Welcome to Day 12 of the 30-Day Financial Wellness Challenge.
Each day will comprise of financial exercises, some short and others a bit longer, to help you become financially fit. The goal is to tackle different aspects of personal finances one day at a time.
After the 30 days, you’ll have a stronger understanding of your financial health and an action plan to improve your financial wellbeing. Review Day 11: Credit Report Review
On day 12, you’ll learn where to request a copy of the Chexsystems report and how to date your bank.
So, when was the last time you reviewed your banking relationships? Accounts like checking and savings are the primary ways we interact with money. Our pay gets deposited into the account and we make a series of withdrawals. Typically, we don’t think much about the accounts unless something outlandish happens like a fee is assessed or an issue with a deposit.
But it’s important for us to routinely assess our banking relationships. This helps us determine if the accounts we have continues to serve our needs. Our financial situations do change and sometimes we outgrow our banks.
Today, I want you to take control because you do have choices when it comes to which bank or credit union gets to have your banking relationship.
Before we get started in assessing your banking relationship, I want you to learn about Chexsystems.
What Is Chexsystems?
ChexSystems is a consumer reporting agency that collects and aggregates your banking history. It’s similar to what credit bureaus do with your credit history.
But chances are you probably never heard of Chexsystems unless you’ve been denied a checking account. If a financial institution has lost money due to bounced checks, unpaid fees or overdrawn accounts, they report that information to Chexsystems.
The information typically found in a Chexsystems report include:
- recent account openings,
- unrecovered NSF (non-sufficient funds) fees,
- and excessive overdraft activities.
Learn more about ChexSystems.
Request Your Chexsystems Report
Just like you have access to free credit reports from credit bureaus. Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) amendments to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you are entitled to a free copy of your Chexsystems consumer report, at your request, once every 12 months.
Visit www.ChexSystems.com to request your free copy.
When you get your report and there’s no information available, then chances are you’ve never been reported by a financial institution. Typically, they only report adverse actions.
Why is it important to review your report and ensure accuracy?
Having negative information on Chexsystems can limit your ability to use the best banking products. It impacts your financial health. If you’re unable to open a new checking account or get a debit card, it can make using your money more difficult. And it can lead to more fees and fewer benefits.
Evaluating Your Existing Banking Relationships
It’s important to see how your current accounts are serving your needs. And whether or no consolidating, eliminating or opening new accounts with a different financial institution can better support your financial health and wellness.
Are your banking relationships still working for you?
You now want to know how to determine if your banks or credit unions continue to serve your needs. This process is simple. But depending on how many banking relationships you have it may take more time. It’s well worth it though. There’s an added benefit to listing your banking accounts. It will be helpful on another daily assignment when I challenge you to add beneficiaries.
When assessing if your existing banking relationships continue to serve you, you’ll want to ask the following questions:
- How many accounts do I have with this financial institution?
- How am I using this account?
- Am I paying any monthly fees to use the account?
- Have I been assessed any fees in the past year? What type of fees?
- Are there additional perks with having an account?
- Does this financial institution align with my values?
It’s important to ask these questions for each account you have and with every financial institution. This will give you clarity in deciding which accounts to use or which to close. Some accounts will serve you better than others but you won’t know that unless you determine their value.
Day 12 Assignment
There are two parts of today’s challenge.
The first is to request a free copy of your ChexSystems report and wait until it arrives in the mail. You’ll have a “free” day in the last week of the challenge to address issues. And the second is to complete your existing banking relationship assessment.
- Request your free copy of ChexSystems report (www.ChexSystems.com)
- Use the table below to help you assess your existing banking relationships.
Request Chexsystems Report
|Date Requested:||Reported issues?||Yes [ ] No [ ]|
|Adverse Action Items List all adverse action items found in your report.||What type of issue is reported?||Contact financial institutions or disputed on ChexSystems?||Has the issue been resolved? Indicate the result.|
|Financial Institution||Reported Issue||Comments||Resolution|
Review Your Banking Relationships
|Account Type||Financial Institution||Primary Account||Monthly Fee||Direct Deposit||Last Used||Comments|
|Example Checking||Chase Bank||Yes||$5||Yes||3/2020||Paid 1 overdraft fee in 2019|
|Example Savings||Navy Federal Credit Union||No||$0||Yes||2/2020||ATM fee refunds. Have a credit card.|
From the example above, you’ll notice that the Navy Fed savings account has no fees and reimburses ATM surcharges. This may be an indication that a checking account with Navy Fed might be a better alternative to the Chase Bank checking account.
Banking Relationship Tips
List the accounts with as many details as possible. This makes the comparison easier. You’re able to make a better assessment and an educated assumption about the usefulness of accounts.
Consider other ways you’re using the accounts. Are you an ATM user? Are ATM fees refunded? Is there a monthly transaction requirement? Do you need to have both a checking and savings account? Is direct deposit required to avoid fees?
Fees might be acceptable. It’s important to know how you’re using the financial institution and what fees you’re paying. This helps you determine if the fee is acceptable. Sometimes paying a monthly fee is okay if the benefits are useful. Other times the fee is excessive and not necessary with other options available.
Following tools are helpful and recommended:
- Credit Karma offers you two free credit scores and access to credit report cards using the information found on your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports.
- Personal Capital is a free personal finance app with a 360-degree view of your money. With Personal Capital, you can see all your accounts in one place with planning and analysis tools.
Next Daily Challenge: Day 13 – Review Your Paycheck and Deductions
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I’ve been denied a checking account because of ChexSystems?
If you were denied a bank account because of information found in your Chexsystems report, then you have the right to request a copy of the report and the opportunity to dispute inaccuracies. Request a copy of your report. Then, review the report completely. Learn more about how to dispute information in your Chexsystems report.
Should I close bank accounts I don’t use?
Ask yourself if it makes sense to continue to have accounts that serve no purpose. If you’re looking for simplicity then consolidating accounts might be the best move. However, having multiple accounts can also support financial security.