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How to Open a Bank Account without ChexSystems

How to Open a Bank Account without ChexSystems

This information is updated for 2017.

So if you are one of the unlucky ones whose tried to open a bank account only to be told that it’s impossible, welcome to the club of those banned from banking by ChexSystems.

I’ve created this resource page for all those struggling to get a bank account, but can’t. Frankly, I’m tired of seeing so many baloney articles about this topic that just leave people floundering around for real information.

Let’s cut to the chase for the impatient: If you want the quickest solution, I suggest you try to open a BBVA  ClearConnect Checking Account. No monthly fees and you can get the account from any US state by applying online. BBVA has a reputation for giving their checking account to people with ChexSystems. But, if they reject your application, you’ll get offered their Compass EasyChecking, which is a Second Chance account.  There are a few other banks with a reputation for giving out accounts to people with ChexSystems issues (see later on in this article), but the BBVA is by far the easiest to apply for online right away.

I try to cover your realistic options in this article and give some detailed guidance on how to achieve success. But, please do leave your comments on this article and share your success or failures for OTHER people to read up on. This would help everyone who finds this article.

Note, if you are blacklisted by ChexSystems, read our Ultimate Guide to ChexSystems and Getting Out of It

So if you want to read a five thousand word post on what your banking options are, grab a cup of coffee and sit down because here we go…

The 5 Ways in 2017 How to Open a Bank Account with a ChexSystems Record

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Now the question you probably want to know is “how to open a bank account without chexsystems.”

The answer is a rather long one.

The dirty truth is that if you have your name added to the ChexSystems database, you are going to have to prepare to battle for your bank account.

Did I say “battle?” Yes, battle.

The choice comes down to this:

  1. Look for banks that do not use chexsystems (often takes a number of tries before you find one). I recommend you try applying for the BBVA Compass ClearChoice Free Checking. BBVA may just let you open this regular account. And if they reject your application for a regular checking account, they offer you their BBVA Compass Easy Checking, which is a second chance account. 
  2. Open a Second Chance Checking Account with a bank that offers that service
  3. Look for alternative banking solutions such as online internet bank accounts, prepaid debit cards, or secured credit cards; these can be used in lieu of a bank account to send and receive money online, and pull out money from ATM’s
  4. Fight with your bank and ChexSystems to get your record fixed then open a regular bank account
  5. Wait five years for your ChexSystems records to be expunged 

Anyone else that tells you there is some magical solution to getting a no chexsystems bank account is flat out lying. I’ve seen a lot of sites out there that try and scam people into some solution that does not exist.

How You (Likely) Ended Up with a ChexSystems Record

First, let’s look at some of the common ways you can end up getting a ChexSystems record:

  • You’ve committed some type of banking fraud in the past (this one is bad–your ChexSystems records stick around for 10 years and banks will be more strict)
  • You consistently write bad checks
  • You’ve had bank accounts closed down or suspended
  • You fail to make payments on money you owe the bank

These are only four of the most common ways people get their name added to the ChexSystems records.

In short, if you have poor financial management skills, it’s pretty darn easy to get your name listed in ChexSystems. I’m sure we can come up with a couple dozen more ways.

Here is one scary example of someone who, by no fault of their own, ended up with a ChexSystems record and banned from opening a new bank account:

I had one girl email me and tell me she cashed a check from her grandfather. Both her bank and her grandfather’s bank’s tellers called each other and verified it was a legit check, so the check was cashed by the bank. However, a week after she cashed it, she was told the check bounced — her grandfather had withdraw money from his account which meant there was not enough money to cover the check withdrawal. The girl had already used the money and could not instantly repay the bank the negative deficit; as a result, the bank then closed down her bank accoun and her name was added to ChexSystems because of suspected fraud.

As you see with the example above, it’s very possible to end up with a ChexSystems record, even if you may not be directly at fault — especially if you are dealing with checks.

Why You Should Know Your Credit Score…

Before you begin, you should know your credit score.

Why?

Because your credit score (which is based on your credit history) is what credit cards companies, mortgage lenders, and pretty much every credit institution out there looks at to determine whether you have access to any sort of credit.

And it’s also ONE factor banks MAY use to determine your bank account eligibility. While 80 percent of the banks out there use ChexSystems, banks that do not may use TeleCheck or do an EWS record search. Or they may also look at your credit score and use that.

So while banks probably don’t look at your credit history if they use ChexSystems, if they don’t use ChexSystems, there is a pretty decent chance they may look at your credit history instead.

And if your score is bad, you may be denied opening a new account.

You don’t want to have BAD CREDIT and a ChexSystems record — this will make it even more difficult to get a new bank account, though yes, you can have poor credit and a ChexSystems record and still find a bank account (read our article about how to open a legit bank account if you have bad credit).

The bottom line: do a check on your credit score, know what it is, and if it’s bad, work on improving it. Not only will this improve your access to future credit, it will help improve your chances of opening a new bank account too.

Ok, let’s talk about how you can open a bank account if you have ChexSystems issues.

How to Get Bank Account When You Have a ChexSystems Record

As stated, here are the main ways you can get a bank account if your name is in ChexSystems. We go into 6 different methods you can try.

1. Find a Non ChexSystems Bank

The first option, and the one that can solve your problem right away, is to simply find a bank that doesn’t use ChexSystems.

