“The score looks at items like the number of inquiries made on you by financial institutions, number of bounced checks, number of account closures, and number of check orders you have placed.”

Rejection doesn’t feel good, and it’s especially inconvenient when you are trying to open a checking or savings account and you find yourself blocked by a mysterious financial score you were likely not even aware of. This little-known factor that can make or break your chances of successfully opening a bank account is called your banking score.

 

A banking score is a consumer score originating from ChexSystems that ranks your ability to responsibly handle checking accounts. The rating scale is 1000-899, and the higher the score, the better. The score looks at items like the number of inquiries made on you by financial institutions, number of bounced checks, number of account closures, and number of check orders you have placed. The more of these negatives appear in your report, the lower your score will be.

 

Improving your banking score is an important step in successfully opening a checking or savings account. Let’s take it step by step.

 

  1. Request a free ChexSystems report. You are allowed one free ChexSystems report every twelve months. You may also request a free ChexSystems Consumer Score. Word to the wise: If your score is looking low, hold off on trying to open accounts until you have taken some steps to improve the score, because each time you are rejected by a bank, your score worsens.
  2. If you found potential errors in your ChexSystems report, you have the right to dispute it. Just take a few moments to dispute the errors online.
  3. Request that your bank waive overdue fees. Overdraft fees and bounced check fees can create a vicious cycle for you. Bank representatives do not have to forgive fees, but many do if asked. Fee removal can help lift you out of the overdraft fee cycle and point you in the right direction.
  4. Request that financial institutions that you have been involved with in the past remove negative information from your ChexSystems report. They may refuse, or they may not. You may need to negotiate by paying old fees. It’s worth a try!
  5. Create, and stick to, better banking habits. Don’t float checks, check your account balance regularly to keep it from dipping below zero, avoid payday loans, and pay debts on time.
  6. Know, and work on improving, your credit score. Some banks also rely on this score when deciding whether to allow you to open an account.

 

It can be startling to discover that a score with your name on it has been floating around out there unbeknownst to you, but don’t panic if the number was not what you had hoped. With a little diligence and time, you will soon be banking merrily away!

 

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