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From the Experts at

Everything You Need to Know About Writing Bad Checks

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Writing a bad check is illegal, and it can have serious repercussions on your credit. Find out more about writing bad checks, what the penalties are, how to avoid it and what to do if you accidentally bounce a check.

What Is Writing Bad Checks Called?

If you write a check and there isn’t enough in your account to cover it, it will be returned to the person or entity who tried to deposit it. This is known as bouncing a check. Bounced checks are also called rubber checks, and the technical finance term for this situation is called non-sufficient funds, or NSF.

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    What Happens If You Write a Check With Insufficient Funds?

    If a check is presented to your bank and your account doesn’t have enough funds to cover it, the bank will check to see if you have a provision in place for this type of scenario. Some banks let you tie a savings account to your checking account or apply for overdraft protection so that NSF checks are paid and you can correct the negative balance afterward. If this isn’t the case, the check is denied.

    The check is then returned to the bank where it was deposited, and that financial organization notifies the person or company you wrote the check to. Bounced checks can become expensive because your bank will probably charge you an NSF fee ranges on average from $20 to $40.

    The person you wrote the check to may also be charged by their bank, which is why most companies charge you an NSF fee too. That fee can be $10 to $50, depending on the state where you wrote the check.. You can see how a bounced check in the amount of $30 can easily end up costing you double or more once all the fees are handled.

    Plus, the expenses related to a single bad check can snowball. Consider the example below.

    Someone has $200 in their account. They write checks for $215, $40 and $30 because they have made a mistake on their books and believe they have $400.

    • The bank presents the $215 check first, wiping the account down to -$15.
    • The $40 and $30 checks, which otherwise would have cleared, are presented after this and also bounce.
    • The bank charges $30 per NSF event. That’s a total of $90.
    • The account is now -$175 in the red, and the individual hasn’t even addressed the additional costs of squaring the bounced checks with the other party.

    How Does a Bounced Check Happen?

    There are a lot of ways to bounce a check, including:

    • Forgetting to enter a purchase or automatic withdrawal in your checkbook, so you think you have more money in the account than you do
    • Your spouse forgets to tell you they used the debit card that’s tied to your checking account
    • You don’t balance your checkbook
    • You write a check expecting to be able to make a deposit before it clears or simply knowing you don’t have the money to cover it
    • Your bank or credit union makes a mistake and your account shows less money than it should
    • Someone writes a check to you, you deposit it and it bounces, which throws off your balance and also causes you to be charged fees you aren’t expecting

    What Type of Legal Penalties Exist for Bounced Checks?

    There are different laws in each state that outline regulations for bounced checks, both for civil and criminal penalties. Civil penalties—those that address how much bad check recipients can collect to cover returned check fees and other charges—can often exceed the amount of the original payment.

    Under criminal penalties, you can be prosecuted and even arrested for writing a bad check. A bounced check typically becomes a criminal matter when the person who wrote it did so intending to commit fraud, such as writing several bad checks in a short time frame knowing there is no money to cover them. This can be seen as a felony in many states, especially when the checks are for more than $500.

    It’s important to note that provision is made for accidents, because bookkeeping mistakes do happen. Every state has a number of days that the person or company holding the check must wait before taking legal action. If the person makes good on the check via a money order or cash payment within that time period, criminal legal charges may be avoided.

    Writing Bad Checks Can Land You in Collections

    If you don’t take care of any amount due associated with a bad check you wrote, the amount can be sent to collections. It’s considered a legal debt you own, and this type of collection activity can be a very negative item on your credit report. But you do have some rights.

    In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took action against a nationwide debt collection group that was using deceptive, illegal intimidation tactics to collect on bounced check debts. Under a law passed by Congress in 2006, which regulated check diversion companies, these companies aren’t allowed to contact consumers until a prosecutor has reviewed the case and deemed the consumer eligible for collection. “The law also requires these companies to inform consumers of certain rights, including their right to dispute allegations of bad check violations,” according the CFPB.

    If you don’t believe the amount someone is trying to collect is correct, you can ask them to verify the debt. Send a certified letter requesting verification of the debt right away and keep a copy for your records.

