Let's say you bounced a few checks. Or you walked away from a checking account rather than pay the overdraft and maintenance fees. Or you managed to withdraw some money from an ATM that you weren't really supposed to.
You're in ChexSystems now. They're checking up on you. And they're mean.
ChexSystems watches everything you do when you write checks and use ATMs. If they don't like you, they warn banks not to let you open a checking account. There's another company that does the same thing, Telecheck, which is different from Teletrack, which watches your loans. It's not just big brother watching you, it's a whole family of them.
Problem is, you generally need a checking account or some kind of bank account to get a loan. Or, heck, just to go about your daily business.
If you've been denied a checking account or had a checking account closed because of what ChexSystems reported about you, that's where a second-chance checking account will solve your problem.
If you're in ChexSystems for something that's not too bad, walk into or call up a local credit union or a local bank branch and say, "Hey, do you offer second-chance checking accounts for people in ChexSystems who only bounced one check?" or something like that. Say, "If you don't, do you know any places around town that do?" Credit unions are pretty good about this, so try them first.
Chances are, you'll find a place that'll give you a checking account, if you ask around a little. Ask about fees or what restrictions they'll put on it, because it won't be as nice as a regular checking account, but hey, it's a checking account. You've got a second chance.
If that doesn't work, or if it sounds too embarrassing, or if ChexSystems has really nailed you good with fraud or something, you can search online for the same thing: second-chance checking accounts. Watch out, though, because there are scams everywhere.
First, don't pay anything just to find out where to open an account. Some places sell lists of second-chance checking accounts, and you can get that free by searching yourself. Lord knows, second-chance checking account companies aren't hiding from you--they want your business.
Second, make sure you're getting a real checking account, and not just a bad-credit Mastercard or something, unless that's what you want. Read all the fine print, search the company's name and "scam" or "ripoff" to see what complaints they've had, don't send any personal information over an unsecure connection (look for the little lock symbol), and don't send money until you know exactly what it's paying for or how and when you can withdraw it back from your account. Compare several different places to see which is the best deal.
When you get a second-chance checking account, be good, keep your head down, and after five years, ChexSystems will forget about you. It'll be like all the bad stuff never happened.
"No Teletrack" or "No Telecheck"?
Something to be aware of: If you need a payday loan, you can find "no Teletrack" payday loan companies who won't care about your Teletrack record. But even "no Teletrack" companies will sometimes look up your ChexSystems or Telecheck report to see if you have a history of bouncing checks.
So if you care, ask. Say, "Do you check ChexSystems or Telecheck or anyplace like them?" At least you'll know before you apply.
If You Really Haven't Done Anything Wrong
If you know you haven't done anything wrong and you're unexpectedly denied a checking account, you might be the victim of identity theft, and the thief has done something wrong using your name that mistakenly got you in Chexsystems. The FTC has some advice on what to do here.
If You've Tried to Find ChexSystems' Official Website...
By the way, if you've ever tried to find ChexSystems' official website--their real corporate website--you can't. They don't let peons like you and me look at it. They do have a website for us with FAQ which is helpful in a half-assed kind of way, but that's all we get. Telecheck has the same thing. If you want to stand outside the locked door of ChexSystems' official corporate website, here is as close as you can get. Only banks and boss-type people are allowed beyond the login there.
1:30 p.m. January 11
I wrote a perfectly good check and Telecheck charged me $30. That made another check bounce and then they charged me another $30 when it was all their fault in the first place. I want to sue them for stealing money under false pretences and defamation of character.
6:21 p.m. January 11
Are you saying the first check didn't bounce and they charged your checking account a $30 overdraft fee anyway? That's definitely a mistake. Have you talked to your bank?
8:37 p.m. January 11
It bounced the first time and they ran it through again and the bank paid it and then Telecheck took $30 out of my account without my permission and then another $30 for the other check that they made bounce. They have no right to do that, just take money without my permission.
8:52 p.m. January 11
LOL! You wrote a bad check. It bounced. You got charged a bad check fee. Duh. You're lucky they ran it again instead of sending the cops after you.
9:44 p.m. January 11
IT WASNT A BAD CHECK!!!
8:24 p.m. January 12
I been trying for two years to get off chex
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