If My Checking Account Is Negative, Can I Go to Another Bank & Get a Visa or MC Debit Card?


When a person takes out a checking account, he signs a contract is which he agrees to pay back the bank if he overdraws it. If the person fails to do this, then the bank may attempt to collect on the debt in much the same way that a creditor will attempt to collect on a debt. In addition, the person may have difficulty opening up a new checking account.

Checking Account

A checking account is an account held with a bank or credit union into which a person can deposit and withdraw money. This account can be accessed with a debit card, a check card -- such as one stamped with a Visa or MasterCard logo -- and by writing checks. A person must keep the balance of the account positive or risk incurring a penalty.

Negative Balance

Anyone who incurs a negative balance must pay back the money within a certain period of time. If she does not, then the bank may write the debt off and report it to a collection agency. In addition, the bank may report the debt to a financial services company called Chex Systems, which keep records of people who have abused checking accounts.

Chex Systems

If a person has a record with Chex Services indicating that he has abused a checking account in the past -- that is, he left it with a negative balanced that he never repaid -- then he may have difficulty opening another account. This is because Chex's records are open to all participating banks. He may only be able to remedy this account by paying off his old one.


Whether you can open a new account while still holding a negative balance at an old bank will depend on whether the account has been negative long enough that the bank has had a chance to report it to Chex Systems. If not, the new bank will likely not refuse to open a new account, one that will likely allow you to use a debit card to withdraw money. However, it would be unwise to open another bank account when you are overdrawn on another one.

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  • "Personal Finance For Dummies"; Eric Tyson; 2009
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