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While having a ChexSystems record doesn’t directly affect your credit score, it can make it more difficult to open a new bank account.
And if you’ve ever had issues like a bounced or returned check, an overdraft, or unpaid fees, you may be listed in a ChexSystems report and not even know it.
To learn how to investigate, read on.
How to Get Your ChexSystems Report
There are three ways to obtain ChexSystems reports, all of which are pretty straightforward.
We recommend this route because it’s quick and easy.
Just fill out this form on the ChexSystems website, which includes:
- Agreeing to their terms and conditions
- Age verification
- Personal details
- Address details
- Previous addresses
Then click submit and you can have your report delivered online or by mail.
2. US Mail
If you would prefer to fill out a physical copy, you can find it here.
Simply fill out the information, print it out, and send it to the following address:
Chex Systems, Inc.
Attn: Consumer Relations
PO Box 583399
Minneapolis, MN 55458
Or, if you’d rather get your ChexSystems report over the phone, you can do it 24/7 by calling the following number:
Note that the Interactive Voice Response system is available 24 hours. However, representatives are only available for assistance during normal business hours, which are from 8 am through 7 pm Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday.
How Much Does it Cost to Get a Report?
It’s completely free and is a built-in consumer report service.
“Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) amendments to the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you are entitled to a free copy of your consumer disclosure report, at your request, once every 12 months,” ChexSystems explains.
If you request more than one report during a 12-month period, there may be a fee. But as long as you keep it to a maximum of once per year, there’s no cost to you.
This is nice to have, as even the most responsible consumers with a stellar banking history may occasionally wind up with something that gets them listed on a ChexSystems record.
As we mentioned earlier, bounced checks, returned checks, overdraft fees, account abuse, and unpaid fees can be the catalyst for a ChexSystems score.
However, other issues completely outside of your control like fraudulent activity and identity theft can also impact it.
And this, in turn, can make it more difficult for consumers to open a checking or savings account with a bank.
While having a ChexSystems record obviously isn’t ideal, at least they make it easy to get a report without charging an account holder.
You can find a sample report here.
How Long Does ChexSystems Stay on Your Record?
“Information that’s included in your ChexSystems report can generally remain there for up to five years,” Investopedia writes. “ChexSystems can remove it at the request of the bank or financial institution that furnished the information or if credit report laws require otherwise.”
(We’ll discuss this more in just a bit).
If you choose to do nothing about having a ChexSystems consumer score, it should eventually go away on its own within five years.
So if you don’t plan on opening a new checking account or savings account with a bank in that time frame, clearing up your ChexSystems report won’t likely be a huge concern.
However, if you need to open a checking account or savings account in the near future, it should be a top priority.
Again, having a ChexSystems record shouldn’t negatively impact your credit score, but it will make it harder to open a new bank account.
Subsequently, it can also make it more difficult to get a debit card, prepaid card, secured credit card, or unsecured credit card — let alone the best credit card with perks like a reasonable APR, minimum deposit accounts, and overdraft protection.
And this can have an even bigger ripple effect where a credit reporting agency or credit bureau has less data to go on when running a credit report, which can potentially make it harder to build credit.
So in that regard, it won’t do your credit score any favors and could even lead to bad credit long-term.
That’s why you’ll want to get your ChexSystems report right away.
How to Clear Up Your ChexSystems Report
If you believe there’s incomplete or inaccurate information on your ChexSystems report that has led to you being denied opening a bank account, you have the right to dispute it.
There are two ways to make a ChexSystems dispute.
You can either go through ChexSystems directly and file a dispute form here.
Or, you can make a dispute with the financial institution responsible for the information on your record.
We recommend going through ChexSystems, as this tends to expedite things and they’re the ones that have ultimate control over your report.
Once you’ve submitted a dispute, an investigation should be completed within 30 days (21 days for Maine residents).
If, however, you provide more information or documentation during the initial investigation, this can extend it by up to 15 days more to allow for additional review.
After the process is completed, ChexSystems will send you the results through the mail where you’ll know whether your dispute was successful or not.
To be crystal clear, here are the specific steps you’ll need to take to clear up your ChexSystems report.
Get a Copy of Your Report
First, get a free copy of your report online, through the mail, or over the phone.
This will let you know exactly what negative information (if any) is on your report, and, subsequently, what’s hurting your chances of opening new accounts with banks or credit unions.
Dispute Any Errors
Once you know what errors have been made, you’ll want to dispute them.
As stated before, this can be done directly through ChexSystems by filling out this online form.
It can also be done through mail or by fax.
The mailing address is:
Chex Systems, Inc.
Attn: Consumer Relations
PO Box 583399
Minneapolis, MN 55458
And the fax number is 602.659.2197.
For guidance on the process, you can find a step-by-step tutorial here.
Or, if you want to go through the financial institution to dispute an error, you can contact them by phone, email, or a website contact form.
You’ll then need to find where to send a formal dispute letter (you can find a sample here).
Pay Off Your Debts
If you find that an outstanding debt with a particular financial institution is the reason for having a ChexSystems record, you’ll want to pay off your debts with them if possible.
We suggest contacting any banks or credit unions where you have debts and speaking with a consumer relations representative.
Often, they can provide you with helpful information regarding the charges so you can understand the full details.
From there, you’ll be better positioned to pay off your debt, or at least take a chunk out of it to get back on track and take steps toward credit repair.
After Paying Off Debtors, Ask for Removal of Negative Items
The final step after you’ve paid off the money is to ask the financial institution to remove the negative items.
Once that’s done, you should be in the clear and no longer have a ChexSystems record.
Note, however, that you don’t want to just take their word for it that the items have been removed.
Rather, you want to obtain a new copy of your ChexSystems report after it’s been updated.
That way you’ll have it on file for your records in the event of any future disputes.
Having a ChexSystems record doesn’t directly impact your credit report, but it makes it harder for consumers to open a checking account, savings account, or even a business checking account.
So if you find yourself denied by a bank or credit union, this could very well be the culprit.
The easiest way to see if there’s an issue is to get your ChexSystems report, which can be done for free once a year directly through the consumer reporting agency.
From there, you can take measures to clear up your consumer score to greatly improve your chances of getting approved for a new account with banks and credit unions.
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Nick is an author, small business owner, and finance/digital marketing writer. He’s been covering the industry for over a decade and loves exploring topics to help other small businesses succeed. You can connect with him at Nickmannwrites.com.