If you've been told you're "in ChexSystems" by a bank, that's bad news. You'll need to contact ChexSystems to find out what's going on. You can write or fax or use ChexSystems' website to request a copy of their report about you, but sometimes you want to talk to a live person on the phone. ChexSystems doesn't make that easy.
Who They Are
Banks report to ChexSystems when they think you've caused a problem with your account--written a bad check, closed an account with a negative balance, acted like a money launderer or done something they think is suspicious.
It's like a credit reporting company, except they don't keep any reports when you do something right. You'll only be listed in ChexSystems' database if a bank thinks you've done something wrong.
There are other similar reporting agencies that keep track of bad checks or problems with checking accounts, though ChexSystems is one of the biggest ones, and getting listed in their database can cause a variety of financial hassles.
You can try the toll-free number on their website, 1-800-428-9623, but most people say they just get a recording.
A Live Person
To talk to a live person, try calling 1-800-513-7125 and pressing option #1 to hear a recording in English, then press #7 to reach a live person (or whatever option they tell you to, in case it's changed). It may sound like you're getting disconnected, but just wait for an operator at the call center to come on the line.
If you need to contact ChexSystems by mail, you can also do that. Write them at:
Chex Systems, Inc.
Attn: Consumer Relations
7805 Hudson Road, Suite 100
Woodbury, MN 55125
Or send a fax to 1-602-659-2197
If you want to order a copy of your report, you can do it online at their consumer website at www.consumerdebit.com. You can also go to www.chexhelp.com, but it'll just redirect to consumerdebit.com.
If you've wound up in ChexSystems, you're not alone. With debit cards and automatic periodic withdrawals, it's easy to lose track of exactly how much is in your checking account and wind up overdrawn a few times. If you're sure you've never done anything to put in you in ChexSystems, though, identity theft can be another problem. If your checkbook is stolen, the FTC cautions consumers to contact their bank so stores will refuse the checks, and to keep an eye on ChexSystems to make sure the thief isn't causing problems with your name there.
ChexSystems doesn't make the decision whether you should be allowed an account. They only sell reports to banks, who use the information to make their decisions. So if you're refused a new account, you'll need to talk to your bank to get them to reconsider, or find a bank that's more generous with new accounts.
More information: Second Chance: Checking Out of ChexSystems