    Does Writing Bad Checks Hurt Your Credit Score?

    Bounced checks don’t usually show up on traditional credit reports unless you’re sued or the balance is turned over to a collection agency. But if you write a check to pay a bill to a company that reports to credit bureaus and it bounces, the late payment may show up on your credit history.

    However, these failed payments may be reported to specialized consumer reporting agencies such as ChexSystems or Telecheck. These agencies collect information about how consumers have handled bank accounts and report that information to financial institutions as well as to retailers that accept checks as payment.

    Negative information remains in ChexSystems or Telecheck for five years. You have the right to check those reports for free once a year and to challenge any mistakes. If you’ve already been listed in ChexSystems and are having trouble opening a bank account, you may need to look for a bank with alternative approval criteria. You can also try a credit union, if you’re eligible to join one.

    A few banks may review your credit reports provided by the three main credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—before letting you open an account with them or before approving your request for an overdraft line of credit. If you’re concerned about whether you credit reports will be reviewed if you open an account, be sure to ask about the bank’s policy.

    Consider keeping an eye on how your financial choices are affecting your credit by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Reviewing your own credit reports and scores does not affect your credit score in any way.

    How Can You Avoid Writing Bad Checks?

    The best way to avoid writing bad checks and dealing with the negative financial outcomes is to keep good records and regularly balance your checkbook. You can also take some of the following actions to protect your account against NSF fees and activity.

    • Consider signing up for an overdraft line of credit, or find out if you can use your savings account as protection if you accidentally make a payment for more than you have in your account.
    • Remember to include recurring debits in your financial tracking.
    • Keep extra money in your account to be prepared for emergencies or surprises. For example, you might keep $100 in your account but never count it in your available balance.
    • Monitor your accounts online and set up alerts to come to your email or phone if your balance dips below a certain amount.

    Be very careful when writing checks so that you don’t end up losing money—or going to court—by writing bounced checks. If you’re responsible about balancing your checkbook and knowing when you have money to spend, your life will be a lot easier and you can avoid these problems altogether.

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      • tired of a Fraudulant Employer

        i know of a employer who writes bad checks to his employees an he knows there isn’t sufficient funds in the acct. and he never deposits any money in and constantly writes checks from it with no remorse about it

        • Auntie S

          I’m involved in this situation right now. All four office employees have received at least one “nsf” check in the past 2 weeks. My boss tells us to be patient. He is totally unconcerned-his checks and his wife’s checks do;t bounce.. I work from home so my checks are mailed to me and I now have 4 of them.

          • Gerri Detweiler

            It’s a really tough situation but the fact is your employer is responsible for paying the wages you have earned. Document the problem in writing and get copies of your bank statements showing that the checks bounced, and any fees you have incurred as a result. Put it in writing to your employer (it would be ideal for all affected employees to do this) and request reimbursement of those fees. Again, keep a record. If this continues, or if your employer balks, you may have to go to the Department of Labor for help or to file a complaint.

      • Credit Experts

        We are not lawyers and, unfortunately, a lawyer can best answer your questions. It’s unclear whether you are a joint account holder with your mother or what you mean when you say you “borrowed” her checkbook. Those are points you may want to clarify when you seek assistance.

      • Dawn

        I had someone write me a bad check in july of 2011, she kept saying she would pay me but never did and i lost all contact. but now aug 2014 i found out where she is can i still collect on it.

        • Credit Experts

          Checks are considered “stale-dated” if they are more than six months old. Although state laws can vary on how long a check is good, it is doubtful a bank would cash a check that old. Your best bet might be to ask the person to write you a new check.

      • Gerri Detweiler

        I am sorry but I just don’t understand the scenario you are describing…

      • Gerri Detweiler

        Are you sure it actually bounced? Are you sure you’re not talking to a debt collection scammer? How did they notify you about this check bouncing? It sounds suspicious to hear about it two years after the fact. There are a lot of collection scams related to payday loans and I’m concerned that’s potentially what you’re up against.