This is just a regular, plain old bank account with a (physical) bank, but a bank that doesn’t do a ChexSystems check (so they don’t know you have a ChexSystems record).

Or maybe they don’t base your acceptance as a new banking client ONLY on your ChexSystems history and take other factors into consideration, such as doing an EWS check, Telecheck check, or look at your credit history.

Or maybe you get lucky and the bank does not look at ANY of these at all.

Best Bank Account without ChexSystems: For a regular checking account, we recommend trying to apply for the BBVA  Compass ClearChoice Free Checking Account. BBVA often gives this full blown checking account to people with ChexSystems problems. But even better, if they reject your application, they will offer you their Easy Checking account, which is a Second Chance account.

Quite often though, you’ll find non chexsystem banks tend to be smaller, local banks or credit unions and NOT major nation-wide bank chains or even state wide / multi-state banks. I’m not saying you can’t get a major bank chain that won’t look at your ChexSystems record, but they usually tend to use ChexSystems, so you are best off with local banks or credit unions.

Now, as I’ve stated, one option is to look at an online bank account – many, many of these are not partnered with ChexSystems meaning it’s a good way to get a bank account with bad credit (bad banking credit that is). But not everyone wants a internet-only bank and not everyone wants the limitations and extra cost of having a Second Chance Account.

The best option for banking is to have a regular old plain bank account with a physical bank.

The good news is that if you want to find a PHYSICAL bank and you have a Chexsystems record, it’s also possible. But you are going to have to put some arm work into this.

Why is it so hard to find a bank that doesn’t use chexsystems?

You see, physical banks that don’t use ChexSystems don’t put this information online. To find out if they don’t do a ChexSystems credit check, you are going to have to call them up — or you are going to have to look at a list of banks reported not to use ChexSystems.

I’ll tell you right now that most major bank chains use ChexSystems, so forget places like Bank of America or CitiBank and such. They are all partnered with ChexSystems or Telecheck. That means you are going to have to look at smaller “neighborhood” banks or credit unions. These might not utilize ChexSystems.

They are all partnered with ChexSystems or Telecheck. That means you are going to have to look at smaller “neighborhood” banks or credit unions. These might not utilize ChexSystems.

That means you are going to have to look at smaller “neighborhood” banks or credit unions. These might not utilize ChexSystems.

The only way to tell is to get a list of banks in your area and call them directly or to drop in and try to create an account.

Now, it may be that you can open a bank account with a major bank even if your name is in ChexSystems, but instead of a ChexSystems check, they may do a regular credit check. If you happen to have decent credit history, then you might be ok for the account. Again, this may vary between banking institutions and there are no guarantees. You’ll have to call and directly ask.

How to Get Started Finding a Non ChexSystems Bank?

There are a number of ‘Non ChexSystems Bank lists’ floating around on the web you can look at. But don’t pay any money for these certainly (which I’ve seen some websites trying to sell!). I’ve had a good look at some of them and most of them contain outdated information or some scammer trying to see you a bunk list for anywhere from 20 bucks to a couple hundred!

The good news is WE at ECHECK.ORG have put together our own list/s of banks that don’t use ChexSystems. In fact, we have the most comprehensive and updated lists on the web. You can help us out by letting us know in the comment section if a bank on our list allowed you to create a bank account or not — then we can update the information for other people too.

So check these links out:

2. Open a Second Chance Checking Account

2nd Chance Accounts are special accounts offered by many of the major banks that are designed just for people who have a ChexSystems record or who are unable to open regular bank accounts.

The great thing about these accounts are they are designed for people just like you — people with ChexSystems or Telecheck problems.

And, they are offered by reputable banks with a physical location. There are even some major national bank chains that offer 2nd Chance Checking to customers (though the name of the account type may be called something else, so keep that in mind).

Best Second Chance Account?

The easiest Second Chance Account (if you live in a qualifying state), is to apply for the BBVA Compass ClearChoice Free Checking. If you get the account, you have a regular account — and a pretty good one at that, one of the best checking accounts (see review). If you are denied, the bank will offer you their second chance account called the BBVA Compass Easy Checking Account.

You can see our list of Second Chance Accounts for more recommendations.

Now there is a downside to Second Chance Checking accounts: you are given a number of restrictions on this type of account that you would not have on regular accounts — you can’t cash checks, you pay more fees, higher fees. BUT you will at least have access to banking with a real bank again. 

The big benefit here is that in a year or two, if you prove yourself, the bank will give upgrade your second chance account to a regular bank account. So provided you behave yourself and pay all your fees, don’t commit fraud, and generally be the model banking client, there is a time limit attached to your second chance status.

For many of you, this is the BEST option, if you are unable to open a bank account. Just be prepared to live with account limitations, no ability to cash checks, and likely higher monthly fees.

If you are interested in Second Chance Checking accounts, read our guide to the best second chance checking accounts. We’ve created an updated list for 2015. We also list Second Chance Accounts offered by bank branches in each state on our Non ChexSystems Bank List as well — just click on the link, look at the map of US states, click on one of those states and you should see a list of LOCAL banks in that state that offer Second Chance Accounts.

3. Get an Online (Internet) Bank Account

Many online bank accounts are not affiliated with ChexSystems. There are quite a few reputable bank accounts out there and more than a few don’t require a ChexSystems check.

