Before I entered the business world, accepting a paper check seemed simple. I made sure the value written on the check was correct, endorsed the back and it was done … right? Check transactions change when you’re a merchant. Whether it be receiving invoice payments or accepting checks at the point of sale, you have to consider more than just the written value and a signature. An important aspect to consider is mitigating the risk of accepting bad checks.
As a self-proclaimed "finance geek" I can confidently say I know a thing or two about the payment solutions available to business owners, especially those designed to mitigate risk. Luckily, I’m here to tell you about how to look for common warning signs on your own and the services available to verify your checks.Summary
- How to protect yourself from a bad check?
- How do Check Verification services work?
- How much do services that protect against bad checks cost?
- How CrossCheck’s Check Verification reduces the risk of accepting bad checks.
How to protect yourself from a bad check?
When investigating if a check is suspicious on your own, there are a few common warning signs you can find. For instance, a low numbered check (0-100 or 1001-2000) is a sign that the customer could be using a new account, and statistically, 90% of bad check writers use new accounts. Another very common warning sign is if the information of the financial institution issuing the check is not present or is written by hand.
If you are looking to verify a check on your own, your options become limited. One of the only ways to verify a check on your own is to call the bank it was issued from. Calling banks has become increasingly difficult and can be very time-consuming. Even if you can navigate the web of automated menus, the bank can still refuse to verify if funds are present to cover the payment.
How do Check Verification services work?
Most of all, I wish all business owners knew about Check Verification services. Check Verification is one of the best ways to protect yourself against bad checks. These types of services will present you with an "approved" or "declined" message once a check has been scanned. The decision to approve or deny a check is decided instantly by reviewing the transaction against large databases of check writers. If there are no negative records of the check writer in question, then you will receive approval. Verifying checks will significantly decrease the likelihood of you depositing bad payments into your account.
How much do services that protect against bad checks cost?
Despite my extensive research, I have found that Check Verification is not free. It would be an industry game-changer if you could slap a price tag on these types of services. The truth about the price of Check Verification is — “It depends.” Check Verification services consider many variables when it comes to price, but typically it boils down to three categories: transaction fees, monthly rates and equipment fees.
- Transaction fees: The price is typically a set number charged on a per-transaction basis.
- Monthly rates: Normally a monthly subscription fee or monthly minimum.
- Equipment fees: If your service requires it, there will be a one-time fee, monthly fee, or no extra charge for Check Verification equipment like desktop scanners and imagers.
How CrossCheck’s Check Verification reduces the risk of accepting bad checks.
CrossCheck's Check Verification payment processing service recommends whether or not you should accept a check. It’s not possible to know ahead of time if an individual or business has sufficient funds to cover a check, so CrossCheck’s payment processing service provides recommendations to significantly reduce the likelihood of returned items (checks).
Combined with various risk factors, CrossCheck will reference the issued check against their database. The CrossCheck database houses information on millions of check writers that includes documentation about closed accounts, check-writing histories, and individuals who have offered invalid checks as payment.
When it comes to price, CrossCheck’s prices are typically 10% or more below the industry standard and their customer service is available 24/7/365. Click the image below for a free Check Verification Insider’s Guide.