      • Michael Bovee

        Are you banking at the same place the NFS originated from?

      • amanda

        By law can a company attempt to withdraw a bounce check multiple times?

        • Credit Experts

          Amanda —
          We’re not lawyers, but a little Internet research suggests it can be re-presented at least two additional times, and it can be done electronically. A customer can also be charged fees, both by his or her bank, and by the a merchant who has a bounced check fee.

      • Gerri Detweiler

        Have you looked into taking her to Small Claims Court?

      • cams

        A friend deposited a check to my account since he has no bank account yet. Before the check clears, I noticed on my online bank account that the deposit was deducted and classified as RETURNED CHECK. Later did I know that he just forged the signature of the checkbook owner (his Aunt). Would I be liable on this even if I am not the one who made the deposit? The bank called me and told me to pick up the Returned check from them.

        • Gerri Detweiler

          I don’t see why you would since he forged the check but I don’t know for sure. You didn’t spend the money he deposited, right?

      • Gerri Detweiler

        It’s not good, obviously, but it may not affect your ability to refinance. Did you resolve it right away? If so, it shouldn’t have gone on your credit reports. Certainly the bank will have internal records but that may or may not be a factor. Sometimes it’s the credit report that they check and rely upon and bounced checks typically don’t appear on credit reports unless they go to collections. Another option you may want to consider is working with a credit union that offers car loans nationally.

        The other thing you will want to do is to ask Bank A if they report the bounced check to TeleCheck or ChexSystems. Just be upfront and honest with them; these things happen all the time. Tell them you’re trying to build good credit you want to make sure that this bad check someone wrote you doesn’t sabotage the process. If they do report to either those bureaus you can request a free copy of your report each year. Those reports are used primarily when consumers open checking accounts, not when they apply for loans.

      • Jeanie

        Here’s my problem: In Dec, 2008, after going broke and using up all my savings, I had $52 in my checking account with one outstanding check for $25, written in August 2008. I also had a credit card with this bank so in the discussion of my not being able to pay my monthly payment of $325, I asked what would happen with my checking account. Banker said, account will close in 30 days. Knowing I had that outstanding check for $25, I sent the party a new $25 check from an account with another bank and withdrew $50 from the account about to close, leaving $2 because they usually charged a $1.00 fee for ATM use.

        Anyway, In late Jan, two things occurred, Bank 1 reported me for writing a bad check–for the $25 check and the credit card bill of $325, both of which they paid because I had a check guard thing that I’d forgotten about because I never used it–I had stellar credit with this bank for 20 years or more and I have never written a bad check. Anyway, so Bank 2 closed my account because of the check charge also. So for two months I was selling household furniture to survive until my Social Security kicked in, which amounted to $682, not enough to live on or pay amount owed on that check charge or on anything else. I might add that I still have that returned letter containing the second check written for that $25, still unopened, my only proof that I was not defrauding anyone.

        But what I think is outrageously punitive is that now, almost six years later I still can’t cash a check written to me that isn’t a third party check. Last week, I received a check from Amazon for $58 and tried to cash it at two banks—one of them the issuing bank—and both said I had to have an account to cash it, though no bank will give me one. Nor would Walmart cash it as they’re tied into the same system: Certegy.

        So how long will I be punished for this crime of going broke?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Have you obtained your report from Certegy? You can get it for free – you will find instructions on their website. Negative information may remain for up to seven years so you want to check that the dates on there are correct.

      • Credit Experts

        Who is “they”? Your daughter is very unlikely to be arrested. It is, however, possible she could be sued. Generally, though, a warrant for an arrest is an empty threat.

      • Gerri Detweiler

        Karin – it’s hard to say exactly what’s going on but I suspect it will be difficult for you to collect from this person. You may want to consider taking them to Small Claims Court. I understand your hesitation but this is a fairly large amount of money, and if he keeps writing you checks that bounce it’s going to create additional problems for you,

      • Michael Bovee

        What is the name of the bank?
        What was the result of the district attorney complaint, and does she have a paper trail of her complaint process with them?
        How long ago did this occur?

