Have you ever attempted to open a banking account, only to be turned down? Beyond the undoubted embarrassment that such a situation created, it may also have given you pause to reflect on just why you were being considered too “risky” to be given an account. You may well have wondered if it was due to you having made some poor decision that ended up being reflected on your overall credit record. And, if so, you were correct. It’s all there on your file, waiting to bite you when you least expect it!
A bad credit score can cost you plenty of opportunities, from buying a house or a car to being able to open a checking account at your local bank. This is why it’s so important for you to exercise due caution and common sense in all of your banking transactions.
ChexSystems: Credit Bureau To The Banking World
ChexSystems operates as the credit watchdog of the banking industry. If you left a bank in New York under less than ideal circumstances, for example, without first paying off your overdraft fees, and then attempted to open a new account in Chicago, chances are good that that the bank in Chicago is going to turn down your application. Why? Because the bank in New York reported your delinquent behavior to ChexSystems, who then included the information in your account, which the bank in Chicago then accessed in order to determine whether to take you on as a client.
How Often Can You Access Your Personal ChexSystems Report?
All American citizens are entitled to access their credit history once a year. However, most Americans will likely only have an opportunity to read their ChexSystems credit report after having been rejected by a bank. This is because it will likely only occur to them to have a look at their report after the subject is painfully thrust before their eyes in this manner. However, before you make the move to a new city or simply move your account to a new bank, it’s an excellent idea to request a copy of your credit report, particularly your ChexSystems file.
What Does A ChexSystems Report Contain?
If you’ve never seen a ChexSystems report with your own eyes, you may well be wondering what exactly such a report contains. Here is a brief breakdown of its main features:
To begin with, your ChexSystems report will consist only of information reported by the banks you’ve dealt with. So, your ChexSystems report will therefore contain a full record of all of your dealings with every bank you’ve ever had an account with.
Next, your ChexSystems report will contain a full record of all actions that may have been initiated by consumer action groups, i.e., collection agencies looking to recover any debts you owe for unpaid utility bills, credit card default, and the like. If you’ve ever been called by a collections agent, you can rest assured there’s a record of that action on your report.
Your checking history will be there in full on your ChexSystems report. All the checks you’ve ever ordered from a bank, as well as any checks that have bounced, will be listed and noted. All payments that you’ve made by check, or with a bank issued debit card, will be noted there as well. If you’ve ever overdrawn a bank issued debit card, and had to be bailed out by the bank with money from your account, you’ll find a record of that action on your ChexSystems report.
Essentially, every action you’ve ever undertaken at a bank, whether issuing a check, adding or withdrawing money to your account, or being charged by your bank for a penalty of any sort, will be on your ChexSystems record.
How Long Will Your ChexSystems Report Stay On File?
Each and every report that ChexSystems receives will stay on file for a period of five years. The only exception to this general rule is the bank or credit union that filed the report in the first place makes a specific request that it be removed. Another exception would be if the laws in your state, or Federal laws, change in such a way as to require ChexSystems to change its policies in this regard.
Please note that any change in the amount of time that your record stays on file at ChexSystems is up to the bank, or the discretion of the state or federal legislature. As things now stand, private citizens don’t have very many options when it comes to this matter.
How Can You Dispute Incorrect Information On Your ChexSystems Report?
If you’ve been rejected by a bank, and you felt that that this was due to a ChexSystems report that contained inaccurate, or even completely false information, there are a number of ways that you can combat this. Here are some of the most common methods by which you can challenge inaccuracies on your ChexSystems report:
First, if the incident occurred within the past 60 days, you can request a full copy of your ChexSystems report in order to check its accuracy for yourself, you can go to www.consumerdebit.com. The site will ask you to confirm your identity by listing your Social Security and driver’s license numbers. Once the report and information are received, there will generally be a waiting period of 7 to 10 business days before you receive your report.
Once you have perused your full ChexSystems report, if you feel that it does indeed contain some inaccurate or false material, you can take the matter directly to ChexSystems themselves. You can write up a statement of grievance and send it directly to:
7805 Hudson Road, Suite 100
Woodbury, MN 55125
Their fax number is (602)659-2197.
Your message will go straight to the ChexSystems customer relations department, and it will usually take between 20 and 30 business days for them to respond.
If you have tried both of these avenues and have failed to get a satisfactory response, you can try writing to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov.