Have you ever wondered about your relationship with your bank? Strange question, right? What about your relationships with your ex-banks? That’s a bit bizarre to think about. But once a year, it should be something you examine using ChexSystems.
What is ChexSystems?
Great question! ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency that gives information to banks and credit unions when they’re deciding how risky a potential customer could be. Think about your current and any former banks you have held accounts with. Did you have any history of bounced checks or outstanding overdraft fees? Or maybe you simply stopped using the account due to a zero balance but never officially closed the account? Those are examples of negative behaviors that banks would report to ChexSystems. An unfavorable report on ChexSystems may prevent you from opening a new bank account or savings account, thus delaying your journey to financial stability.
What should I do now?
Visit ChexSystems.com to familiarize yourself with the tools available to you. One of those is the option to request a free consumer report. Every twelve months, you may request the free report from ChexSystems by clicking on the Free FACTA Report link on the ChexSystems homepage. FACTA, which also gives consumers the right to one free credit report each year, refers to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act. While you are visiting the website, you may find it helpful to view the short videos available under the Education tab on the home page menu bar. There you will find video tutorials on the following subjects:
- Reporting Identity Theft
- Requesting Your Consumer Disclosure Report
- Reviewing Your Consumer Disclosure Report
- Submitting a Dispute
If you decide to request your ChexSystems report online, follow the steps below:
- Agree to the terms and conditions listed on the site.
- Indicate if you have been declined an account by a financial institution within the last 60 days and if ChexSystems was a factor in that decision.
- Verify you are 18 years or older. In that step, you will also see further instructions on how to request a ChexSystems report on behalf of a minor and how to request a report on behalf of another individual that is not a minor.
- Fill out the required personal information, including your name, date of birth, Social Security Number, current address, and previous addresses you have lived at in the last five years.
- Enter the security code provided, and click “Submit.”
It is important to note your ChexSystems report will not be available right away, even if you order the report online. ChexSystems will mail your report within five days of your submitting your request.
You may also request your ChexSystems report the following ways:
Chex Systems, Inc.
Attn: Consumer Relations
7805 Hudson Road, Suite 100
Woodbury, MN 55125
- Fax the Consumer Request for Disclosure Form to 602-659-2197
What you should know
ChexSystems’s practice is to keep information on file for five years from the report date. It is important to review your ChexSystems consumer report each year, as you do have the right to dispute any information you believe is not accurate or that should be removed. Reporting a dispute to ChexSystems will launch an investigation by ChexSystems that usually takes 30 days to resolve. For residents of Maine, disputes will be completed within 21 days.
Any information or documents provided by you to support your dispute may require an additional 15 days of investigation so ChexSystems can properly review the information. Upon completion of the investigation, you will receive the results of the investigation by mail. If the results of the dispute are not in your favor, you may choose to submit a consumer statement explaining your dispute. The statement will then be sent, along with your consumer report, to financial institutions requesting your ChexSystems information.
How to maintain a healthy relationship with ChexSystems
- Before closing a bank account, be sure to stop any automatic payments/withdrawals well in advance. Keep in mind, some companies may take up to two weeks to process this payment change.
- Always contact the bank to officially close an account. Letting an account balance drop to zero could result in fees or overdraft charges.
- When depositing checks into your account, allow three to five days for the check to clear before using those funds.
- Beware of co-signing an account for someone. Any misuse by the other person could reflect on you as well.
- Guard your PIN, and never give that information to another individual. Otherwise you risk your account being unknowingly accessed and possibly depleted.
- Beware of post-dating checks. If the other party cashes the check early, the bank may take funds from your account regardless of the date, causing an overdraft.
- Check your bank statements monthly. Be sure your address is up to date with your bank and that you are receiving and reviewing your monthly statements.
- You should promptly address any bank errors you spot in your monthly statements or bank receipts. Do not hesitate to contact your bank with questions or concerns.
- Be sure to report lost or stolen checks to your bank immediately in order to stop payment.
If you only have a limited amount of time to review the ChexSystems website, you may want to start with watching their video tutorials. Each one is brief, about two to three minutes in length. If you have at least five minutes to spare, start with the Requesting Your Consumer Disclosure Report and the Reviewing Your Consumer Disclosure Report tutorials. They’ll give you a quick walkthrough of what to expect with your ChexSystems report.
Remember, your relationships with financial institutions affect your overall financial wellness. These relationships are worth investigating and investing your time into!
Updated September 19, 2017 and originally published August 2, 2013.