Mishandling your bank account can result in serious ramifications. Your bank has the right to close your account after you become overdrawn, but most banks wait before taking that step. Overdraft fees continue to accumulate and, if you do not pay, the bank will eventually act. Once your account is closed, additional consequences will occur that adversely affect your financial status.
Difficulty Getting New Account
It is often difficult to get a new account with an organization once you have mishandled an account with one bank. In most cases, your former bank will have reported an overdrawn and closed account to an agency called ChexSystems. This company will maintain a record of your history with banks where you had accounts. Even if you pay off all overdraft fees, you will remain in the ChexSystems database as an individual who had a bank account closed due to mishandling. When you apply to other banks or credit unions for accounts, they might refuse to grant you an account or place limitations on the type of account you can open. In this case, you might consider opening an account with a bank that offers "second chance" checking accounts.
Check Verification Reporting
A account that's closed for incidents of overdrafting can result in vendors no longer accepting checks from you. This can happen if the bank reports your history to check-verification systems used by many large and small merchants. If you write a check in a store, for example, the cashier might be unable to accept it because your name and account information have been reported to a company such as Telecheck or CrossCheck. These national companies keep an electronic database of information regarding a person's check-writing history usually using the individual's driver's license number.
It is illegal to pass a bad check. If your bank account is closed due to being overdrawn or for any other reason, you cannot continue to write checks on that account. If you do so, you are subject to legal penalties. A merchant might sue you in small claims court for the amount you owe. If you write checks on a closed account, you might even be arrested and tried for the offense. If you are convicted of passing bad checks, you could face a jail sentence, a fine or both.
The closing of a bank account usually doesn't damage your credit rating. But the reverse is true if the bank that closed your account turns it over to a bill collector because you failed to pay the overdraft fees associated with the account closure. To protect your credit score, you should settle accounts with the bank. Talk to a manager to arrange payments and prevent the debt from going to a collection agency.
- Check Systems Consumer Assistance: Consequences of Mishandling a Checking Account
- Market Watch: Knocked off Balance -- What to Do if a Bank Closes Your Checking Account "for Cause"
- Experian: Credit Advice -- The Consequences of Writing a Check When There Is No Account
- eCredable: Do Checking Accounts Affect Your Credit Score?
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