I recommend you start looking at some of the best online bank accounts. You should be able to find one that does not use ChexSystems. You can also just do a web search and find one. You may have to actually call or email the bank though to find out if they are linked with ChexSystems (that info is often not advertised on the website).

Short of actually getting a normal bank account, this is one of the better solution I’ve yet found, and one of the easier ones too.

Just make sure you are getting a legit bank account as there are a lot of scams out there when it comes to banking.

Whatever you choose, DO YOUR RESEARCH.

To make it easier, we’ve written a guide to the Top 10 best online bank accounts of 2015 (though we didn’t specifically look at a no ChexSystems check being one of the features of each account listed on our article — YOU will have to call or ask the bank yourself. Or simply, just roll the dice and join — you probably will be OK).

4. Get a Secured Credit Card

While sometimes you need a bank to get a secured credit card (and assuming you can’t get a bank account now, that’s a problem), it’s also possible JUST to get a Secured Credit Card without having a bank account.

For many physical banks, yes, you probably need a bank account with them before applying for a secured card with the same bank. But right now, you can apply for a secured credit cards through card companies online.

A secured credit card is basically a full blown credit card (Visa or Mastercard), but the credit balance of the card is the deposit you put on the card. That deposit is held by the card company and returned if you qualify for the unsecured card in the future (this can happen in time, if you pay off the card each month) or returned if you cancel the card.

Best Secured Credit Card

We like the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card. It’s especially suitable for people with bad credit as your credit is completely ignored. It’s one of the better-secured credit cards on the market, especially if your credit history is poor.

Basically, you can get a full credit card, but you have to put the credit amount down.

This is a better option than a prepaid debit card since you get a full credit card and can use it as such. This means you can do cash withdrawals on the card, buy stuff online, get various credit card perks such as travel insurance, fraud protection, extended warranties for purchases made on the card. These perks do depend on the card company though.

Read our List of the Best Secured Credit Cards of 2017

5. Get a Prepaid Visa / Debit Card

This is another popular option for people who can’t open bank accounts, albeit probably my least favorite as it’s a poor and somewhat expensive alternative to a real bank account.

But desperate times call for desperate measures.

IN practicality, a prepaid debit card will do pretty much the same thing a bank account. You can:

  • get paid (receive money) to the card online
  • you can top up the card at a bank
  • you can withdraw from the card via ATM

Prepaid visa bank cards are basically credit cards (or debit cards) linked to an online account. You “top” up the card and can use it like a credit/bank card. When you need more funds on the card, you simply make a payment on the card just like you would make a payment to a credit card.

The difference between a prepaid visa debit card and a regular visa credit card is that you can add up a negative balance on your credit card while with a prepaid visa, you can only spend what you have deposited on the card.

If you have a Prepaid Debit Card as opposed to a Prepaid Visa Card, you can’t use the debit card as a credit card (which is useful if you want to buy stuff online using a credit card number).

These days though, most Prepaid Debit Cards are also Visa Card — they are called Debit Visa cards. So assume a Prepaid Debit Card is also going to be a Prepaid Visa, unless the specific card states it not.

These cards do a pretty good job at replacing your bank for the most part.

I know this because I actually had one of these a couple years ago. I had bad credit and could not get a credit card and was forced to use Prepaid Visa Cards to buy stuff online.

The cons are that you can’t do some of the things you normally do with a bank account like write checks, transfer money between accounts, etc.

And you pay per transaction — which makes them more expensive than a regular bank account, especially a free checking account. But for just buying things online or withdrawing cash from ATM’s and depositing money on the account/card, these cards work fine.

Look, it’s not the best solution out there, but it IS A SOLUTION. It’s better than not having an account and it only takes a few minutes. 

Check out the Best Prepaid Debit Cards of 2017.

6. Wait 5 years (from time of record entry into database)

Your name will be dropped from the ChexSystems list after 5 years, provided the record is not that of some sort of bank fraud.

If the ChexSystems record shows bank fraud behavior, you are really screwed here for time because ChexSystems holds that information for 10 years, not the regular 5 years.

I offer waiting as a possible solution since it is. However, most people can’t go without a bank account of some kind for that long, so it’s poor solution indeed.

But if you don’t mind waiting years, well, then wait. But there are better options.

7. Fight ChexSystems

Yes, you can fight ChexSystems (and your bank/ex bank) and force them to remove your negative information from ChexSystems records.

Keep in mind that this will likely take a few months and will involve sending out multiple letters to ChexSystems via certified mail and to the financial institutions that send your name to ChexSystems in the first place, and possible court appearances on your part.

But if you are persistent, you can fight ChexSystems and force your name of their record with some degree of certainty. But it takes work on your part. If you can’t commit to battling it out for 3 to 6 months, look for a bank that doesn’t use ChexSystems, open up a second chance account, or figure out some other option.

To Avoid or Fight ChexSystems, Now That is the Question

Now that you know some different strategies for handling ChexSystems problems. Here were the options for getting a bank account or something simliar:

  • finding a non-chexsystems regular bank
  • opening a second chance account
  • finding an internet bank account
  • using a prepaid visa debit card for banking
  • using a secured credit card

Then it leaves us with two things to discuss:

  1. How to Avoid ChexSystems in the first place (to fight your enemy, you must KNOW your enemy and how they work)
  2. How to Fight ChexSystems to get your name removed (battle your enemy and win)

The next two sections will discuss how to avoid chexsystems and then how to fight them legally to get your name removed from their records.

