ChexSystems is a consumer financial data reporting agency that maintains a database of individuals who have bounced checks or otherwise mishandled or abused their checking accounts. Banks check the ChexSystems database before opening new accounts, and they often deny accounts to customers whose records indicate repeated bounced checks or fraudulent activity. You can order a free copy of your ChexSystems report online, by fax or by phone once a year or after a bank account denial. You can also pay a fee to obtain your ChexSystems score, which banks can use to determine your risk to them as a customer.
Ordering Reports Online
Launch the ChexSystems home page for consumers on any web browser. Click the "Order Consumer Report" link, which is the second link from the top at the left of the home page. A page titled "Order Your ChexSystems Consumer Report" should appear momentarily.
Click the "Agree" button at the lower right-hand corner. Tick the "Yes" or "No" radio box on the "Order Your Consumer Report" screen that appears next, in response to the question about whether you have been denied a checking account within the past 60 days. If you answer "No" and you have not received a free copy of your report within the past 12 months, you are still eligible for a free copy. Click the "Next" button at the bottom right of the screen to proceed to the "Age Verification" screen.
Verify your legal adult status by ticking the "Yes" radio button on the "Age Verification" screen. Note that you can order a report on behalf of your minor child but you must do so by mail. Click the "Next" button to proceed to the order form.
Fill out the form by typing your personal information in the appropriate text fields. Make sure to fill in all fields that are marked with a red asterisk. When you are finished, type the letters and numbers in the gray-shaded security code box into the "Enter the Security Code Shown at Right" text field and click the "Submit" button at the bottom of the form screen.
Wait about five days to receive a copy of your ChexSystems report in the mail. File a dispute form with ChexSystems if you find any information that you believe to be incorrect.
Phone, Fax or Mail
Launch the ChexSystem consumer home page. Click the "Order Consumer Report" link, which is the second link from the top at the left of the home page. Wait a few seconds for the "Order Your ChexSystems Consumer Report" screen to appear and then click the "Agree" button at the bottom right of this screen.
Click either the "Yes" or "No" radio button on the "Order Your Consumer Report" screen that appears after you click "Agree." Click the "Next" button to proceed to the "Age Verification" screen. Click "No" regardless of whether or not you are 18 or over and then click "Next." A page titled "Order Your Consumer Report" will appear.
Call the phone number listed on the "Order Your Consumer Report" page to order your report by phone. To order your report by mail or by fax, which are the only options if you are ordering a report on behalf of a minor child, click the "Order Form" link on the page.
Print the order form that appears in a pop-up window. Fill it out and sign it. Leave the top "Account Decline Date" and "Bank or Credit Union" fields blank if you are requesting your free annual report. Fill in your child's information and sign it if you are requesting a report on his behalf.
Fax the completed form to the fax number or mail it to the mailing address. Include the following documents if you are requesting a report for a minor child: A notarized copy of the child's birth certificate; a legible copy of his Social Security Card; a legible copy of your driver's license or state identification card, and official proof of address such as a pay stub, utility bill or other official document with the same address as the one you indicated in your application. Include an official court document indicating you are the child's guardian if your name does not appear on the birth certificate.
Wait to receive a copy of your ChexSystems report in the mail. File a dispute form with ChexSystems if you find any information that you believe to be incorrect.
- Prevent negative information from appearing on your ChexSystems report by being careful to write checks only for the amount of funds you have in your account. Cover any shortfalls with a cash deposit or transfer from another account immediately after you write a check if need be, or obtain overdraft protection from your bank.
- Linking your checking account to your savings account may be possible with some banks, and this can also prevent bounced checks in the event of an emergency or error on your part.
- You can obtain a report for a spouse if your spouse gives you a notarized power of attorney. This can be done only by mail or fax, and the power of attorney must be mailed or faxed along with the order form.
- Do not close checking accounts until you are sure every check has cleared. A closed checking account that results in checks being returned for insufficient funds is reported to ChexSystems and the checks are treated as any other bounced checks.
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