If you incur fees on any of your bank accounts and neglect to pay them, your bank will eventually close your account and report the debt you owe to Chexsystems. Chexsystems is a consumer reporting agency that maintains records of individuals who owe money to banks. Most banks will run your name through Chexsystems prior to approving your application for a new checking account. If your name is in the Chexsystems database, the bank will view you as a high risk and is likely to deny your application. There are ways, however, to get a bank account while in Chexsystems.
Contact Chexsystems and request a copy of your consumer report. As a consumer reporting agency, Chexsystems must adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act which entitles you to a free credit report each year. Review the information to ensure that it is accurate.
File a dispute with Chexsystems if any of the information noted on your file is inaccurate or incomplete. A successful dispute may result in your file being cleared prior to the expiration of the five-year reporting period. This will prevent your Chexsystems data from standing in the way of a new bank account.
Apply for a second-chance checking account. Second-chance checking accounts, such as the one offered by Household Bank, ignore your credit history and your Chexsystems record. Although second-chance checking accounts often come with restrictions, some banks will allow consumers to have these restrictions lifted and convert to a standard checking account after a probationary period.
Sign up for a “Get Checking” course. This six-hour course teaches debt management tactics to individuals who have ended up in Chexsystems and is often offered by credit counseling agencies. Once you have passed the class and paid off the original bank debt that you owed, you may be able to get a new checking account regardless of your status in the Chexsystem database. This, however, is up to your bank. Check with the bank beforehand to ensure that it will permit you to open up a new account after you present the certificate proving you completed the course.
Speak with the bank manager about your situation and how you ended up in Chexsystems. If you have made an honest effort to repay your debt and can convince the bank manager that your presence within the system is due to an honest mistake, he may override standard bank policy and allow you to open an account.
Paying off the debt you owe will not remove you from the Chexsystems database. You will be removed automatically after five years.
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