Bankruptcy expert Leon Bayer answers real-life questions.
I filed bankruptcy and I included money that I owed in bank fees and overdrafts on my checking account. The bank closed my account. My bankruptcy was granted. Now I can’t get a new checking account. Every bank I go to turns me down, saying I am listed on something called checksystems.
How can they do that when my bankruptcy was granted?
I’ll explain what’s happening. ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency, just like Transunion, Equifax, and other credit reporting agencies. According to its website, ChexSystems specializes in providing banks with credit reports about people whose checking accounts are overdrawn and closed. That’s why it has a report on you.
You are entitled to obtain a free copy of your report. If you feel there is anything on the report that is less than accurate, you can dispute it. (To learn how to get your report and how to dispute inaccurate information, visit Nolo’s Credit Repair area.)
But for now, you want to open a checking account. I have a suggestion that might help. Go to a small bank or credit union and open a savings account that has debit card privileges. Your debit card will work just the same as a checking account. In fact, very few people today bother to write paper checks. Most people are using plastic to pay for everything. (But use caution when using the debit card. See Nolo’s article on Debit Cards for tips and warnings.)
Leon Bayer is a Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney. He is a partner at Bayer, Wishman & Leotta, a California law firm specializing in bankruptcy. The opinions and advice in this blog post are from Mr. Bayer alone, and should not be attributed to Nolo. By answering a question on this blog, Mr. Bayer does not become your lawyer.