How to Avoid Getting Your Name in ChexSystems

what is chexsystems

The best defense is sometimes a good offense. In the case of your banking, this means it’s important that you watch your financial management and keep on top of your banking to ensure you don’t have any problems.

You should have an understanding how ChexSystems works and how your name got added to the list. Once you know this, you can take steps to avoid future repeats. After this section, we will take about how to Dispute your ChexSystems record, legally.

Here are 9 Banking Mistakes That might get your name added to ChexSystems

Banking Mistake: You forget to stop any automatic payments after you close down your account

How to Avoid This: Make sure you look at all automated payments you have on your account and cancel them before you close a bank account

Banking Mistake 2: You decide to cancel your bank account by letting the balance drop down to zero (or below)

How to Avoid This: If you close down your account by letting it drop to zero and then ignoring, banking fees may accumulate. The bank will dip into your zero account, putting it at a negative balance which may accumulate overdraft fees. These fees may continue to add up. You then “owe” the bank money. Simply leave this bank account long enough, and you may find your account suspended and your name on ChexSystems “bad list.”

Banking Mistake 3: You deposit a check, then write a check the next day. Only you don’t have enough funds to cover the transaction; your account dips into overdraft.

How to Avoid This: Though you might deposit a check, this doesn’t mean you actually “have” the funds. It often takes anywhere from 3 to 5 business days for a check to clear. If you then withdraw money or write a check, your account will dip into overdraft.

Banking Mistake 4: You write a check for more than you have in your account.

How to Avoid This: Your check with either “bounce” possibly causing you a NSF fee or will clear but dip into your overdraft, charging you interest. To avoid this, keep track of your account balance at all times. If you have written a check that totals more than the amount in your account, put money into your account immediately to ensure the check clears.

Banking Mistake 5: You change names or move

How to Avoid This: If you move or change names, you may not be getting your financial statements. Just because you don’t know the status of your account doesn’t mean you won’t be held responsible for it. Make sure you inform your financial institution of any changes to your name or address asap.

Banking Mistake 6: You write a Post Dated Check that’s cashed too early

How to Avoid This: There is no legal obligation for the other party not to cash the check. The check may be cashed and if so, you are responsible. So try to avoid post dating checks unless you have the money in your account

Banking Mistake 7: You lose your checks or they get stolen

How to Avoid This: Should any checks get stolen, you must report it immediately. If someone tries to cash false checks in your name, you will be in a much better position to counter this kind of check fraud.

Banking Mistake 8: Your bank makes an error

How to Avoid This: You want to look over all your financial statements to ensure there is no mistakes. It can cause a lot of problems should the financial institution make some mistake that effects your credit. If you notice any inaccuracies, notify them as soon as possible.

How to Get Out of ChexSystems

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Still here? Ok, let’s talk about how to get your name removed from ChexSystems.

Now the following info has worked for people, but I can’t guarantee it will work for you exactly.

But if you are out of options, then pursue this.

You have nothing to lose but some time.

We have three strategies here to Fight ChexSystems

Strategy 1: Look for Errors on Chex Report and if found dispute your ChexSystems Record

Strategy 2: Try and reconcile with the bank that filed your ChexSystem report (if you pay the bank what you owe, they can immediately request your record be removed from ChexSystems)

Strategy 3: Take advantage of legal loopholes with snail nail paper war with ChexSystems with possible court appearances

Let’s look at all these in detail below.

How to Dispute Erroneous ChexSystems Records

This depends on either some reporting error made about your account either by a banking institution or Chexsystems. If you do have some actual reporting error, this is good news: you can legally dispute that error with ChexSystems and get that record removed which may fix your problem with not being able to open a bank account in less than a month (maybe two).

Look at Your ChexSystems Record (request your free copy from the ChexSystems website — read how to get that) for any errors and if you find them then dispute those errors with ChexSystems to have them removed.

ChexSystems has contact info on their site if you want to dispute because of errors. Go HERE to get that info.

How to Reconcile with Your Bank and Get the Bank to Request ChexSystems Record Removal

This depends on HOW you got your ChexSystems record and where you got it (i.e. what bank and is it one bank or many).

If you did your banking at a single bank and you have something simple such as unpaid overdraft fees or bank account fees from an abandoned bank account you never ended up paying off, then you may be able to reconcile with your old bank/s by contacting them, agreeing to pay your owed fees, and asking them to send in a request to ChexSystems to have those records removed.

The banks that send a ChexSystems record report can, themselves, have ChexSystems remove that record. You can’t, but the issuing bank can.

Now, you are going to have to actually contact your bank and ask about this. But they can do it and often, they will if you pay them what you owe. But again, this is depending on the bank and what you did to get the bank to submit those records in the first place.

For petty misdemeanors like overdraft fees, unpaid banking fees this probably can work.

However, if you have committed bank fraud or have a string of bounced checks to your name, it’s likely THIS option will not work at all.

If this is the case, it’s time to look at the last option: using legal loop holes to force ChexSystems to remove your name.

How to Beat ChexSystems through Legal Loopholes

This is the most work-intensive, but I’m assuming if you are considering this, you are at the end of the road an it’s your last option.

