A federal consumer watchdog is stepping up surveillance of screening activities that banks use to decide who opens a checking account, with one eye to eliminate barriers that some Customers will face.
Most banks use special consumer data services, such as ChexSystems, to evaluate applicants for account checks. Services that track if you have a closed account to pay your check or do not include overdrafts or fraudulent activity. When you sign up for a new account, the bank will check your file or score based on the file. If the bank does not like what it finds, you do not receive the account.
Reports work like a kind of blacklist, since it is difficult for someone to open a primary bank account if their report contains negative information.
Similar to other consumer reports, such as credit reports, is used to assess whether a borrower is able to repay a bank loan considering various information and possible errors. data. Richard Cordray, director of Consumer Finance, said at a Wednesday forum in Washington on account access checks. “We are concerned about whether this information contains too many errors and inconsistencies.
Furthermore, he said, banks may change the way they respond to withdrawal accounts and the way they report information to screeners. Some banks close accounts only after 30 days, while others may wait 120 days. Some may report unpaid amount over $ 50 for screening services, while others may set a threshold of $ 120.
Stuart Pratt, president of the Consumer Data Industry Association, whose members include bank account check companies, defended the overall accuracy of data screening, saying that “the ratio Low dispute “.
ChexSystems, in an e-mailed statement, says that part is that the company “seeks to receive and provide accurate information to banks to allow a customer bank to decide whether to accept a particular client ChexSystems does not make the decision to open accounts for its customer banks. ”
Chi Chi Wu, a lawyer at the National Consumer Law Center, said the report formats might be ambiguous, causing some banks to deny the records because the customer’s records indicated that the previous account Has been closed for fraud, although the customer is a victim of fraud, Not the culprit. Typically, banks close accounts citing “abuse”, but that means not always clear.
C.F.P.B. It is estimated that 6 percent of check accounts are involuntarily closed. Those customers, Ms. Wu said, “may not be able to get an account anymore.”
“After consumers are banned from the mainstream banking system, they often fall into the” cash economy, “where they rely on bar services, said Susan Weinstock, director of consumer banking at Pew. The math and very easy to lose money or steal.Chinese charity. “She was banked to the consumer a lot of benefits.
Here are some questions about checking your bank account:
■ How can I find out if my bank account checker records me?
If you are denied for an account, the bank is obliged to tell you which screener has been used so that you can get a copy of the report, including instructions on how you dispute the information. You think that is not correct. You can view a Chex Systems report form on the company’s website.
You can also request a free copy of your report every year by contacting the screening firm.
■ How long does company screening companies keep information about me?
Bank information is typically your report for five years. If you pay the amount due, the bank should update its report, but it is not obliged to remove the initial and negative information.
■ Is there any way to get a current account if I can not see a screen?
Some banks and credit unions can offer so-called second-rate accounts that are available to consumers with bad credit histories. Mrs. Weinstock said that alternative options for consumers excluded from traditional accounts include prepaid debit cards and new mobile bank accounts such as GoBank, which claims not to use data from outside agencies to evaluate candidates. His website says that consumers can apply, “even if you were refused a bank account before.”