Discharging Bank Account Debt During Bankruptcy

April 25, 2010

A bank account debt can offer many challenges to an individual in bankruptcy. Usually a bank account debt originates from fees associated with an overdrawn account. These fees can quickly accumulate and result in a debt of hundreds of dollars. A bankruptcy will generally discharge this debt, assuming the debt was not incurred by fraud or criminal activity. However, the issue is often should you discharge your bank account debt rather than can it be discharged.

In deciding whether to discharge a bank account debt, you must determine if repayment is feasible. In cases where the debt is small, the account is still open, and you have the resources to pay the debt, repaying the debt is generally the best option. Remember to consult with your attorney before repaying any debt prior to filing bankruptcy. In many cases it is advantageous to wait until after the case is filed before repaying a debt.

If paying the bank account debt is not feasible, you may face several negative consequences. First, the bank will close your bank account. Second, over eighty percent of all banks use Chexsystems, a consumer reporting agency that provides information regarding accounts at banking institutions. Negative information may remain on your Chexsystems file for five years. To view your Chexsystems report for free, visit: https://www.consumerdebit.com/consumerinfo/us/en/chexsystems/report/index.htm

While a bankruptcy will discharge a bank account debt, factual information concerning the debt will remain on your Chexsystems report after the bankruptcy. This information is available to financial institutions and may prevent you from opening another bank account.

Fortunately, there are programs available to an individual with a derogatory Chexsystems report offered by banks, universities, and not for profit groups. One of the most popular is the “Get Checking” program offered by several groups around the country. The University of Missouri Extension offers a typical “Get Checking” program, which requires a debtor to pay all outstanding bank fees on the prior bank account and take a six-hour checking education class. The debtor then receives a certificate of completion which can be used to open a new account at a participating financial institution. If Chexsystems reports suspicion of fraud on a prior account, a certificate will not be issued and institutions are not required to open an account.

If you have an overdrawn bank account and are considering bankruptcy, discuss your financial situation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. There are many options to deal with bank account debt, but the situation can only grow worse from procrastination. Quick action is the best cure for this type of debt.

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