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Help! How do you live without a bank account?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I post here off and on and read more than I post. We have with advice from here seen our way through a major financial crisis and issues with the IRS. We are again dealing with issues.

Due to various medical bills and some degree of irresponsibility (i.e. “we’ve been doing so well, let’s relax a little” and bam! crisis) we ended up negative at our bank again last November. They closed the account and charged fees and demanded payment. We added them to our snowball list (which they said was ok) and opened new bank accounts which we have been doing quite well with and fully back on the budgeting, Dave Ramsey, snowballing wagon.

Today we found out that our old bank reported us to check systems (or something like that) and our new bank is closing our accounts (which they evidently and understandably reserve the right to do in the first six months.) Including our business accounts for our farm (we are running a CSA and farmer’s market operation this year). They said that with this report of a charged off account on our record no one will open an account for us anywhere.

We are feeling beaten. What do we do now? Any ideas or knowledge about this or where to turn for advice? We have 19 collection agencies, doctors offices, hospitals, etc. that we write checks to every month for snowballing. Also electric, water, phone, car, car insurance, and mortgage that cannot be paid in person in cash.

What do people do who can’t get bank accounts? Is there hope for us to get back on track? Any advice about where to turn would be really welcome. Thanks.
post #2 of 28
Money orders. That's how we used to pay things that needed checks. It's a $1 extra at the post office, a bit more at grocery stores.

For cashing checks, just go to a local branch. For example, if someone from Bank of America wrote you a check, go to Bank of America to cash it. They will do that.

How to handle business dealings, I have no clue.

Sorry you have to go through this.

Ami
post #3 of 28
Even though the bank balance may not be your smallest bill (as I understand it you "snowball" by paying off smallest to largest?) I would make paying that debt a priority, because it seems to me that running a business without a bank account would be really time consuming and difficult. Good luck!
post #4 of 28
I had a paypal problem where it was hacked into and it overdrawn my account by $600 and so I was unable to use my back account for 2 months. I just cashed my check at the grocery store (WM charges $3) and paid all my bills with money order or cash. It really wasn't that big of a deal to me esp since the store would refund the check cashing fee if I spent $20 at the store.
post #5 of 28
See if you can get a savings account, but not a checking. Very few banks will let you have a savings account without a debit card even if you owe another bank, but you have to call around. IME, large national brands won't, but a small town bank might. At least here in MN. I got into this problem with my ex, as he ran every joint account we had into the ground, and until he paid them off all I could have was a savings.

Otherwise I used money orders if I couldn't walk in to a brick and mortar building and pay cash and walk out with a receipt. Receipts are VERY important. Keep them for anything you pay with cash, and for your money orders you purchase as well.
post #6 of 28
If you are in chexsystems you will find it almost impossible to get a bank account. You might be able to get a business account in the name of the business if you have a TIN (tax ID number) for the business and such but it does not sound like that is what you have if the bank closed everything.

You may need to run the CSA as cash only. Some banks will cash personal checks for non clients, some wont, some will and will charge you a fee, BofA charges $3 per check around here and its a huge hassle.

You will pay your bills via money orders. Some check cashing places have free money orders, some will charge you for the money orders.

Even if you pay off the checksystem debt to the bank there is no guarentee that another bank will open an account for you. Its kinda like once you are in checksystems you are stuck.

Good Luck
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by PajamaMama View Post
Even though the bank balance may not be your smallest bill (as I understand it you "snowball" by paying off smallest to largest?) I would make paying that debt a priority, because it seems to me that running a business without a bank account would be really time consuming and difficult. Good luck!
I have to say I agree with this especially since you have a business and not having a checking account could be quite awkward. Years ago I had no bank account and went to a check cashing joint to cash my check and got money orders to pay my bills. It wasn't the cheapest but it worked, thing is it can be quite awkward to handle large amounts of cash so you probably would want to get money orders right away.

You can also cash checks at the bank they are drawn on if its local, that will definitely save money.
post #8 of 28
While I have had a checking account since before a lot of people on this board were born I think it would be fairly easy to run a household without one. I suspect some of your monthly bills could be paid in person just fine with cash (I know I could pay my phone, water, car insurance in person if I wanted too)
post #9 of 28
A google search turned up the following (i googled, 'banks that dont use chexsystems) There seem to be several solutions, but research and call around before doing anything.

http://chexsys.tripod.com/goodbanks.html

http://www.chexaccount.com/

http://www.creditservicer.com/pages/...nded-banks.php

http://www.ehow.com/about_4673907_ba...exsystems.html
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post
Money orders. That's how we used to pay things that needed checks. It's a $1 extra at the post office, a bit more at grocery stores.