        • Robbie Clark

          she has a copy of two checks the district attorney is filing felony charges against the company it happened recently within 3 weeks she is financially devastated

          • Michael Bovee

            I would not be overly concerned with their threats if she is a victim herself, and the authorities are following up on all of it. But get her to talk with an experienced consumer law attorney in your state. You could look for one at

            She should escalate her concerns with upper management at her bank. I would get documentation of her complaints, and of the DA’s activity with the issue. I would be making these efforts to try an prevent being reported to check systems, etc.

      • Gerri Detweiler

        Hmmm…not sure I understand. Anytime you write a check and there is not enough money in the account to pay it, it will be returned for Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) which is the technical term for what’s known as a “bounced check.”

      • Gerri Detweiler

        That’s probably outside the statute of limitations, which I believe is 6 years in Michigan. Also threatening to take legal action they can’t take is illegal and in most cases collectors cannot garnish wages without first taking you to court. I am concerned you could be dealing with either a scammer or a rogue collector. Proceed with caution. 9 Signs You Are Talking to a Debt Collection Scammer

      • Gerri Detweiler

        Are you sure this is a legitimate collection agency? A debt collector can’t “file a judgment” against you. They can sue you and take you to court, and if they are successful, get a judgment. But if that’s what they told you they were doing, you may be dealing with a scammer or rogue collection agency. Ask them to send you something in writing (not email) and please proceed with caution. 9 Signs You Are Talking to a Debt Collection Scammer

      • bonbourn01

        On December 13,2014 I recieved a check for 900.00 i thought was for a class action settlement,well this check was a scam,so the bank advanced me 200.00 before we and the bank determined it was a fake.The bank has been very nice and i have paid the 246.00 back and realized the bank has done nothing to go after the person who committed the terrible fraud

      • Kali Geldis

        Hi Liela —

        Great question. The statute of limitations on old debts varies state to state, but here’s a good list we created for your reference:

        Also, if you have concerns that this debt isn’t legitimate, keep in mind that there are payday loan scams that pop up from time to time. If you ask a debt collector to verify the debt, they must verify it for you. Here’s some good tips for how to ask a collector to do this for you:

        Thanks for the question!

      • Gerri Detweiler

        It’s not illegal in most cases to request a Social Security number but your customer would be well within his rights to decline giving it to you. (And a debt typically can be turned over to collections without one so it’s not absolutely necessary for the owner to get it.)

        As for the owner shifting the liability for this debt to you I doubt that’s legal. You might try the Department of Labor for more info?

      • Spencer, Nat’l Employee Rep.

        There is no law to my knowledge preventing someone from asking for a Social Security number and the customer can decidedly say “no”. Perhaps, you were confused. It’s not typical to ask for a social security when receiving a check. Likely, the employer required you to ask to see and write down the customer’s driver’s license number on the check, which is common when accepting a check. As I’m sure you’re aware, when a NSF check is received, the employer should try and locate the customer and negotiate payment or turn the NSF check over to the State Attorney’s office and/or file a small claims action for the amount, plus penalties.

        As to the employer asking you to cover the bad check, that’s
        ridiculous! Sounds like you were suppose to take down the
        customer’s drivers license information (or the license was expired) when
        accepting the check and because you failed to do that or see the
        license was expired, the employer got angry with you for not following protocol, hence requesting you to cover the check. I’m sure you did not know when hired that you would be responsible for any bad checks or any loss for that matter at the workplace. If the repayment of the NSF check by you became a condition to continue working for
        the employer, and you refused, this should be considered a
        constructive discharge and you would likely have a successful claim for
        unemployment benefits. Contact me if you go this route and your employer contests your claim.

      • Violet

        I wrote a check to safeway and it bounced..I paid the bank and the check amount. I’ve been told they give you a $35 fee..I have yet to receive anything stating I owe them anything else. Also my phone line was not working so they could call and seemed to be able to leave messages. In all honesty I didn’t have caller ID to know who was calling and the line was nothing but static when someone would talk. I have no idea how to get a hold of them and the lady in store is rude! Its not like I meant to bounce it..A check I had wrote 2 months before finally came through the day before payday and I got bounced. I’m worried they will try to arrest me for the $35 fee. I live in Oregon..

