Check clearing is changing. In the past, most checks had to be physically transported from the place the check was presented to the bank the check was written on. This was expensive and time-consuming. The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (now known as Check 21) provides a new method of handling these checks. It allows banks to create a substitute check from a digital image of the original check. Click here to view a sample check.
As of October 28, 2004, every bank is required to accept substitute checks just as they accept original paper checks. You will see these substitute checks with your account statement. They contain all of the information that the original check contained.
Check 21 includes several safeguards for consumers. By speeding up the check clearing process, check fraud can be discovered more quickly. Also, a bank that creates a substitute check must warrant that it is accurate and produced in accordance with standards for quality.
Contact a branch office nearest you for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Check 21 affect me?
Check 21 will have no impact on the way you write or use checks. However, check clearing my be faster with the implementation of Check 21 and funds may be removed from your account sooner than before. As always, make sure you have sufficient funds in your account before writing a check.
What are the benefits of Check 21?
Faster processing of checks could mean faster detection of fraud. Also, the shorter processing time could reduce the likelihood that someone could use your account to commit fraud.
What happens to my original check if a substitute check is created?
In most cases, your original check will be destroyed if replaced by a substitute check.
What if i need a copy of my check?
If you currently receive check images you will continue to receive those images of processed checks just as you do today. However, you may begin to notice a combination of original and substitute check images on your image statement. You can view and print copies of your checks – front and back – when using First Direct™ online banking.
Who accepts substitute checks?
As of October 28, 2004, all banks are required to accept substitute checks.