How To Clear Up Your ChexSystems Report

Learn what it is and how to fix it.

Bank Teller
••• Christopher Bissell/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Having issues opening a bank account? Then you may have a record on ChexSystems, a database banks use to make sure you do not have any outstanding accounts at other banks. You also may have a ChexSystems report if you have a history of bouncing checks or mishandling your account.

When you apply for a new account, banks and credit unions will run your name through ChexSystems, and may choose not to open an account for you based on the information found on that report. If you find you have a history on ChexSystems, there are ways to clear up your report. Here’s how.

Obtain a Copy of Your Report

You can obtain a copy of your ChexSystems report by visiting its website and requesting one. You are entitled to one report per year under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act.

This report will show the banks that have reported you to ChexSystems. There will be a list of accounts that have been closed by the bank, as well as any money you still owe. The account history will stay on your report for five years, but you can pay off outstanding balances owed to the banks. Once you do this, many banks may consider opening an account for you.

Paying Off Balances at the Banks

Once you see what you owe and where, you then can begin to make payments to pay off any balances owed. You may even be able to get some of the balances dropped. Try visiting the bank and talking to a customer service representative. They may be willing to waive all or some of the charges for you, depending on the circumstances. If nothing else, they can explain what the charges were and how long your account was in the negative. Also, keep in mind that you will need to contact each bank separately and work with them to pay off any balances.

You can either save up to pay off each balance in full; or talk to the bank about setting up a payment plan.

Once the balance is paid off, request that they report to ChexSystems that the account has been paid in full.

Disputing a Fraudulent Account

There also is the possibility that someone opened an account in your name without your permission or knowledge, also known as identity theft. This could cause you to have a ChexSystems report.

You need to take several steps to dispute this and have the account removed from your ChexSystems report. You also should pull a copy of your credit report and check for identity theft there, as well.

If you find evidence of identity theft on your ChexSystems or credit report, follow the below steps to remediate the issue:

  1. Contact the bank and explain that you did not open the account. You will also need basic information about the account so you can file your police report.
  2. Once you have the information, you will need to file a police report and explain that you did not open the accounts and that your identity was stolen. You will need a copy of this report for your own records, and one for each bank or credit card company where an account was opened fraudulently.
  3. Send the police report to the bank, then contact the credit bureaus and ChexSystems, explaining that the account was opened by identity theft. You will also need to dispute the account and fraudulent charges, then submit the dispute to ChexSystems online. Keep in mind that it can take up to 30 days for this to be completed.

    Living Without a Bank Account

    If you have a report on ChexSystems, you may not find a bank or credit union willing to open a checking account for you. It can be difficult to live without a checking or savings account and takes careful planning and extra money to pay your bills. You may not even qualify for prepaid credit or debit cards. To pay your bills, you may need to use money orders or even cash if you can. You will also have to find a place that will cash your check for you.

    If you are careful, budget your money, and set money aside each month, you can begin to fix the situation. Once you clear up your outstanding balances, you may be able to clear your ChexSystems report.

    Then, you can open a checking and savings account, which will make managing your money–and paying bills– that much easier. And in the future, be sure to build up a pattern of keeping your account in good standing so you don’t find yourself in the same situation in the future.

    Updated by Rachel Morgan Cautero.