So you have nothing to lose.

Which means, you should pursue it.

ChexSystems is a large association of financial institutions that are all networked together to provide a database of “unwanted customers.” To ensure these backlisted customers don’t get a bank account, these financial institutions report on any customer who demonstrates poor financial management skills, be that failing to repay bank loans, writing bad checks, etc. One way to guarantee your name gets added to this banking “blacklist” is to have your checking account closed down by your bank. If this occurs, you can be certain your name will be added to this list. Once a person find themselves on this list, it’s very very difficult to open a bank account with any financial institution connected to the ChexSystems network for at least five years (at which time, your name will be dropped).

So how can you get out of ChexSystems? Bear in mind, this is a LONG and arduous process. If find MOST people don’t want to go through the effort, but it is certainly possible to get your name dropped from the list if you are willing to fight hard enough.  Because of the paperwork involved and legally obligated by law against both your (ex) bank and ChexSystems, you have a pretty good chance of getting your name removed.

Keep in mind that if you are not prepared to fight it out, don’t waste your time and just go with one of the established, easier solutions.

Step 1

Head over to the OFFICIAL ChexSystems website and request your free copy of the ChexSystems report. This is free. If you find any website out there trying to sell you this report, it’s a flat out SCAM. ChexSystems, by law, is required to send you your report if requested.

Step 2

Once you receive the report, use the template below (edit it for your personal details), then mail it to the given ChexSystems address. It’s important that you send the letter through CERTIFIED MAIL. You also want to have a return receipt requested. This will leave no doubt that the letter has been received by ChexSystems. Why is this really important? Since ChexSystems functions as a sort of “credit agency” they are by law legally entitled to verify any disputed information within 30 business days, just like credit agencies like Equifax. If they do not comply with this, they must, by law, remove that information from their database.

You will also send off the Bank Dispute Letter at the same time you send the (first) ChexSystems Dispute Letter.

Note Regarding Letters: I’ve given you a rough template. Feel free to edit the letters as you see fit.

ChexSytems Dispute Letter

—————————————-

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Your Name]
[Your Address]

ChexSystems Consumer Relations
7805 Hudson Road
Suite 100
Woodbury, MN 55125

[Date]

[To Collections and Consumer Relations Dept.:]

I have been notified that (bank name) has submitted to records ChexSystems maintains under my SSN negative information. I see an entry listed from (bank name) regarding a (transaction information listed on ChexSystems report).

I know nothing about this transaction with (name of bank). Please submit verifiable proof of this transaction along with any documentation associated with this transaction that bear my legal signature.

If no such information can be provided, please remove any negative information filed with my SSN under the records you maintain.

[Contact Information]

—————————————-

Step 3 (ChexSystems Sends You the Letter Within 30 days)

If ChexSystems sends you a letter within the 30 day period, send the template below.

Modify the personal details as you see fit, but keep the general form the same.

ChexSystems Dispute Letter 2: Send if ChexSystems sends you “verified information”

—————————————-

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

ChexSystems Consumer Relations
7805 Hudson Road
Suite 100
Woodbury, MN 55125

[Date]

[To Collections and Consumer Relations Dept.:]

SUBJECT: Dispute of ChexSystems Report

I am sending you this letter that the following financial institution (put in your bank name here) has confirmed that I have a current unpaid debt. However, despite my official request for evidence from ChexSystems of this debt, I have received nothing.

I am therefore again requesting the evidence be mailed to me within 20 business days. I’m also requesting the following information of each person at (bank name) that was contacted regarded my account:

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Telephone Number

Furthermore, I would like to be sent official documents that state I am in a legally binding agreement to pay this debt back.

If you do not comply with this request, note that you are breaking the federal code regulating credit reporting agencies (see Federal Trade Comission 15 USC 41). Keep in mind that all communications between both parties will be kept for evidence, should this dispute be taken to a court of law.

Please also note that I will be filing a complaint with the FTC should you fail to comply with my request for evidence, as failure to do so is in direct violation with the federal laws that guide credit reporting agencies.

Step 4: (CHEXSYTEMS DOES NOT SEND YOU ANY RESPONSE TO FIRST LETTER)

If Step 3 above does not happen — that is, ChexSystems doesn’t send you any response to your letter you sent in Step 2, then proceed with this step below by sending the following letter to ChexSystems and your bank (or the bank that added your name to chexsystems).

You will send both these letters to your bank and to chexsystems at the same time.

Letter 1: (ChexSystems NO Reply DisputeLetter)

—————————————-

This letter is to inform you that you have not sent any information or proof as to why my name has been added to ChexSystems. As you have not replied within the legally binding 30 day period that guides all federally sanctioned credit agencies, I must presume no such proof is forthcoming or exists.

Please not that you have 30 days from the date of this letter to reply. Any failure on your part to respond will be interpreted as a waiver to all claims on your part. I will expect my name, social security number, and other information added to the ChexSystems records to be in error and consider this matter finished.

I have been sending letters in good faith and it is simply unacceptable on your part not to respond for my legally entitled requests for proof in the matter of this claims being leveled against me. Either provide me with valid, legally binding proof, or remove all information associated with me from your list. By not replying to my last letter, you are in fact violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act and you are liable in court.

Failure to reply within 30 days will result in maximum damages in small claims court regarding identity fraud, defamation, and violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Be assure I will process this claim to the full extent of the law.

