We all know the big three credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
But if you’ve been turned down for a bank account, you need to meet the other players in this space: the checking account screening companies.
- Early Warning Serivces
- Telecheck Services
These specialty reporting agencies may be black balling you when you apply for a bank account.
Bad news only
Checking account screening companies report only negative information about a consumer’s troubles with their banking relationship. Usually, that means unpaid overdraft fees or involvement in fraud related to a checking account.
This is a situation where “no news is good news”. You won’t have a report with these specialty reporting agencies if you haven’t had negative dealings with your bank.
Exercise your rights
Just like the credit reporting agencies, you have a right to know what’s in your file with these specialty reporting agencies.
You are entitled to a free report from these companies once a year under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If you are turned down for a bank account, or get a “adverse action” notice, you have a right to a free copy of the report on which the adverse action was based. More on checking account denials.
If you find information that is inaccurate, you can dispute it with the reporting agency and with the bank that provided information that is wrong.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau comes to our aid here, and again.
Here’s a list of the check and bank screening companies and their contact information.
If you don’t get an appropriate response from the reporting company, the CFPB will take your complaint and work to get a response. File a complaint.
Why a bank account is important
While the financial services world is certainly changing, it’s hard to be a credible candidate for credit for a car loan or a home loan without a bank account. If you’ve been turned down by a bank or a credit union, get on it, and form a relationship with a bank.