Dear Dr. Don,

I recently paid off a debt to U.S. Bank. My report says that I had abused my account. I now want to open an account with my credit union. I have a statement saying that my debt is paid in full. Is this statement enough to prove to ChexSystems that I’ve cleared my debt?

— Janet Justice

Dear Janet,

Just as paying off a charged-off account on your credit card doesn’t change the negative payment history on your credit report, making good on a deficient bank account doesn’t remove the history on your ChexSystems report. The negative information stays on your ChexSystems report for five years.

I’m not saying that ChexSystems doesn’t have an obligation to show that you’ve made good on the deficiency. You should review your ChexSystems report to make sure that it is corrected.

If it’s not, you should go through the dispute process and have that information corrected. Your statement showing the account as paid should be evidence enough if a correction is needed.

You’re entitled to one free ChexSytems report annually. The Bankrate feature “How to get your specialty consumer reports” shows you how to get the free report.

I just got my annual report from them. It’s not as detailed as a credit report, but it is worth reviewing each year. You can view a “Sample Consumer Report” on the Web site where you request your free report.

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