Check 21 Allows all banks to replace the original check with a paper reproduction (front and back). This reproduction, called a substitute check, is created from a digital image of the original, contains the same information, and becomes the legal equivalent of the original check.
Yes, substitute checks are paper as well. However, they generally don’t have to be transported between banks, as is the case with the current check processing system. The current check processing system can be disrupted since it is reliant on transportation and weather conditions. Substitute checks, on the other hand, are created from digital images of the original checks. Banks can exchange these digital images electronically, reducing reliance on physical transportation. The digital images can be converted to substitute checks, if a substitute check is needed for any reason.
In the event of a discrepancy, retailers and service providers, including financial institutions, are required to accept the substitute check as proof of payment. The substitute check is the legal equivalent of the original.
Relying on check images, instead of paper, makes it less likely that an identity thief will be able to access the personal financial information imprinted on your checks. Electronic processing between financial institutions reduces the time between the check being written and cancelled, so customers should be able to detect forged, altered, or unauthorized items sooner.
Check 21 will result in a reduction in the “float time,” the time between the cashing and clearing of a check. Customers who sometimes rely on “float” time to maintain balances will need to be careful to avoid being overdrawn. A better way to control the risk of overdraft is to view your daily activity through our online banking service.