You can contact me here

[Your contact information ]

—————————————-

NOTE: Send dispute letter (Letter 2) to bank and dispute letter to ChexSystems (Letter 2) at the same time now

—————————————-

Letter 2: (Letter to Bank)

—————————————-

[Banking Address]

Subject: Dispute Regarding [dispute details]

This letter is to inform (name of bank) that info (account number) claim (give your claim here) is officially disputed.

Please send me documentation with my signature stating that I legally obligated to pay this claim. Any negative marks made on my credit report (of which ChexSystems is included) for a debt that I don’t owe is a direct violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If you cannot supply evidence that this debt is owed, all negative credit information submitted against my account must be removed.

If you do not supply this evidence within 30 days, legal action against (name of bank) will be taken for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

[Contact Information]

—————————————-

Step 5:

At this point, you will have either received a letter with “verified proof” from ChexSystems and sent ChexSystems Dispute Letter 2 or you won’t have received anything and send Dispute Letter 3. The key here is that you are getting all the parties to harass each other for information. One of the parties won’t send out the legally required information and you can get your name off the list.

Even if your bank does provide you with indisputable evidence that you owe them money, you failed to pay some debt, or whatever, they are overwhelmed with existing complaints, etc and won’t submit the verified information. You see, banks are required by law to submit to ChexSystems that you have disputed the information submitted from this bank to ChexSystems. But banks never do this due to the sheer volume of other things they are dealing with this. Since they won’t submit this information, they are breaking the law and you have your loophole out.

Yes, it’s confusing so here is another overview of what’s going on.

  1. Submit your Bank Dispute Letter via certified mail and as SOON as you find out they’ve received the letter (and you will know because it’s certified mail), you request your ChexSystems report.
  2. Look at the report for the notation stating the report/debt has been disputed. If you don’t see the dispute listed, you’ve got them (your bank, not ChexSystems) violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 623. Since they are in violation, they have to remove records of that debt. Yes this sounds a bit shady but it’s all perfectly legal. Banks are required to submit this information in a timely fashion, but rely on the fact that 99% of consumers won’t go to this type of effort. Banks simply cannot keep up with such federal deadlines for these type of reports and filings.
  3. So after you get that ChexSystems report and notice the bank has NOT added the note that you have filed the dispute, send out a letter to your bank notifying them of your intent to sue within 30 days unless all records of said bank debt are deleted and your entry removed from ChexSystems. And here is where it’s win win for you. If the bank hums and haws about the debt and don’t remove the debt and your name from ChexSystems or the bank simply does not reply, go to small claims court. It’s cheap (less than 50 bucks) and in almost every instance that I’ve heard about, after they are served the court date, they’ll settle over phone rather than waste time and money going to court over a few bucks. And lo and behold, if the bank actually does show up in small claims court, you’ll absolutely win since they violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. I’m not just making this up – my ex girlfriend ended up doing just what I told you here and went to court and won the same way. I’ve also verified this with other people who have done the same and there are some other websites online where a couple other people talk about the same thing. All in all, it works!

As a last resort, if all the other methods don’t meet with success for some reason, take ChexSystems to small claims court directly. I can promise you, big company or not, they don’t want to waste time in small claims court against you. They will settle on the phone, removing your name from the system. In some cases, you may even get a small cash settlement out of them. I have NOT done this myself nor did my ex girlfriend, but I’ve seen this advice given out on the web and I’ve verified it directly with a few people online who have done so.

If any of you fight ChexSystems with the above methods, PLEASE report here your success in the comments for other people to follow.

The Final Word

Still here? That means you are seriously desperate to get a bank account if you plowed throw my nearly 7000 words on the topic.

The good news is that shows you have the dedication to fix your  problem.

Even if you have committed some banking mistakes in the past, you shouldn’t have to suffer years of not being able to open a checking account because of ChexSystems. As discussed in this article, there are multiple solutions out there for you to pursue, from opening up an online bank

As discussed in this article, there are multiple solutions out there for you to pursue, from opening up an online bank account, to using a prepaid visa card, to finding a non chexsystems bank, to even fighting ChexSystems. The key to getting a bank account without ChexSystems interfering is to be persistent.

I do recommend you look at the BBVA Free Checking Account option as by far the easiest. Getting a  full blown regular bank account is the best solution. But if you can’t the Second Account option is a good side option. Then after this, well, a secured card or prepaid debit card. As stated, internet banks may be an option you can try.

Need a Bank Account but have ChexSystems problems or Bad Credit?


Try opening a BBVA Compass Free Checking Account! BBVA is one of the more forgiving banks and may give you a full-fledged REGULAR bank account when you apply online...even with bad banking and credit history.

And if you don't qualify for the regular BBVA checking account for some reason, you'll then be given the option of opening the special BBVA Compass Easy Checking Account, an account designed specifically for those with banking problems.

...learn more about BBVA Second Chance Banking here


Whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP, plenty of people open bank accounts without worrying about having their name in ChexSystems. You can too.

About The Author

Ben Todd

Ben was a seriously broke graduate student with bad credit who after finding himself rejected for any sort of credit card or loan for most of his adult life, finally decided to get his financial life in order. ‘

He spent several years reading as many financial advice books and blogs as he could.

