Many people don’t know that there is a consumer credit reporting agency for bank accounts and how you handle them. ChexSystems is a bank credit bureau. It records a bank’s experiences with you as a customer, especially incidences of bounced checks or overdrawing your account and never paying the balance. Negative marks in ChexSystems can last for up to five years.
If you have been denied a bank account, be sure to request a copy of your ChexSystems report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, they are obligated to provide you with a free report once every 12 months. Then, contact the bank that reported you and try to resolve the issue. If you still owe the bank money, pay it and ask them to remove their ChexSystems report on you. If they don’t remove the report, they still have to report that the money has been paid and the matter resolved.
Next time you are in line at your favorite department store and elect to write a check for your purchases, the salesperson hands your check and your ID back to you stating that your check could not be authorized. Wondering what happened?
Certegy is listed as a check verification service for businesses and merchants; actually it is the largest check verification service and is considered a consumer reporting agency to help businesses decide whether they will accept a customer’s check based on your personal check writing history. As with ChexSystems, you have a right to dispute the information in your file.
This is important: Certegy recently agreed to pay a $3.5 million settlement to the FTC because Certegy failed to ensure the information that they provided retailers was accurate. It even operated without a solid process by which consumers could dispute information in their files.
So this means that when you are staying on track with your finances and reviewing credit reports, there are actually five consumer credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion, Experian, ChexSystems & Certegy.
All of this goes to your financial profile and whether creditors or merchants will see you as a viable or risk- worthy candidate. Be sure your profile reflects the most accurate picture of you.
Black Enterprise Columnist Jennifer Streaks is a Financial Expert, Author & Pundit. Continue the conversation by following her on twitter @JStreaks or visiting her website at www.JenniferStreaks.com.