A consumer reporting agency, ChexSystems, identifies applicants with a history of poor account practices to its member financial institutions. If you bounced some checks in the past, you are probably on the ChexSystems list, and your name stays on that list for at least five years. You can hire a company to fix the problem, or try to do it yourself.
If your ChexSystems report has a false negative listing, it can really mess up your financial future. As a credit reporting agency, banks use the information received from ChexSystems to make decisions regarding credit card approvals and loans. Even if the listing is accurate, if you pay off all outstanding debts and notify ChexSystems, this can improve your credit report. While actually removing your name from its database is difficult, an accurate and good credit report should be the goal. ChexSystems must remove your name if the information is inaccurate, but if you did mishandle your account it is under no obligation to remove the listing.
Do It Yourself
Start out by ordering a copy of your credit report from ChexSystems. This free report allows you to discover why your name is in the system in the first place. It also gives you a consumer identification number. Once you have the report, check it for accuracy. If it is inaccurate or you want to dispute it, send the company a certified letter outlining why your name should be removed from its system. Since ChexSystems falls under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act regulations, it must respond to your letter within 30 days or take your name out of the system.
Your letter must include your name, address Social Security number, the name of your bank, the negative listing you are disputing and the date of that listing. Also include the consumer identification number you received when ordering your credit report from ChexSystems. The day you send the letter by certified mail is when the clock starts ticking for the 30-day response time.
If you do not hear from ChexSystems within 30 days, send another certified letter stating you will file a petition in small claims court for Fair Credit Reporting Act violation. Also ask for the names of any bank personnel ChexSystems representatives spoke to in investigating your claim. If you do hear from them and they agree to remove the negative listing, keep a copy of all the documents.
You can also hire companies to work on your behalf with ChexSystems for a fee. You might want to do this if your situation is complicated, or you just don't have the time to navigate the ChexSystems system.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.