Saturday, January 19, 2008

Non ChexSystems Banks And How To Find Them

Millions of Americans are on a list that they definitely do not want to be on. It s the list created and maintained by ChexSystems identifying people who have had banking problems in the past. It s also the list that prevents millions of us from getting a new bank account each year. If you are on the list, you know how severely it can affect your life. It is difficult and expensive to live in modern society without a bank account -- simple tasks such as cashing a check, paying a bill, or getting cash are made much more difficult. Check cashing fees and money orders can take a big chunk out of each paycheck. If you are on the list, it is important for you to know what ChexSystems is (and what they are not). ChexSystems is not a bank -- they are a database company that acts as a consumer reporting agency (CRA), collecting data about banking customers. In particular, ChexSystems maintains a nationwide database of banking customers who have been reported for writing bad checks, defrauding banks, having unpaid bank debts, or having too many “non-sufficient funds” (NSF) items. ChexSystems tries to keep a low public profile (and they ve done a pretty good job of it). ChexSystems does not have a company Web site, and it is relatively difficult to find information about them. If you are on ChexSystems list, you have three options. First, you can decide to live without a bank account, and pay the extra expenses and deal with the inconvenience of using Check Cashing stores, Money Orders, and using cash for most transactions. Second, you can try to get off the ChexSystems list (which is not impossible, but can be confusing and difficult for most people). Finally, you can search around for a bank that doesn t use ChexSystems and that will allow you to open an account even though you are on the ChexSystems list. Luckily, a number of Federally Insured Banks and credit unions do not use ChexSystems. Unfortunately, finding one can be like finding a needle in a haystack. A number of Web sites and classified ads claim to have a list of non-ChexSystems banks. Unfortunately, most of these lists are out of date and inaccurate. Even worse, many of these lists cost money (with no refunds available!). Kurt Lehman is a financial services expert and writes about ChexSystems banks and problems as well as payday loan debt .

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