Debit bureau

What is a debit bureau?

A debit bureau is an agency that collects and reports information on bank accounts, such as checking and savings. A debit bureau knows when consumers write bad checks or fail to pay overdraft fees. It collects a myriad of consumer banking data, such as account openings and closings, check-writing and check-ordering history, frequency of debit and ATM card use, and more.

Deeper definition

An applicant for a bank account or a certificate of deposit may be rejected based on information the bank obtains from a debit bureau. A debit bureau does not report information to the three major credit-reporting bureaus. Rather, it generates reports that banks and credit unions use when considering applicants for accounts.

The majority of banks and credit unions use debit bureaus, such as ChexSystems. They supplement the information they get from credit reports at TransUnion, for example, with debit bureau reports. A debit bureau, like a credit bureau, may assign scores to consumers based on their banking behavior. All of this information helps a financial institution get a clearer picture of the consumer.

Debit bureau example

John graduates college and moves to a new city for a job. One of the first things he does is visit the local branch of a major bank to apply for checking and savings accounts. He had had bank accounts in college, but closed them after he graduated and moved. After John filled out the application, the bank obtained a debit bureau report on him. John had been given a high score by the debit bureau because he had never bounced a check and always used his bank accounts responsibly. The data bureau knew everything about John’s past bank account transactions. The bank allowed him to open accounts because of his spotless banking and credit history.

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