One thing you might just take for granted is your ability to open a bank account.
Until that privilege is taken away that is.
Having a bank account in 2016 is not an option thing. It’s a requirement for living in a first world country. You need a bank account to get paid, to make payments, to keep your money, to apply for and maintain a credit card, and much, much more.
For example, if you apply for a new job, get hired, you may be required to give that bank your bank account number for a direct deposit of your paycheck. If you workplace does not issue direct bank account payments, they will write you a check. However, to cash a check and receive the money often requires a bank account on your part.
So a bank account is an important part of your life.
However, many people who have had financial problems in the past, may find themselves banned from opening a new bank account. In some cases, people may find existing bank accounts closed down.
The reason is usually because of ChexSystems — a company that maintains a banking ‘behavior’ file for everyone who owns a bank account in the US. This is a sort of credit history, but one that covers banking history rather than credit history.
You may know the difficulties of what having bad credit may do for you, but having a ChexSystems record can be just as bad — arguably worse even.
If you have a chexystems record, there are few things you can likely do about it to fix the problem.
1. Dispute your ChexSystems Record
You are allowed to dispute your ChexSystems record. However, first you must request your free chexsystems file from ChexSystems. Once you have the file in hand, you can specifically look at it for any mistakes. If you find any such mistakes or errors, you can file a dispute. Provided you win the dispute, your record may be removed within 30 days.
We highly recommend you do request your chexsystems record here (it’s free and from the official chexsystems website) so you know where you stand. You can’t dispute what you don’t know.
2. Pay off any money you owe to a bank
If you have a chexsystem record due to financial misbehavior with a specific bank (you went into overdraft and did not pay it, you wrote fraudulent checks or have committed bank fraud or some other such banking misdemeanor), then one way to repair your ChexSystems record is to contact the bank you owe money to and pay what you owe.
A bank can directly request ChexSystems remove a record that the bank has submitted about you. Banks MAY do this if you pay them what you owe. This can often fix your problem.
3. Open a Second Chance Banking Account
If you can’t open a regular bank account and you are unable to dispute your ChexSystems record, another option is to look at opening a specialized bank account made for people with ChexSystems, EWS, or Telechex problems.
These bank accounts often have different names, but they are generally called ‘Second Chance’ accounts. They are offered by some banks and credit unions.
These bank accounts often have limitations imposed on them, such as limited checking ability, limited withdrawals, no ability to write checks, and higher monthly fees. However, if you get such an account, in time that account may, with good financial behavior on your part, upgrade the second chance account to a regular bank account. This often takes 1 to 2 years.
However, if you are stuck then it’s your best option for getting a regular bank account. A second chance account will still offer you the basic banking options such as deposits, withdraws, the ability to make online bill payments, ATM cards, and more.
4. Use a Prepaid Credit Card or Debit Card
Another option is to avoid a bank entirely and just go with a prepaid credit card or debit card solution. These function a bit like a bank account in that you can add more money to the card and make withdraws from the card. As such, you can use it like a bank account to receive, send, and withdraw payments — both online and via ATM machines.
The cost here is usually in the cost. You often pay per transaction. Each time you add money or withdraw money or send money online, you may pay a small fee of a couple dollars. This depends on the type of card you get, however.
5. Find a Non ChexSystems Bank
Another option is to find a bank that does not use ChexSystems. There are a few of these out there, usually in the form of credit unions and small banks. Some larger, national bank chains in the United States may not use ChexSystems as well, but you’ll have to call them or find out online if this is the case.
Note that banks don’t usually publicly post this information, so you are going to have to do some research to find out. This website gives you a list of nonchexsystems banks that you may want to try.
6. Open an Internet Bank Account
A final option here is to look at opening an internet-only bank account. These are usually banks that don’t exist in a physical location, but offer you all the features that a regular bank would, but just over an online interface.
You should be able to send money, deposit, make ATM withdraws (the bank will mail you an ATM card), and more.
Some internet banks are less stringent about doing ChexSystems checks on their customers. So it could be you can open an Internet bank account even though you can’t open an actual physical bank account with a major bank.