Today, more than 20 million US citizens are living without a bank account. The primary reason is due to ChexSystems’ dominating presence within the consumer banking world. It is estimated that over 80% of all banks and credit unions in the United States, use ChexSystems to verify new customer accounts. Most individuals listed in the ChexSystems database were reported due to mishandling of their checking accounts, while the rest were attributed to abuse, fraud, or errors.
Within recent years, many websites have sprung up on the internet offering help for people listed on ChexSystems. Services vary among these sites, ranging from free information to paid memberships. No matter where you turn, there are countless numbers of “victims” venting their frustrations through the use of public forums and message boards.
Most of the frustrations shown by “victims” of ChexSystems seem justified, but even then there are always two sides to every story. Most “victims” feel that 5 years of being “blacklisted” is punishment beyond justification. And if reported in error, even worse a punishment. In addition, many have complained that the banks give no breaks when it comes to consumer mistakes, but are quick to cover up their mistakes when the banks are at fault. Banks, on the other hand, justify using ChexSystems to protect their assets.
Either way you look at it, ChexSystems is a much needed organization in the banking industry. Without ChexSystems, banks would go bankrupt without this type of asset protection against con-artists and account abusers.
The real question is how fair is the punishment for the consumers who innocently have fallen into tough financial situations, and as a result defaulted on their bank account. Is it fair to “blacklist” all consumers the same way regardless of their banking history? These are just a few of the questions that need answering before any proper reforms can be reached.