I get a lot of banking and Chexsystems questions via email, and a constant question concerns newly authorized users to an account.
Question 1: Does my bank have the right to close my account because I added my brother as an authorized user? He is a convicted felon who is trying to make a new start, has a job and lives with my family. It is a large bank and evidently, for some reason, they ran a criminal background check and found out he has a drug conviction. He is employed and hasn't had a bank account in 16 years!
Answer: Yes. A bank can close your account at any time, and choose not to do business with you. A bank, however, cannot violate state or federal laws concerning gender, race, sexual orientation, disabilities, or other issues prohibited by law. Most likely, the system they use for approvals includes a public records check. They do have the right to run a separate criminal background check on accountholders at any time.
Possible Solution: I've found that smaller credit unions are often more customer service oriented and easier to do business with. I would find a local credit union and begin a relationship there.
Question 2: I just got married and my wife has a bad file in Chexsystems. What can we do? I called Chase where I bank, and I don't think I can add her.
Answer: Keep your Chase account as a backup, but find a local bank or credit union that does not use Chexsystems. Use that as your primary household account. Also, get her Chexsystems, Telecheck and EWS free reports and find out what you need to fix. Post on Creditboards in the Chexsystems forum for assistance once you get the reports.
Question 3: My husband died, and my stepson called the bank and told them. He never added me to the account, but I used his debit card on the account all the time. The bank would not add my name to the account because of something called Chexsystems. I need access to those funds to pay bills. He also has a savings there. What can I do? My stepson is also trying to make withdrawals, but they froze the funds.
Answer: If your name is not on the account, you will need a local attorney to help you access the funds.