Predatory loans exist in the mortgage industry. This is usually when a mortgage broker adds unnecessary fees to a bad credit application, knowing that the applicant is in dire straits.
Predatory banking can also exist for those who have ended up at ChexSystems.
ChexSystems is a network of financial institutions (mainly banks) that regularly provide information on account holders who mismanage their checking or savings accounts. Almost all US banks are part of this consortium.
Bounce a check and don’t pay it in a timely manner, and you could end up at ChexSystems. Even if you receive a fake check and the bank suspects a crime, you could fall into the ChexSystems dock.
And the sentence for this financial crime is not light.
If the bank that put you on ChexSystems refuses to reveal your name from the ChexSystems database, it will be almost impossible for you to get a bank account of any kind for 5 years.
Even if you cancel the offending debt, the bank could still hold you as a ChexSystems prisoner. Wicked, but 100% true.
So naturally when you have a situation where people are caught between a rock and a hard place, the vultures come out to feed. This is what you can find if you are looking for a non-ChexSystems bank account.
Before paying money for any service that claims to provide you with a non-ChexSystems bank account, make sure it passes the following tests with flying colors.
Make sure the bank is FDIC insured.
According to the FDIC website:
“The FDIC, short for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, is an independent agency of the United States government. The FDIC protects you against the loss of your deposits if an FDIC-insured bank or savings association fails. FDIC is backed by the faith and credit of the United States government. “
Simply put, if you decide to open a bank account with an institution that is not insured by the FDIC, you could basically lose all of your money if that institution goes down. Therefore, it is extremely important to check the status of banks before opening an account. You can easily verify that a bank is FDIC insured on the FDIC website.
If it is a credit union, make sure it is insured by NCUSIF.
NCUSIF insurance is similar to FDIC insurance, except it is for credit unions. According to the website of the National Association of Credit Unions:
“The shares of your credit union are insured by the National Credit Union Stock Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), a branch of the NCUA. Established by Congress in 1970 to insure the share accounts of members in For federally insured credit unions, the NCUSIF is administered by the NCUA under the direction of the NCUA Board of three. Its stock insurance is similar to the deposit insurance protection offered by the Federal Insurance Corporation of Deposits (FDIC) “.
All credit unions that are insured by NCUSIF can be found at ([http://www.ncua.gov/indexdata.html]).
Make sure the institution has a physical branch.
This is one of the easiest ways to remove bad seeds. Banks with physical branches are always legitimate financial institutions.
Do some background work at the bank.
Perform a WHOIS lookup to see the registrant of the bank’s domain name. If you are a single person, that should raise a red flag. It should always be the name of the bank or business name. Look on the banks website. There should be separate phone and fax numbers and a legitimate mailing address, not a PO box. You can always call 411 to confirm that the phone number matches the address listed. But also keep in mind that some banks have a central location where they handle general calls.
Make sure the bank does NOT require you to use direct deposit to open the account.
There are some financial services that offer checking accounts without checks. (As far as I know, this is not a scam). But what if you don’t receive direct deposit? Or what if you change jobs and no longer receive your checks by direct deposit? So you’re basically back where you started. What if you want to use checks? I mean, a checking account without checking completely defeats the purpose of obtaining a checking account.
Make sure the institution doesn’t charge you for common items like monthly statements, phone services, and withdrawals.
I recently noticed a financial service charging outrageous fees for options that are normally offered for free through regular banks and credit unions. They charged for everything but the kitchen sink, which included: a fee to check your balance at the ATM, a fee to receive a monthly statement, a fee if you want to return something you bought from a retail store, a fee for use their automated phone service. And that was just the tip of the iceberg!
Even if you are in ChexSystems it does not mean that you should be a victim of stratagems like these that drain you financially. There are always better alternatives waiting behind the scenes.