Early Warning System or EWS does more or less what ChexSystems has done in the past, but does it better. ChexSystems has made a name for itself in keeping individuals out of banks because of bad banking credit history. EWS is the newer database that is also keeping track of this same information. Entries with EWS generally mean that most banks will turn down your application for opening a checking or savings account. In short, if you are in the database, you probably had excessive overdrafts or bounced one too many checks.
So what’s the bad news? ChexSystems and EWS now collaborate and share information. Previously one could be in ChexSystems but still find a banking institution that did not use ChexSystem’s reports. Banks that did not use ChexSystems started offering second chance bank accounts, but these days are rapidly fading. As the brainchild of Bank of America, BB&T Corporation, JPMorgan Chase, and Well Fargo, EWS monitors fraudulent activity as well as account abuse, in addition to providing a way to verify identity and pre-screen applicants for new accounts. In other words, the EWS is a first-line defense against consumers with histories for abusing credit privileges.
So, where does EWS get its information and can it be contested? EWS gets its information from various financial institutions. Similar to the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian), EWS is a credit monitoring agency. This means there is a report associated with your identity. If you have recently been denied an account at a financial institution, requesting EWS information is imperative. Initial requests are taken by telephone in the EWS consumer call center by dialing (800) 325 – 7775.
So, now that you know you’re in the system, what next? The negative ramifications of being in the Early Warning System are many. The first thing you will need to do is find an alternative way to receive and spend your money. There are several options available, but each comes with inconvenience and fess for the use of a product or service. Prepaid debit cards or secured credit cards may be an option; however, the EWS not only tracks banking fraud, it is also tracks your spending habits. If you are perceived to be a fast and heavy spender, you may have a hard time using certain prepaid or secured cards. Additionally, you may have other credit lines reduced or suspended based on a trigger in the system.
The next option is to use an online payments processor such as PayPal. There are fees associated with sending and receiving money, but it’s a small price to pay for having a means to secure your money. In order to regain your financial good name, you will need to review your credit, ChexSystems and EWS information carefully. Dispute inaccuracies and work with creditors to pay off debt timely. Moving forward, make sure that you pay all creditors on time every time, and always live within your means.