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Violet – I’d suggest you try to order your free consumer report from Telecheck and Chexsystems. Maybe it will show up there and give you some information about where it stands. You may also want to try to contact the corporate office for Safeway. That information is on their website.

      • dani

        My boyfriend found an old checkbook in my house from my dads old company and was cashing these checks (which the account to was no longer existant, the bank Washington Mutual actual closed down) against my account. The checks kept bouncing over a months time but i get direct deposit there was never a negative balance for more than a few days and my boyfriend kept coming up with the cash eventually to cover the bounced checks stating his employer was “shady” and had money problems. Now after a month or so of bad checks my bank has frozen my account. My boyfriend came clean to me about everything and i dont want him to get in trouble and there are no monies owed to the bank everything is paid due to my direct deposit with my own employer but the bank is requiring me to go down in person with my boyfriend and speak to bank manager in order to get my account un frozen. I didnt tell the representative over the phone the whole “real” story just that my boyfriend was having issues with his employer but got paid cash and sorry for the inconvience there will be no more of the checks, they are still requiring i go down in person. I don’t know what to do. What are my options?

        • Credit Experts

          We are not lawyers, and it sounds as if you will do well to seek legal advice. A bank is not obligated to keep a customer, particularly if it has reason to believe that doing so puts it at risk.

      • Sean Bergeron

        Where I live you could at least recuperate 3,500 from small claims court. It may not be all that you are owed, but it is something at least.

      • concerned

        If you are not on her account, you broke the law! It’s called theft! Depending on how much you took the liberty of writing yourself checks from her inactive account, you can go to jail on top of fees. I hope she reports you!

      • Crs

        Is there a time frame for going after a bad check?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          It varies by state. Your state’s attorney general’s office should have details for you.

      • Unknown

        What is the fee the recipient of the bad check issues the originator of the check for giving them a bad check?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          The amount that can be charged varies by locality. You will need to check with your state attorney general’s office.

          • Carolina

            Does this fee have a name

      • Drake

        If you write a bad check are you issued a NSF fee and a Returned Check fee? or do you only get the returned check fee if you try to deposit a Rubber Check? And is there any fee I could issue to someone if they write me a bad check?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          It depends on the bank and merchant’s policies, but usually you will be charged two fees – one from the merchant or company that you wrote the check to and the other by your bank. You need to check with them regarding their policy. If someone writes you a bad check you may be able to try to collect the fee from them (how much depends on state law) but if you’re not willing to pay it, it may turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth.

      • JJ

        I received a bounced check.( $2,200 ) I want to take action, but my husband lost the check. I need a copy of a bounced check. What can I do?

        • Credit Experts

          Hopefully, your husband can find it. You will have a tough time taking action without a check (just as you would have trouble cashing a check you had lost).

          • JJ

            Thank you for your answer.
            What if I have a certified bank statement from bank, with a digital copy of the check? Is that going to be accepted by court?

            • Credit Experts

              We don’t know what the judge/court will do or will accept as evidence. Could you call and ask what constitutes evidence?

      • Gerri Detweiler

        Most checks today are processed electronically and they aren’t going to get a copy of the check. But they may overdraft their account so you want to notify them as quickly as possible about what happened. Are you worried about the same checking getting re-deposited again? If so, talk with your bank as soon as possible about your options.

      • Regina Frances Ann Carey

        A bounced check can be re-deposited up to three times. If the recipient does not want to re-deposit the check, then they MUST give it back to the person who wrote it so it can be put among the person’s canceled checks. The reason it must be returned to the writer is because it is still a good check and the writer must cancel it. If the recipient tells you that the bank did not send the check back to them, they are lying to you.

      • Gerri Detweiler

        I don’t know the rules regarding venue for business debts, unfortunately. I’d recommend you ask an attorney how to best protect yourself. Keep in mind that even if you get a judgment you still have to collect on it, and that can be difficult.