For cashing checks, just go to a local branch. For example, if someone from Bank of America wrote you a check, go to Bank of America to cash it. They will do that.

How to handle business dealings, I have no clue.

Sorry you have to go through this.

Ami
Bolding mine.

Please be aware they will charge a fee. We did this a couple of weeks ago and it was $5 a check.
post #11 of 28
why can't you pay the mortgage & stuff in person?

Quote:
We have 19 collection agencies, doctors offices, hospitals, etc. that we write checks to every month for snowballing
What is your total debt? Is it reasonable that you will be able to pay this debt off? Is bankrupcy an option?
post #12 of 28
We're in chexsystems so we cannot open an account right now. However, my husband has been directed to a class called Get Checking. It's offered through our university and once you take this class and pay your outstanding debts certain banks will work with you. There is a list of banks on the pamphlet he got. We are saving up the money to get out of this debt, then he will take the class.

For now we use money orders and a prepaid credit card for any online purchases. We're lucky enough we can "borrow" a paypal account by giving my sister cash and she'll put it in her bank and then use her account. It's honestly not much hassle at all, as we very seldom get a private check. But we want to eventually get a savings account and rebuild our credit, etc.
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post
A google search turned up the following (i googled, 'banks that dont use chexsystems) There seem to be several solutions, but research and call around before doing anything.

http://chexsys.tripod.com/goodbanks.html

http://www.chexaccount.com/

http://www.creditservicer.com/pages/...nded-banks.php

http://www.ehow.com/about_4673907_ba...exsystems.html
I would also try another bank or a credit union. After my divorce where my ex royally f***** me and I had to declare bankruptcy our names were in chexsystems as well. I found a bank where as long as I had direct deposit I could open an account. They only gave me an ATM card initially but after 6 months of good behavior they upgraded it to a Visa/debit card. The harder thing for me was a regular credit card - I think that took almost 3 years.

Good luck.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
why can't you pay the mortgage & stuff in person?



What is your total debt? Is it reasonable that you will be able to pay this debt off? Is bankrupcy an option?
If she is paying things in collections unless the agency is in her area it would be impossible to pay in person. Also unless the mortgage is held locally that too would have to be paid via check or money order and by mail.
post #15 of 28
Wal-mart has a bank card, you don't get checks but it is a debit card. I don't think there is a fee (or it is small) to load money onto the card in the store. And you can use it anyplace like a normal ATM card.
post #16 of 28
Lots of places have money orders. Drug stores, post office, walmart, etc. Call around and find out whose prices are cheapest (I think drug mart around here still has them for 59 cents, for example).
post #17 of 28
Are there any alternative financial institutions in your region?
What about a Credit Union? They might be more flexible in working with you and your situation.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatWrangler View Post
Bolding mine.

Please be aware they will charge a fee. We did this a couple of weeks ago and it was $5 a check.
I'm not sure that's with all banks as I have never had that happen or heard of it until now. I used to cash all my paychecks at my employer's bank because they had a tendency to bounce.
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
I'm not sure that's with all banks as I have never had that happen or heard of it until now. I used to cash all my paychecks at my employer's bank because they had a tendency to bounce.
When I worked in Collections and got a bounced check, I would call the bank. If there were funds to cover it, I would take it over and cash it. At that time I was never charged a fee.

However, we got a check from a consignment store last month. We didn't want it deposited in our account (long story). So my husband took it to the bank it was drawn on. They charged us $5. I think its one more way the banks are using fees to re-coup $$$.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatWrangler View Post
When I worked in Collections and got a bounced check, I would call the bank. If there were funds to cover it, I would take it over and cash it. At that time I was never charged a fee.

However, we got a check from a consignment store last month. We didn't want it deposited in our account (long story). So my husband took it to the bank it was drawn on. They charged us $5. I think its one more way the banks are using fees to re-coup $$$.
This is true where I live. On occasion, we get checks that we don't want to deposit in our account (because we are worried about the checks bouncing and want the cash that day) and $5 is a pretty standard fee.
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