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Chapter 2

ChexSystems

Though checking account problems may stem from a variety of different issues, the result is often the same – the activity being reported to an information network such as ChexSystems. Such a system provides data to financial institutions so they may identify applicants who have a history of account mishandling. If you are on the network, you will find it difficult to open future accounts. There are steps you can take to resolve past problems.

STEP 1: Obtain your report
ChexSystems
Attn. Consumer Relations
12005 Ford Road Suite 600, Dallas, TX 75234
(800) 428-9623
www.chexhelp.com

STEP 2: Resolve the debt
If your report contains a record of an outstanding debt and you have received collection notices from ChexSystems Collection Agency, you may send your payment directly to the collection agency at the address provided in the notice. In other cases, pay the financial institution directly. Keep in mind that once you pay the amount owed, the debt's history may still show up on the report.

STEP 3: Dispute incorrect information
Contact ChexSystems if you believe your file contains errors. Have a copy of your report on hand when disputing information.

 

Credit Bureaus

In addition to acquiring a ChexSystems report, check information that is contained in your other credit files. The three major credit bureaus in the United States are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

It is a good idea to review your own credit report once a year, or before seeking a rental, making a career change, or applying for credit for a large purchase, such as a house or car.

You may receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus once a year. The three credit bureaus have established one central website, telephone number, and mailing address to use for ordering your report.

  • Annual Credit Report Request Service
    P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
    www.annualcreditreport.com
    (877) 322-8228

Additional reports are available for a fee directly from the credit bureaus.

  • Experian
    Consumer Assistance
    PO Box 2104, Allen, TX 75013-2104
    www.experian.com
    (888)397-3742

  • TransUnion
    Consumer Relations
    PO Box 390, Springfield, PA 19064
    www.transunion.com
    (800) 916-8800

  • Equifax
    Consumer Relations
    PO Box 105783, Atlanta, GA 30348
    www.equifax.com
    (800) 685-1111

 

Improving Your Credit Report

While it is not possible to remove accurate negative information before the time it drops off the report, you can improve your credit standing through responsible credit use and good payment history.

  • Develop a plan to make consistent payments.
  • Pay outstanding collection accounts
  • Apply for secured credit
  • Ask a family member or a friend to co-sign (Repay co-signed debt on time – any late payments will reflect poorly on both your credit report and your co-signer's.)

Continue to Chapter 3

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