have the list of banks that don’t use ChexSystems.

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