If you find yourself on ChexSystems, you may experience a difficult time opening or being added to a checking account. But, there are ways to still obtain a checking account with a negative entry. In most situations, you will be required to handle the the negative entry before being offered an account with a bank that uses ChexSystems. Bank policies on this vary greatly, so it’s best to check with your financial institution to determine what needs to be done prior to trying then being rejected.
Depending on the bank, it may be possible to be added to another person's bank account even if you are on ChexSystems. Most of the time, however, you'll either be required to clear up the negative that got you on the ChexSystems or apply for a second-chance checking account instead.
What Is ChexSystems?
ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency that operates under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Information contained on your ChexSystems report comes from financial institutions that report on your financial activities and banking habits. Other financial institutions are then able to access the information contained in these reports to determine and assess your risk. If you have an established history of writing bad checks, frequently overdrawing your account or closing an account with a negative balance, then you may find yourself with a negative ChexSystems report. But not every bank reports to ChexSystems, just like not every credit card company reports to all three of the major credit bureaus.
When you go to open an account, or would like to be added to another person’s checking account, the bank may run a ChexSystems report run on you. If you have any negative reports, the bank can decide to deny you the account, impose restrictions or offer you a different type of account, such as a second-chance checking account. You will need to call the bank’s customer service number to speak with a representative about the policies in place if you suspect you may have a negative report on ChexSystems. Because negative entries can remain on your report for up to five years, it could be in your best interest to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
You’re On ChexSystems, Now What?
Every year, you are able to access a free copy of your consumer report and the ChexSystems' website details how you can do this. Once you have a copy of your report, you can then handle any negative entries that could stand in the way of you opening or being added to someone's checking account. If you feel as though there are errors on your ChexSystems report, you can find out how to dispute these entries on the ChexSystems website as well.
Everyone needs a second chance sometimes, and some banks or credit unions will work with consumers who have found themselves on the wrong side of ChexSystems. These banks and credit unions either do not use ChexSystems to assess the risk of potential customers, or they do not heavily factor a negative ChexSystems entry into the decision of whether or not to give you an account. U.S. Bank is an example of a well-established, nationwide bank that may open accounts for those with negative ChexSystems entries. There are also other, regional banks that do not use ChexSystems, such as United Bank. Its free checking account may be a good choice for those living in Washington D.C., West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Philadelphia and Ohio.
Tara Thomas is a Los Angeles-based writer and avid world traveler. Her articles appear in various online publications, including Sapling, PocketSense, Zacks, Livestrong, Modern Mom and SF Gate. Thomas has a Bachelor of Science in marine biology from California State University, Long Beach and spent 10 years as a mortgage consultant.