Were you recently denied a checking or savings account at a financial institution? Unless it was a direct result of your credit rating, chances are there’s an issue with your ChexSystems report. But what is ChexSystems, and how do banks use it to make decisions on who gets approved for accounts and who doesn’t? More importantly, is it possible to clean up your act so you can open new bank accounts? The good news is a negative ChexSystems report isn’t a death sentence with regards to qualifying for a new bank account. And in this guide, we’ll answer the questions posed above and walk through a step-by-step process detailing how to get out of ChexSystems.
What Is ChexSystems?
In a nutshell, ChexSystems is the credit bureau of banks. It operates as a specialty consumer reporting agency by compiling negative banking data attributed to specific individuals into a report that can be reviewed by financial institutions to determine how much of a risk he or she poses to the bank.
The information furnishers are the financial institutions that the consumers do business with. And the negative items reported include but are not limited to bounced checks, recurring overdraft fees, and involuntary account closures that are the direct result of a long-standing negative balance or excessive fees.
As mentioned earlier, all the data gathered from financial institutions can be found on your ChexSystems Report. And if you’ve been turned away for checking or savings account, it’s not a bad idea to request your report sooner than later to determine the cause for the denial. But even if you haven’t been turned away but are planning to apply for an account in the near future and are interested in what information is in your report, you should also peruse your report to ensure it’s accurate and free of errors.
To retrieve a free copy of your report:
- Visit ChexSystems.com and complete the online Consumer Disclosure questionnaire.
- Call 1-800-428-9623 to request a copy or have any questions you may have about ChexSystems reports answered by phone.
Either option should only take a few minutes, and you can expect to receive a hard copy of your ChexSystems Consumer Disclosure report by mail in five business days or less.
Another way to get a free copy of your report is if you’re denied for a bank account on the grounds of what’s in your Consumer Disclosure report.
A Four-Step Process to Get Out of ChexSystems
Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and do what it takes to get out of ChexSystems? Below is a fairly-straightforward four-step process to get you moving in the right direction.
Dealing with Errors
- Step 1: Analyze your Consumer Disclosure Report again and highlight or circle any incorrect information that catches your attention. It doesn’t hurt to give the report a few looks to confirm you didn’t miss anything.
- Step 2: Highlight or circle any items listed on your report that should not be presented because they’ve surpassed the five-year reporting timeline.
- Step 3: Retrieve a “Request for Investigation” form from the ChexSystems website. Print it out and complete it in its entirety.
- Step 4: Gather any documentation that will help you substantiate your claim.
- Step 5: Submit the “Request for Investigation”, along with the supporting documents gathered in step four via mail or fax.
If you choose to mail in your dispute package, be sure to send it via certified mail with a return receipt so you can confirm when it is received. From that point, you must receive a written response within 30-days or the item(s) in question must be removed from your ChexSystems’ Consumer Disclosure Report.
Dealing with Negative, But Accurate Information
Has a string of past financial missteps landed you in ChexSystems, leaving you with a tarnished report? Even if you’ve turned a new leaf, you will still have to plead your case to the banker or let the entries age off your report if you’re having trouble getting approved for checking or savings accounts.
A better option: try filing a dispute to determine if the bank will bother responding to your request. You may find that they don’t and you’ll be off the hook. Or you can request a removal of the negative information on the grounds of turning a new leaf financially or in exchange for payment. More on that shortly.
How to Handle Denied Dispute Requests
In the event your request for a dispute is denied, you have a few options. For starters, you can choose to let the negative entries run their course for five years and try again at that point. Many who choose this route turn to Non-ChexSystems or Second Chance Banking options. Credit unions and community banks may also be open to doing business with you as they generally have less stringent qualification criteria.
You can also step it up a notch by taking your previous dispute and beefing it up with additional details to make a stronger case. If you choose to do so, it doesn’t hurt to include more supporting documentation as well if you have it on hand.
Another way to handle denied dispute requests is by reaching out to the financial institution that reported the negative data and requesting that they remove it. You may need to offer some form of payment if the account was negative at the time it closed, but simply making a request and explaining your reasoning may be enough to get them to act.
What If You Don’t Receive a Response from ChexSystems?
As mentioned earlier, information tied to disputes must be removed if you don’t receive a response within 30 days. However, it’s possible that your dispute slipped through the cracks or ChexSystems still hasn’t received a response from the information furnisher, or the bank.
While you have the right to escalate your complaint in the court of law, a better option is to contact ChexSystems to follow-up. If they still fail to issue a written response, it may be worthwhile to communicate your intent to sue them in the court of law. This should be enough to evoke a response.
The Bottom Line
While it’s possible to get out of ChexSystems sooner than later, you must be prepared to do the legwork to give yourself the best chance of getting the results you seek. This is particularly true if the data in your report is negative but true and hasn’t quite reached the five-year threshold. But if all else fails, you can always ask the branch manager or lead banker for an override to open an account or explore comparable options elsewhere.