Everyone faces financial duress at some point in their lives. You may have some overdraft charges in the past, as is the case with many people. The important thing is that you’ve come a long way in improving your financial standing now. You have a steady cash flow and need to open up a bank account to manage your finances more effectively and save up some extra bucks.
So you pick up your stuff and head to a reputed bank nearby. You wait in line for your turn. Then, you find yourself seated in front of a friendly teller. You give them all the necessary information and hand over your ID. After a few moments, the smile disappears from the teller’s face as he reveals to you that you cannot open an account at the bank.
Wait, what went wrong? There is only one thing to blame: ChexSystems, a customer reporting agency (CRA). If you have faced rejection from a local bank for some past financial problems, you are not alone. In this article, we will discover what ChexSystems is and how to circumvent this menace.
All consumer reporting agencies, including ChexSystems, keep data about your past business transactions from bank accounts. ChexSystems is similar to credit agencies in this manner, but it keeps track of the way you used a previous account rather than whether you paid off your debts or not. The system intends to highlight any anomaly or mistake from your end, and that is exactly what it does. No matter how pristine your record was otherwise, a single mistake can ruin your ChexSystems report as it would be the only thing mentioned on it. Yes, it only reports the bad stuff.
If you’ve ever had an overdraft charge a few years back, it will be on the list. Things stay on your ChexSystems list for at least five years, making it very hard to move on to a better tomorrow. Although other agencies work on the same principle as ChexSystems, it is the most widely used option, with over 80% of financial institutions using either ChexSystems or a similar system. These act as early warning systems to help banks turn down account requests for people who they fear might cause problems later on. This can be very unfair to someone who’s had an excellent record except for one anomaly, and a bank rejects their application due to that.
Ideally, ChexSystems intends to filter out any possibility of someone opening a fraudulent account. If a person is going to hog up bank fees and never return what is due, it will hurt the bank substantially. It makes sense, and banks should bar such people from opening bank accounts, but what about regular people? Well, prepare yourself for some bad news.
Saying that ChexSystems is unfair is an understatement. Its aggressive policies can harm consumers like you – regular, honest people, who’ve just had a few problems in the past, which they most likely resolved. As of yet, around 17 million Americans – that’s 5% of the population – don’t have a bank account. Many of these are people who’ve had accounts in the past but cannot open up one now. This is likely to be due to a negative ChexSystems (or any other CRA) report, even if they have successfully resolved the problem that their report ended up highlighting.
Everyone can have a problem with CRA(s), not just people who’re working tirelessly to make ends meet. Agencies like ChexSystems portray a biased opinion about you by pointing out only the stuff you did wrongly and ignoring how well you performed overall. An average of 25% of banks will deny you an account if you have even the slightest negative remark scribbled on a CRA report, irrespective of your financial standing. Some will make you go through the humiliation of sitting haplessly while they call the branch manager of your previous bank to decide your case.
Some banks have unclear policies about overdraft charges and other problems that you may run into. If you’re under some financial pressure, you may inadvertently fall foul of one of their policies. This makes the whole system very unfair, denying people a chance even if they’ve proven that they deserve one.
A bank has denied you the facility to open a bank account, even if you can manage one. Stop beating yourself up over it and look elsewhere. Several banking systems do not employ unfair CRA systems and are a perfect option for you to manage your finances. You can open up an online account on services like Chime – which are growing in popularity in the modern era – to escape the vicissitudes of the unfair banking system, or seek a bank that doesn’t use CRA. We have compiled a top 10 list of banks (and similar options) where you can open up an account without worrying about ChexSystems:
With over 600 branches spread out across seven states, this online banking system is ultra-convenient for its users. It offers an online checking account, allowing you to manage your finance via the internet, with minimal (or in some cases none at all) monthly fees. If you’ve had some past issues, you can still get approved for their starter checking account. Instead of the biased and unfair ChexSystems, BBVA uses Early Warning Services to detect any potential risk and to evaluate your creditworthiness. The free online/mobile banking feature also allows you to pay your bills from home, and there are no fees for cash withdrawal via BBVA ATMs.
If banks have turned you down due to an unfair ChexSystems evaluation, try out BBVA as their system is comparatively unbiased.
Chime has made second chance banking a reality for people who have been plagued by a bad ChexSystems report and denied accounts in conventional banks. A truly modern and innovative online-only banking system, Chime does not employ ChexSystems or other CRA services. There are no pesky fees, no fines for overdraft dues (that does not mean that you should risk having one), and you can access their vast ATM network for free; however, using other ATMs will cost you a transaction fee.
Based in San Francisco, Chime makes banking easy for its customers. The Chime Checkbook allows you to send out payments without any extra charges. The ultra-effective mobile app and linked debit card make transactions simple and let you manage your finances from virtually anywhere.
Chime is the kind of banking service that will make you grateful for being rejected by a conventional bank as it offers all the perks minus all the annoying fees.
TD Ameritrade is a brokerage. You’ll have to get a brokerage account before you can apply for an online account here, but it is worth it. It doesn’t use ChexSystems to filter out applicants unfairly; however, opening an account here will cost you a soft credit pull. There is no minimum deposit, and your previous records don’t mean anything here (but try not to mess up this one too). Online banking is free, and there are no charges on withdrawing money from ATMs.
