EWS can stop you from opening a bank account

If you have ever had trouble opening a bank account you are probably familiar with Chexsystems. But have you heard of EWS? Consumers have more than enough private companies as well as government agencies keeping tabs on them.

Now the banking industry has collaborated to form another consumer reporting agency to compile and report your banking habits.

Early Warning Services (EWS) is owned by Bank of America, BB&T, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Capital One. Formed to combat fraud in the financial industry, EWS makes it possible for banks to easily exchange information between organizations in order to prevent and combat fraud.

It’s almost comical to write that the above “too big to fail banks;” all of which were bailed out with taxpayer dollars for making risky bets with customer deposits, want to combat fraud. Anyway, here is how EWS works:

EWS Subscribers

Banks and Credit Unions subscribe to Early Warning Services. Information is shared with the financial institution about a potential customer’s risk. Below are some activities customers are screened for:

  • Prior history of fraud
  • Account abuse
  • Forgery
  • Counterfeiting
  • Check Alterations
  • Paperhanging
  • Check Kiting
  • Identity verification
  • Account owner authentication

EWS screens potential bank and credit union customers in a branch, online and even teller window, phone and ATM transactions are screened.

Related: Find No Chexsystems and Second Chance Banks

Risk Detection

Customer risks could include fraud committed at another financial institution. The problem with the notation of fraud is that many customers unintentionally commit fraud. Let’s say a family member; employer or even business gives you a check. You deposit that check. If that check bounces your bank’s risk department may report fraud to Early Warning System Even if you cover the deposit immediately, the bank may report fraud to EWS.

How Early Warning Services affects Consumers

Consumers may be prevented from opening a bank account, in-branch or online due to a report in Early Warning Services. What’s worse is a bank may open an account for you only to close it a week or two later; so much for the “Early” Warning Service.

Many times consumers are unaware of any report to EWS and only find out when they are attempting to open a bank account or write a check. Yes, EWS can even prevent you from writing a check. Telecheck may not be reason your check was denied.

Consumers have complained being reported to Early Warning Services for miniscule amounts. Some consumers have paid those small amounts and are still unable to open a bank account or write a check. Often consumers are unaware they have been reported to EWS and are not given a chance to prevent the negative notation.

Consumer Laws to Protect You

Early Warning Services is a consumer reporting agency, just like Chexsystems and Telecheck. You are entitled to a free consumer report from Early Warning Services under the Fact Act every 12 months. You can also order your consumer report any time but it may be subject to a fee.

Consumers can also dispute the information in the EWS report just like you can dispute items in your credit report or items in Chexsystems. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires only accurate and complete information be reported by any consumer reporting agency and that includes EWS.

Contact Early Warning Services at their Consumer Call Center
(800) 325-7775 for your consumer report:
Early Warning Services
8777 E. Harford Drive Suit 110
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Early Warning Services


  1. 3 years ago I was dealing with a domestic violence case which caused me to be (later found out) that my ex boyfriend was depositing a check in my account with my debit card account and it resulting in fraud because it was from an account that the people never used more like a savings account. So before the checks were cleared in b of a system I closed my account because my ex was taking money out without my permission.
    B of A account was closed and my information went to early warning services & apparently chex systems.
    2.5 years later after disputing all the check problems chex systems sent me a letter of satisfaction.
    I went to open up a bank account and was guaranteed a second chance account and ended up freezing my account and bank manager said it was directly stopped by early warning systems. The manager said if they received a letter from EWS before dec 8th then my account would be restored but still not 100% guaranteed.
    What should I do? This is starting to get irritating and Im loosing as much patience as the time it will take to get me free & clean. What is the best idea you have to possibly clear this issue.

    • From what I gather you disputed ChexSystems but not Early Warning Services. If this is correct I see nothing you can do except dispute Early Warning Services. The same information that got you clear on ChexSystems should work for EWS. Unfortunately the dispute process takes up to 30 days to complete.

      If Bank of America verifies the EWS record as accurate then you can take further steps to get a final resolution. Start with complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and your state attorney general. In your complaint to the CFPB include whatever steps you have taken to resolve the issue. They usually require you first try to resolve the problem on your own before they step in. If Bank of America is claiming you committed fraud request the CFPB make them prove it. Fraud can mean anything that a bank wants it to. What proof do they have that you intended to commit fraud?

      I realize it’s a lot to do but once you get the Consumer Bureau and your state attorney general involved banks typically respond favorably. In fact you might want to contact your state banking commission. They might also have a complaint process. Most complaint forms can be completed online. These agencies can be beneficial in resolving issues because banks cannot ignore state agencies. It’s worth your time to resolve now because EWS records remain for 7 years.

  2. I was placed in to EWS by bank of America. I sent a letter to ask that I be removed as I owe them nothing. I was place there due to my business practices. I utilize a local bank in my area for my normal business and personal accounts. I have a customer in a different state. to speed up our payment I open a business Bank of America account and had them deposit our check in that account. Then i wrote a check from that account to the local bank we use. I never wrote a check back and forth to each account as that is kitting. I only wrote checks going one way and on deposited funds from our customer. They closed my account Feb 2014 and held $23,000 of our money for 1 month. A few months after this was release i got a call from our local branch manager stating that all of my accounts was being closed due to EWS reported by B of A. This was a complete devastation as I have not been able to open a new account. I begged the bank to remove us as we owe no bank any money. They said it stays no other reply. I am stuck not understand what to do next or how long this is on there.

  3. richard cosgrove says:

    I am on early warning services for compass bank. got 1 year to go but I can not have my account at wells fargo or any bank as long on ews. I try no luck at all it update it on their system why the account is been closed. what they put is not right. the bank will take off as well as ews can get off for me I can open my wells fargo acct.

    • Early Warning Services is a consumer reporting agency which means not only are you entitled to your free EWS report once every 12 months; you can also dispute errors and inaccurate information. Order your EWS Report and try disputing the wrong information. It may just be deleted if it cannot be verified by Compass Bank as accurate information.

      Contact Early Warning Services at their Consumer Call Center
      (800) 325-7775 for your consumer report:
      Early Warning Services
      8777 E. Harford Drive Suit 110
      Scottsdale, AZ 85255
      Early Warning Services

Leave a Comment