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  • ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency that banks use to assess your banking history.
  • If you have a negative banking history on ChexSystems, you may be denied from opening an account.
  • Some banks offer second chance bank accounts which do not review your banking history.

When you apply for a new bank account, many banks use a national consumer reporting agency called ChexSystems to review your banking history. Depending on how your ChexSystems report is assessed, you might be denied from opening a bank account.

We’ll go over how banks use ChexSystems, how to see your ChexSystems report, and what you to do if your report impacts your ability to open a bank account.

What is the purpose of ChexSystems?

ChexSystems is a national consumer reporting agency that gathers information on your bank account history.

“Similar to when somebody is looking to open a credit card or obtain any kind of loan or credit and they use one of the three large bureaus for credit score reporting history to determine risk factors, there’s a system in place for checking accounts,” explains David Rothstein, senior principal at the nonprofit organization Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and a leader of the Bank On Initiative. 

ChexSystems collects and shares the following with financial institutions: 

  • A ChexSystems Consumer Disclosure Report: This report provides an overview of your bank account history. Under the Fair Credit Report Act, any negative banking history may remain in your ChexSystems report for up to seven years. That said, ChexSystems usually only keeps reported information for around five years.
  • A ChexSystems Consumer Score: After reviewing your banking history, the agency assigns a score from 100 to 899. If you receive a high score, you are considered to have a lower risk of overdrawing or having fraudulent activity. If you receive a low score, you are considered to have a higher risk.

Many financial institutions use information collected by ChexSystems to gauge your trustworthiness as a potential customer. Rothstein says financial institutions process and analyze ChexSystems data in different ways. As a result, you could be permitted to open a bank account at one particular financial institution but denied it at another bank.

What’s included in a ChexSystems Consumer Disclosure Report

A ChexSystems Consumer Disclosure Report may include the following information about your bank account history:

How to know if you’re on ChexSystems

You may request a copy of your ChexSystems report every 12 months. There is no cost for getting a copy of your report. Visit the ChexSystems website and fill out a request form online, by phone, or by mail.

Rothstein recommends going over the report with a credit advisor or banker to make sure it is accurate and you fully understand what’s included in it.

What to do if you think your ChexSystems report isn’t inaccurate

You can file a dispute on the ChexSystems website or call the agency’s customer service.

When you file a dispute, you’ll share your consumer ID number listed on your report and explain what you think needs to be corrected. ChexSystems will investigate your claim, and within 30 days (21 days if you live in Maine), you will be notified of the investigation results. If something needs to be corrected, the report will be updated.

What to do if you’re denied from opening a bank account due to your banking history

If you’ve been denied from opening a bank account at a particular financial institution, you still have options.

Some banks and credit unions have second chance bank accounts, which are bank accounts that do not use ChexSystems to review your banking history. Second chance bank accounts may be checkless accounts or have limited features so you can easily manage your account and avoid bank fees like overdraft fees. 


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The Bank On Initiative, which helps connect unbanked or underbanked communities with bank accounts, may also have choices for you to explore. Bank On has a list of all of its accounts at various institutions on its website, or you can reach out to one of their 90 local coalitions.

“Most of our certified Bank On accounts are taking into consideration the impact of past history. One of our strongly recommended features for our around 280 certified accounts is to not deny somebody who’s on ChexSystems,” says Rothstein.

Rothstein adds that ChexSystems also released a Bank On portfolio strategy where financial institutions with Bank On certified accounts can screen customers differently than typical customers.

“It matches the lower risk of a Bank On certified account with the customer who is applying for it,” says Rothstein.

In this way, people who might have been denied in the past from opening an account will still have the opportunity to open a bank account. 



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