And suprisingly, Ben found he actually LIKED the topic of personal finance; after fixing his own finances, starting his own successful work at home website business, and using his earnings to get out of debt, created echeck.org to help others do likewise!

19 Comments

  1. saira

    Does this same process work if you’re in early warning services?

    Reply
    • admin

      EWS, I don’t know to be honestly. I’ll do some research and write a guide to Telechex and EWS — both systems are similar yet different to ChexSystems. But I don’t want to tell you it’s the same process, but I actually don’t know as of yet

      Reply
  2. Denise

    I just want to let everyone know that they should not give up trying to get a checking account. There are still banks out there that don’t check chexsystem, yes even large banks.

    I have 3 bad back accounts listed in chexsystem and have a chexsystem score of 436 (I know horrible). But, I was able to open a checking account with Bank of America and USBank.

    Now I have learned from my past mistakes and vow not to make those mistakes again. I will stick with my two accounts until eventually those baddies falls off my chexsystem report.

    Reply
    • admin

      thanks for the update Denise — it’s good to hear those two major banks do allow people to open bank accounts even with a bad chexsystems score.

      Reply
    • Debbie

      Was the reason for your accounts being closed considered fraud? I was caught up in a scam ONE TIME and had no idea it was a scam but it amounted to around 1400.00 I couldn’t pay back to the bank. I had an account with USBank. Now it shows up in Chex. I just don’t know that I can do anything about this as it wasn’t just small overdrafts. I was just sick when I realized it was a scam. The bank wouldn’t even try to find the scammer as they said there are too many going on, thousands! I gave them all the information I had and yet they wouldn’t pursue it.

      Reply
      • Stephen

        A few years ago when I was younger and opened my first checking account with BOA I got tricked by a scammer to the tune of around $800, luckily I had plenty in a custodial account to pay it off around 2-3 weeks later when I actually got a call from BOA’s collections department. I didn’t know about Chexsystems so when they offered to open the account again I told them to piss off for notifying me of the impending closure so I could actually pay it off. Now I’m stuck with the suspected fraud activity even though the debt is settled in full (if I had known at the time I should have used it as leverage lol) and I cant open ANY accounts, I also can’t even use a pre paid debit card to deposit my checks since I am apparently on Certegy. Since BOA just keeps sending me the same automated letter everytime I send a letter begging them to remove the report (offering to do whatever it is even pay them more money), I am just going to go the dispute route that is listed on the last section of the article. I really don’t think there is any other option. I will gadly post an update after the ordeal to let everyone know of my results.

        Reply
  3. Barry

    When I write the first dispute letter to Chexsystems, do i have to send a separate letter for each item or can I dispute multiple items on one letter?

    Reply
    • admin

      Single letter for everything, but make an exact list of everything on the letter with clear points

      Reply
  4. Sheena

    i actually had a bad bank experience and in check systems I wasn’t allowed to open a new checking account. Well…I opened a savings instead, about a month later I went online and clicked add checking account and it worked. I didn’t have to go in to the bank, have them run my stuff and get told no as embarrassing as it is. Wells Fargo. I’ve had my bank account since for 4 years and in good standing!

    Reply
  5. Reese

    I had a BofA account for 6 yrs without ANY issues EVER. Then in Jan 2010, after Id lost my job, I responded to a job posting on Craigslist to be a Personal Shopper. I sent my name address etc. They issued an official looking packet to get started on my first “assignment”. They also sent a $1400 typed check written out to me instructing me to activate it through their online portal and then deposit it in my account. I was instructed to deposit it and then use that money to complete the “assignment” within 24hr of depositing the check. Of course now in hindsight I should have known it was a scam. I didnt receive the money. I deposited it and wanted to wait for it to clear JUST IN CASE. Of course it never cleared. My account was closed immediately after but i was NEVER informed of WHY it was closed I figured it was because Id had a 0 balance for 2 months. NOW 5 yrs later I find out im still in the chexsystem for fraud. Its horrible the victim of a scam can be held responsible for OTHERS wrongdoings onto them! Thankfully I didn’t have $ in my account so i would have had to wait for it to clear before withdrawing it. Other people probably lost their own money withdrawing it and via western union sending it to the cons thinking that check would clear.

    Reply
  6. Julie

    As of my last report in December, I was still in Chexsytems from Citibank for “suspected fraud” although the account is also paid in full. Not my fault, I deposited a bad check from someone twice so even though I paid it, they still put me in. It was posted on in Sep of 2011 so almost 5 years ago. I took a chance a few weeks ago and tried to open a savings account online at US Bank. It worked. I was (still am waiting, hopefully in vain) for them to do a sweep and close it if I pop up. I took another chance and again online, opened up a checking account with them since I was already a customer. It also worked. I just got my debit card today. I’m wondering if it was a fluke or once the year changed to 2016, it’s technically 5 years even though a full 5 is in September. Still worried they’ll close it but I’ve read that to get the account open you should never do it online because a manager can’t help you unless you go in and you’re more likely to get one open that way. Hoping they’re not going back the full 5 years. I can’t think of any other way they would’ve approved it. Oh and btw, this is the ONLY place I’ve read that “fraud” stays on for 10 years. Even Chexsytems says 5 years.

    Reply
  7. Ryan

    Hello,

    I would first like to say that I really appreciate the excellent site!

