Checks And Balances

Checks are basically written for the transfer of funds from the account of a check holder in a bank or any other depository institution. The purpose of checks is similar to that of money, easing transactions.

One needs to keep in mind certain things to avoid problems on a later date. Take care that you use a proper pen, preferably use an ink pen. All the information should be filed in carefully. Look out that the numerical and written check amounts match. In case of cancellation of a check, be sure to keep an account of it. That will help you in matching and reconciling your accounts. When you sign, sign in a legible manner since a scrawl is easier to copy. Draw a line once you are through filling the amount of a check. The line ensures that the blank space cannot be filled later.

The banks have a certain set of rules and regulations in order to protect themselves against frauds. In order to cash a check at times you might even have to give your thumbprints in case of getting a check encashed at a bank other than where you have an account. The state law does not enlist the means of identification of a person. It is up to a bank to decide the means of verification. In most cases it is the ID of a person. The banks have the liberty of refusing a check that could have been issued by the Government also at times. This is again done by the banks to protect against the risk. The customer might be a trickster and once the check is encashed the bank never gets to see that person again. Moreover, a bank might not have the requisite cash for offsetting the credit. The banks may be ready to go that extra bit for their own customers but not in case of non-customers. A bank is also not obliged to pay for a stale check dating more than six months, with the exception of a certified check.

In the case of bad checks the state law imposes a criminal penalty. A bad check means refusal of payment upon the presentation of the check, which is in the knowledge of the issuer. The penalty ranges from a misdemeanor to a Class D felony, depending upon the amount of the check. A customer has a right to stop payment on the check by giving the bank a clear notice that it has reasons to stop it. An oral order has to be backed by a written complaint within a period of 15 days. The order for a stop payment holds good for six months.

Check Out These Check Facts

Checking accounts have changed and you may want to spend some time checking out the changes and how they affect you.

To start, checks are being processed more quickly these days. This means that when you write a check the money may be deducted from your account sooner. To avoid bounced checks, be sure you have enough money in your account at the time you write a check. A bounced check charge could cost you $25 per check or more.

Here are some other changes you should make note of:

• Some of your checks may be converted to electronic funds transfers from your account-called electronic check conversion. Your check is now like a debit and the money may come out of your account sooner. If you don’t want the checks you write to pay bills converted, contact your creditors to find out how to opt out. If you need a copy of a check that was converted, you will have to contact your bank, which will then contact the creditor who converted your check.

• Some of your checks may be processed as a check (instead of being converted), but the banks may exchange payment information electronically. Banks do this by creating “substitute checks.” Substitute checks are special paper copies of the front and back of the original check. When banks use substitute checks, the money may come out of your account sooner.

• The items listed in your checking account statement may look different from one another. Some items may be listed by check number and others may be listed by the name of the company you paid. Always review all of the charges listed on your account statements to make sure they match your receipts or records.

If you have questions about how your checks are processed, contact your bank, savings and loan or credit union.

Remember, under federal law you are protected against errors in your account when electronic funds transfers are used. But you have to read your bank statements each month or go online to check your account transactions. And you need to notify your bank as soon as you spot an error.