The ChexSystems network tracks customer mismanagement of checking accounts. If you've bounced several checks or otherwise mishandled a checking account in the past, your previous bank may have closed your account and reported it to ChexSystems. When you try to open a new account at another bank, if that bank verifies your information through ChexSystems it may deny you a new checking account. To be able to start fresh, you need to find a bank that does not use that network.
Call Local Bank Branches
Banks typically don't publicize whether they use ChexSystems to verify new accounts, but they will tell you if you call them and ask. Try smaller banks or credit unions, which may not want to pay for the services of a large network systems. If an institution does not use Chexsystems, ask if they use a similar network, such as Telecheck. While Chexsystems is the largest such network, other companies that perform the same type or service exist.
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Ask Local Professionals
Professionals in the banking or finance industries might be able to point you to banks or credit unions that won't verify your past through ChexSystems, or that will be willing to be more flexible when checking your banking history.
If you've worked with a credit counselor or filed bankruptcy, ask your counselor or attorney for recommendations -- they work with others in your situation and may have a list of resources to help.
Check Online Resources
Financial websites often offer lists of banks not currently using the ChexSystems network. Don't automatically take their word for it -- use those lists as a starting point. Contact the bank directly to verify that it won't deny you for a checking account based on ChexSystems. You also can find referrals from others in your same situation on forums, Watch financial news reports for information. For instance, in June, 2014, Capital One announced that it would no longer use ChexSystems, explaining that the company didn't feel that people who had bounced a check or were victims of identity theft should be penalized.
If you're unable to find a bank in your area that doesn't verify accounts with ChexSystems, you still have a few alternatives
Second Chance Banks
Some banks offer second chance accounts for people who are flagged in the ChexSystems network. These accounts are not ideal -- they typically carry higher fees and require minimum balances. However, they can be less expensive than using check cashing services. For instance, Wells Fargo offers Opportunity Checking for customers who can't open checking accounts due to past history. The bank charges a monthly service fee if your balance drops below $1,500 or you have less than $500 per month in direct deposits. Other fees apply as well.
ChexSystems drops your negative flag after five years. A second chance bank account can keep you afloat until then.
Get the Flag Removed
ChexSystems offers a process to dispute your inclusion on their network. This process can take several months, but if you believe that you've been entered into their network erroneously, it might be worth the time and effort. In addition to going through ChexSystems' dispute process, you can contact the banking institution that reported you and ask it to request that your name be removed from the network.