    It’s not too often that you find sites as helpful as yours that are up to date.

    I am actually dealing with Chexsystems headaches myself right now, although my story is a bit different.

    My mother placed my sister and I on her First National Bank checking account after becoming terminally ill.

    This was about 3 months ago now, and I was told that they may not be able to add me to the account because I had been reported to ChexSystems for a $1250.00 balance owed to PNC bank that was never paid.

    I explained to the bank manager that I did not know anything about owing $1250.00 to PNC bank, and she ended up allowing me to be added to the account.

    Fast forwarding to 3 months later. After my mother passed away from cancer I decided that it would be best to close my mom ‘s account and open one of my own.

    I explained to the bank manager that I. had received a partial payment of my mom’ s life insurance $10K which I would like to deposit into an account of my own, rather than into my mom’s old account which included my sister and I. I told her that the reason for me wanting to do this was that my mother had passed away and I no longer wanted my sister having access to my personal funds.

    The bank manager told me that she understood and that the first step before opening up an account in my name was to close the joint account with myself, my mother, and my sister.

    After closing that account the bank manager apologized and told me that because I had been reported to ChexSystems that I would have to clear that up before opening up my own account. This really screwed me over because I just closed the other account and now I had no place to deposit my 10K check. It really ticked me off too because the bank manager knew that after she closed the joint account that she was not going to allow me to open my own account.

    Fast forwarding again, I contacted ChexSystems for a copy of my report which I received about a week later and it did show that I owed PNC bank $1250.00 from about 3 years ago when my account had been closed. I then contacted PNC bank to find out why I owed them this money and was told that although that is what was originally reported that I currently only owe them $15.50.

    I tried to call them back to ask if they would remove me from ChexSystems after paying the balance but it was late in the day and had to leave a message.

    I thought that before going any further that it would be a good idea to prepare myself by doing some research of my own.

    I am hopeful that you may be able to share some advice how to proceed from this point.

    Thank you for the well done blog, and for taking the time to read my post. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kindest Regards
    Ryan C

    Reply
  8. Rick

    I had a bank account with Bank of America and I have someone else in my bank account they wrote checks that the money was in there and they put me in the check system and my job is direct deposit so they need direct deposit and now I can open a bank account and working and my checks are getting rejected is there any bank that I could go to back up in the bank account for me

    Reply
  9. Rick

    I went to TCF Bank they open the bank account for me a couple days later they told me that they can have it cuz I was on the check system this really is really a killer man cuz its so bad cuz you need a checking account anything that you do

    Reply
    • jimeV

      wow. that is odd. I have been going thru this b.s with chexsystems and EWS since 2012. Today I was researching all day and found that the only bank in my area that didnt use Chex And EWS was TCF. So i called them to make sure and they confirmed that they didnt. She did say that they use Experian, which was fine for me bc i found out just today that i have a 660 with them. So i tried to open the account online but received an email about an hr later stating that the app was declined .I called to find out why and she said they couldnt verify my identity online but i could open it in a branch. so my next step is to go in tomorrow. I cant believe how much misery this has caused. I was injured at work back in2014 and had to take out a 5k loan on the settlement back in dec. since i didnt have a bank acct i had to get the $ western union which cost me $500 right off the top! then it was broke down into like 6 western unions so i had to pay a party store a % on each one! now im worried bc when the settlement comes, how do i cash a big check? and where do i keep the money?? in a shoe box under my bed?!! its crazy! how can u be a productive member of society when u cant cash a check and u have to keep all cash on hand like John Gotti? no offense to John but im willing to bet he even had a bank acct!! lol

      Reply
      • Max

        Cash a big check at a local party store. They Do charge a fee but if you know them you can haggle on percentage. Has to be a big biz part store. I wanted to cash a 78k check, no problem. Small party store but they do a ton of biz. It would of cost me $4500. Lots of $. But that’s on a $78k settlement check.

        Worth it if it’s not too big & yes keep part $ in safe deposit box (they say you can’t but you do it). The rest keep in home but inconspicuous place. Robbers look in master bedroom & closets first. I tend to keep it near me but a lot of money in hundreds is small. Don’t want to give ideas bc I use them. But say up underneath no one would look, or a bag of something & put it in middle of whatever’s in the bag. Not a safe, that’s the first place they look even if it’s bolted.

        The cash on hand, I bring it with me wherever I go. Won’t chance leaving at home even if you have alarms & cameras everywhere. It’ll still be gone.

        At home it’s right next to me but Not in my purse. Think like a robber!

        I do have 4 checking accounts & savings. Would rather keep some on hand.

        Lastly don’t tell Anyone! Telling Anyone is bad. People will do anything for a buck if they are desperate. GL

        Reply
  10. Lifesaver

    In you live in Michigan, Ohio, First Merit Bank they dont do any background checks, such as ews, tel check, check systems.. They are a second chance bank with regular accts.

    Reply
  11. Lifesaver

    I hate to be the barer of bad new but TCF does use ews I got a letter to prove it. I open acct online n three days later I go to check my acct and it was closed. An then i got a letter stating they closed it because I was on ews. Screw TCF Bank what a joke!!

    Reply
  12. kiko vargas

    Great Article. writing – I was fascinated by the points . Does anyone know if I might acquire a fillable CBP I-94 form to type on ?

    Reply

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