Can a Felon Get a Bank Account
We get the question "Can a Felon Get a Bank Account" and here's what you need to know!

elisabeth samuels

Date Published: February 16, 2022
Digital Consumer

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A rather popular question we see online is Can a Felon Get a Bank Account and the answer is yes.

As long as the felony or conviction is not related to financial crimes, such a money laundering or banking identity theft, the felony or conviction itself should not make opening a bank account any different than a non-felon.

In most cases, a Felon can absolutely get a bank account, but there are stipulations to be aware of.

When anyone applies for a bank account, whether they are a felon or not, they will need to complete a banking application which includes:

  • Legal Name
  • Date of Birth (DOB)
  • Current address along with a current utility bill showing their name on the address or a current rental agreement for current residence
  • Social Security Number
  • Primary identification such as a driver’s license or state-issued ID Card

This information is not only used to identify you when you do open an account, but it is used to perform what the banks call a ChexSystems report.

A ChexSystem report is not the same as a credit report or credit check.

A ChexSystem report is how banks gain insight into an applicants banking history.

If the applicant has had any instances of accounts being closed for cause, such as the mishandling of accounts, overdrawn accounts, bounced checks, or if you’ve been suspected of bank fraud, they can then refuse the application to open a bank account.

Furthermore, there will be a section on the bank application that asks you whether or not you have been convicted of a felony or other crime.

Lying on this portion of the application is actually a crime and is punishable by jail time.

If you are already a convicted felon, the last thing you want to do is lie and get caught and have more convictions added to your record.

The bank asks this question because they really want to know if you’ve been convicted of any financial crimes that could make you a risky applicant.

In other words, felon or not, the following items could get your bank application denied:

  • No current address or record of current address
  • No primary ID type such as driver’s license or state issued ID
  • No SSN or other government issued number
  • The result of a Negative ChexSystem report showing mishandling of previous bank accounts
  • Felony or convictions related to financial crimes or identity theft
  • Lying on a bank application
  • Too many accounts applied for over a short period of time

If you apply for a bank account and get denied but feel that it was done in error, you could request to see a copy of your ChexSystems report.

Although rare, errors do occur.

For example, you may have been confused with someone who has a similar or same name as you or perhaps there was a clerical error that needs to be corrected.

If you are a felon and still find it hard to secure a bank account, you may want to consider applying for a second-chance bank account.

Lastly, if possible you could try to get your record expunged.

In most cases, you can apply to have your criminal record expunged after a period of 7 – 10 years since your conviction has lapsed.