EWS: How It Can Affect Your Banking

EWS: How It Can Affect Your Banking

Probably, one or two times in your life you have been denied a bank account, and you were left wondering what exactly went wrong. Although there can be several possibilities, one of them could be the EWS (Early Warning System).

Just like ChexSystems, EWS is one of the risk detection services. These services help assess the potential risk involved if an account is allowed to be opened. There can be many goals behind this, which may include but are not limited to fraud prevention, the balance of payments, etc.

If you think that you have a case of EWS, then this article is here to help you out. Keep on reading to find out what are the implications of EWS and how it can affect you and your banking. This article will take you through the details of what EWS is and how you can deal with it.

What are Early Warning Services?

Early Warning Services LLC is a fairly new player in town and is currently in its infant stages. The motive of the service is the same as any other reporting service – to help the financial institutions to identify potential risks involved with new consumers. If someone’s application is considered too negative and risky to be allowed based on the reports received, the application is denied and it can or cannot be allowed in the future depending on the circumstances.

If you know about TeleCheck and ChexSystems, then you can relate to it much more easily. EWS is an initiative of large banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan Chase. However, it is important to note that it is not a competitor of ChexSystems or other reporting agencies; rather it is an additional layer of security that banks have planted for themselves.

EWS is specifically put in place to identify those individuals who have committed fraud. Now, we know that the term fraud has various connotations and you can get flagged for fraud even if you tried to cash a fraudulent check given to you by someone else and that is precisely why we have written this article to help you out if you ever run into such conditions.

As much as this process is helpful for banks to screen out risky consumers, it is extremely frustrating for individuals who are trying to bank. But you don’t need to worry as we will tell you the ways to avoid being on the EWS list and even clear your record if you are on the list.

How does EWS screening work?

EWS is a service that banks subscribe to and pay to use it. The service screens the new applicants and sometimes also screen the current account holders as well to identify risks involved in new ventures and the ongoing ones.

Screening may include the following:

  • Counterfeiting
  • Altering checks
  • Fraud
  • Account abuse
  • Check Kiting
  • Verifying identity
  • Verifying account ownership

The scary thing is that you are getting screened and you don’t even know. For example, you can be screened over the phone, online, and even at the teller.

It is important to note that EWS doesn’t screen for your credit history rather it screens your overall past behavior regarding banking. It scoops out information from many sources which may also include other financial institutions and other third parties as well.

The data they normally scrutinize is regarding your deposit accounts and how you used them in your past which is very similar to the ChexSystems. EWS presents an unbiased report that is to say that it does not only focus on the negative points rather it takes an overall look at your activities which may be deemed to be positive and negative as well. Extra care is taken to ensure that the process presents accurate data.

With that being said, the report is not a final verdict. You can dispute the accuracy of the report and file against the items you believe to be inaccurate. We will get to that shortly. So, look at the bright side. The EWS report doesn’t necessarily result in an approval or denial. Instead, it focuses on risky behavior from potential consumers and helps the banks provide those products to the customers which are right for them and deny those which can pose risk to the institution.

But do not take it lightly as well as an EWS can easily affect you in getting access to the bank. Therefore, it is very important to know how it affects your banking.

How can EWS affect you?

The worst that can happen to you is that you can be denied access to a bank account because of an EWS. Sometimes, you may also have to close an opened account as well if you get negatively screened in the EWS.

There have been customers whose accounts were closed right after they were opened which was caused by another department that was using EWS services. Checks can also get denied if something negative appears on your EWS profiling.

Now it is true that not all the people using banks are plotting money laundering schemes or making counterfeit currency, but EWS runs on AI software which can screen you based on the activity regardless of what you were aiming to do or what your intentions were. These are machine errors that can be corrected by filing a dispute. That is the reason why sometimes you can get a hit just because of something very negligible and is due to an error. There can also be discrepancies, for example, you may owe a small fee to a previous bank and that point can still stay on the EWS system even if you paid the fee with a fine.

If this is giving you trouble, then there is an easy alternative. There is a thing called the “second chance account” which many banks offer. These are low-risk accounts that are offered by many credit unions as well as banks. There may be some higher fees and other requirements plus a lack of features. But it is a good way to start clearing your report.

What is the difference between EWS, ChexSystem, and TeleCheck?

Different companies and reporting agencies are reporting to the banks and most of the time it is very cumbersome to keep a track record of all of these. Therefore, it is important to know what kind of reporting services your bank uses. There are a number of them. Some banks use EWS, and others use ChexSystems or TeleCheck. Most of the banks are using ChexSystems nowadays.

The difference between other reporting agencies and EWS is the way your information is reported. EWS provides raw data in a simple form and leaves it to the bank to assess it to make decisions. ChexSystems however assess the data and provide their summary with the report.

TeleCheck goes one step further and provides risk assessment in the form of a risk score with its form. All these agencies work almost the same but it is the way they report your financial activity, which is different.

So it is important to know which of these services your bank is using and then file disputes according to the rights provided to you by law.

How do you access your EWS report?

If you have been denied access to a bank account then you have the right to get a free copy of the report from the reporting agency.

If you want to receive a copy of your report, you can either contact EWS directly or you can also visit their website to print an identification form yourself. Then, all you have to do is to create an account and submit it through an electronic mail or send it directly to this address:

Early Warning
Attn: Consumer Services Department
16552 N. 90th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

You can also fax the form to (480) 656-6850.

If you want to phone them, you can contact EWS at this number +1 (800) 325-7775.

How to dispute your EWS record?

Finally, when you have reviewed your EWS record, it is time to file a dispute regarding the points you believe to have been incorrectly filed.

Do remember however that if the information is correct, it may be difficult to remove it.

However, if the listing is referring to unpaid fees that have been paid but with fine, you may remove them easily. There is some basic information that you need to provide. You will have to provide your:

  • Consumer ID number provided by EWS
  • Account number
  • Other information regarding your account
  • Reasons for filing dispute
  • Reasons you believe the report to be incorrect
  • Relevant details of the account that is in concern
  • Any other supporting documents that establish your claim

You should be able to see the results within 30 days and if your request has been granted then you should see negative points on your file removed. In that case, congratulations and go apply for a new account.

If your request has not been accepted, then you can file a review. This is the last resort and doing this allows the bank to exercise their judgment to review your application in detail. If you still don’t get access, then it is time to mend your reputation through other means.

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