e-Check If you "bounce" a paper check...
When there isn't enough money in the account
Checks can bounce for a number of reasons. You might forget to make a deposit. It's easy to forget to record a check or other transaction. Sometimes it's as simple as an arithmetic error.
Companies that accept checks understand these things. They know that when a check bounces, it's usually unintentional.
But it's time consuming and costly for the company to handle bounced checks. Unfortunately, that cost is passed on to customers.
With new developments in electronic payments, now if you write a check that bounces, the company you wrote the check to can either deposit the paper check again, or they can deposit it electronically.
Q. Who uses this service? In other words, who can electronically charge my checking account for a bounced check?
A. Just about any company that you write a check to can electronically charge your checking account - for example, grocery stores and supermarkets, department stores, utility companies, credit card companies and loan companies (including mortgage and car payments).
The process is called "electronic representment" or "electronic redeposit."
Q. How will I know if the company is going to do this?
A. Companies that use electronic representment are required to tell you before you write your check that if it bounces, they can represent it electronically.
Q. What if I don't want my check to be processed electronically?
A. It's up to the person or company taking the check to set the policy.
Q. Some companies charge a return check fee. Can the company add this fee to the amount of the check and then charge my account for the total of the check and the fee?
A. No. The company can only charge your account for the amount of the check. If the company wants to collect a return check fee, you have to provide express authorization.
Q. Will my financial institution charge a fee for an electronic check representment?
A. It's up to each financial institution as to whether it charges for this type of transaction. Check with your financial institution.
Q. What if I bounced a check but I didn't know they would redeposit it electronically?
A. Contact the company who you wrote the check to. They can explain their policy to you.
Q. What happens to my check after it has been redeposited electronically? Will I get the paper check back?
A. For your protection, the company will destroy the original check, but you can get a copy of the check for seven years after it was written.
Q. What happens if I need proof of payment?
A. The IRS established in the 1970s that the listing on your account statement serves as proof of payment.
Q. Is it possible for my account to be charged twice, once for the check and once electronically?
A. It is very unlikely that this will happen. Companies that use this process are very careful, but sometimes mistakes happen. Always review your checking account statement as soon as you get it. If you notice a mistake, call either the company or your financial institution.
Q. What do I do if there's an error on my account statement? For example, what if I am charged the wrong amount, or if a payment appears on my statement that I did not authorize?
A. As always, contact your financial institution as soon as you discover an error on your account statement. Federal regulations that protect you from "unauthorized" payments Remember, always review your checking account statement as soon as you get it.
Q. How will it appear on my statement?