TD Ameritrade is a decent option for those who are sick and tired of facing rejection from conventional banks and need to manage their finance from a remote location effectively.
Based in Florida, Axiom Bank offers a second chance to all. This community bank has had it with CRA systems and offers second chance banking privileges to those who’ve had troubles in the past but wish to get over them. The bank’s “Opportunity Checking” account will allow you to manage your finances effectively and forget about those dreadful times when financing was a problem for you. It also offers free mobile banking, allowing you to make transactions remotely or on the go.
If you are looking for a second chance, look no further. Axiom Bank is for those trying to make a fresh start.
Woodforest National Bank is another institution determined to give people a second chance. If your CRA report has closed the doors of regular banking for you, you can check out Woodforest’s Second Chance Checking account to make a fresh start. It will cost you $9 to set up the account, but considering what it offers, it is worth it.
Woodford is a decent bank for people seeking a second chance to correct their past financial mistakes.
United Bank doesn’t care if you have a bad ChexSystems report, and it provides customers with a variety of products at minimal credit. While it’s true that the fees can be a bit annoying, but the service is perfect, and the fact that the bank doesn’t hold CRA reports against you is a major plus. With branches located in Alabama and Florida, United Bank strives to serve people with past financial tumult. Personal loans, credit cards, and Gateway Checking accounts are some of the services that the bank offers at low or no credit at all.
If you’re looking for a reputable bank that doesn’t care if you have a bad CRA report, and you don’t mind some fees here and there, then United Bank is for you.
This Texas-based banking system is a decent option for those struggling with a bad ChexSystems rating. It offers the Checkless Checking account that is helpful for those who have had to face rejection from conventional banks. There are no annoying monthly fees, and the online mobile banking option helps you to carry out transactions on the go. The bank also offers overdraft protection if you opt for a linked savings account to help you save up for your future.
The Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union is ideal for Texas natives who are struggling with a bad CRA report and need a banking system that does not charge exorbitant fees.
Green Dot is not a conventional bank, but it offers freedom, flexibility, and a second chance to those who have been rejected by other banks. Its “GoBank” account is for those who’ve had to face the brunt of ChexSystems reports and want to have a fresh start. There are no overdraft fees, and you can get the monthly fee waived off by linking a direct deposit to your account. The Green Dot debit card and “pay-as-you-go” program allow you to manage your finances without any hassle.
Green Dot offers flexibility for everyone; it doesn’t judge you based on your past mistakes and instead treats you as an equally valued customer.
Are you worried about what might turn up on your ChexSystems report? Don’t be – Capital One 360 will perform a soft pull on your credit and consider some risk factors but will not reject you based on your CRA report. Yes, they do use ChexSystems, but they don’t judge you based on it entirely. If you have a decent credit score, then you have nothing to worry about. Enjoy banking without annoying fees and limits!
If you are worried about being rejected based on your ChexSystems report, then don’t fret as Capital One 360 is fair in its evaluation.
Who doesn’t like a no-fee policy? People with a bad credit history can take a fresh start with Varo’s online banking system. They’ve dumped ChexSystems evaluations, so you’ve got nothing to worry about in that regard. You can also receive your paychecks via direct deposit.
Varo Bank is an ideal place to turn to when you’ve been riddled with rejection and need a second chance to stabilize your financial standing.
If managing your finances effectively and putting a cap on your spending is your goal, you may not need a bank account to begin with. Prepaid debit cards can come in handy in this case. Cards like Visa and MasterCard allow you to deposit a sum to them and then spend it in a calculated fashion. You can set a direct deposit from your income source to your card, but beware; fees are involved. Do your research thoroughly before you proceed with getting a prepaid card. Fees can be a major drain on your resources if you are not careful, but all in all, prepaid cards are very convenient if you know how to use them.
So you’ve picked an option that best suits you, and you are eager to open up an account there. First, make sure that you have all of these at hand:
Depending on the bank or bank-like service you’ve chosen, you may need to pay an opening fee and make an initial deposit to open your account. You can transfer the money via cash in some cases or electronically in others. Once you’ve set up your account, you can associate a direct deposit (for instance, your salary) with it.
If a bad ChexSystems report has ruined your prospects for a bank account, and you don’t want to use any of the options stated above, then you may try out the following:
You do have rights when it comes to dealing with a bad ChexSystems report. Since it all falls under the “Fair Credit Reporting Act,” the same also being true for similar CRAs, you do get to object to anything unfair mentioned in the report.
Since you get a free copy of your ChexSystems report every year, you should review it carefully. If the report falsely or fraudulently states something, you have the right to challenge it. In case you missed this opportunity, you can get a copy of the report from the bank that rejected you, and then you may analyze it for inaccurate information.
So you’ve spotted a mistake in the report, and you are certain that you did not commit this error. Report the error to the bank (where you had your previous account) and ChexSystems. Even if you are not at fault, things may not go your way. In that case, report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.
If the issue remains unresolved, then, unfortunately, your options are limited. You can either seek a second chance account or prepaid card or both to manage your finances. Cheer up; these options are very convenient and effective.
Rejections are hurtful, but they are not the end of the world. If a poor ChexSystems report gets you unfairly blacklisted from several banks, you can seek alternatives. The ten options mentioned above and many more like them are perfect for taking a fresh start. The idea is to move ahead and maintain your financial stability so that you don’t run into trouble.