      • Mudessar

        i have a company in UAE and i have issued one cheque for one of my supplier but it is dishounered yesterday… there is no issue for my supplier he trust on me but i want to know what kind of bad aspects on my credit history for this issue

        • Gerri Detweiler

          I am sorry but we aren’t familiar with credit reporting procedures in the UAE.

      • Donna

        By law can an employee ask a relative about a bad check that I wrote in a public place?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply to creditors collecting their own debts. However, there may be other laws that apply. You’ll need to check with a consumer law attorney or your state attorney general. At a minimum you may want to complain to this employee’s supervisor at their place of employment.

      • Tiana Valle

        I just started a new job as a daycare provider. I was paid by the parents from their personal checking account this morning in the amount of $400. They are new to this area and the check is from an out of state bank. I am worried the check will not have sufficient funds. What will happen to me if I withdraw funds?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Talk to your bank first. If the check bounces and you’ve withdrawn the funds you may overdraft and end up with expensive fees.

          • Tiana Valle

            I’m so glad you answered! Thank you! So, if I withdrew funds, I would be responsible for that amount if their check does not clear?

            • Gerri Detweiler

              Yes–you would overdraft your account. If you haven’t already deposited the check you could take it to the bank it was drawn on, cash it. and then deposit the cash at your bank. That would be safer.

      • Jennifer

        My friend asked me to cash a check for her because you didn’t have a checking account and her employer gave her a check we took it to the bank and deposited it the next day we went and took the money out and now its saying I am- the exact amount her check was. I don’t understand why my account is negative don’t they check that before they give you the money? Isn’t that why I had to wait the 24 hours? Now my paycheck is going to be deposited direct in the morning and they’re going to keep it because I’m in the negative help me what can I do

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Unfortunately paychecks can bounce just as other checks can, if the employer didn’t have enough funds in their account to cover the check when it was presented by your bank to theirs. (This usually happens electronically and usually quickly, but it’s possible for whatever reason this one took longer to come back as NSF.)

          You can tell your friend what happened and ask them to reimburse you for the overdrawn amount plus any fee your bank charges, but your friend will have to get that money from her employer. Hopefully they can. (He or she may try to take the check to the bank on which it is drawn to cash it.)

          I wish I had another answer for you. It sounds like you tried to help them out and now you got stuck with a mess!

      • Chris Lie

        I recently received a total of 5 checks that were paid to me and I uploaded them to my checking account but I never received any money and the next day the bank called me and said the accounts were accounts and insufficient. Due to the fact that I was already overdrawn because of an overdraft the bank is threatning me with prosecuting for fraud..I didn’t get any money off these checks and can they do this?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Chris as much as I would like to help I will have to suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney. Legal Aid may also be able to help, or you can try your state attorney general’s office.

      • Evan Serrano

        Hi I really need some advise please I recently wrote a check my landlord for 210 dollars because I was getting a direct deposit into my account at midnight and she cashed the check at Ace checking right away whale I looked at my account today and I still have a zero balance so I contacted the people that are supposed to make the deposit into my account and they said that it won’t be there till the 29th of this month so now I’m freaking out because I’m on probation and cant afford to violate for anything I wasn’t trying to write her a bad check or anything and don’t get paid for another two weeks so please what do you think I should do? I was thinking about calling Ace and explaining the situation and hopefully they understand and can help me out but im really scared so can you please give me some advice as to what I should do I would really appreciate any serious type of replies thank you and God bless you all…………

        • Gerri Detweiler

          I wish I had an answer for you. Unfortunately I am not certain what the best options are given your probation. Are you able to talk with someone from Legal Aid?

      • Pam

        I wrote three checks I paid for2but I was late paying the third one and they sent it out to the DA could that be a problem.

        • Gerri Detweiler

          What state are you in Pam?

      • robert

        I had a checking account with Wachovia bank about 10 years ago, I wrote a check for 200 dollars I think it was, for groceries, I clsed my account 3 months later, but the check must have never got submited to my bank, until after the account was closed. is there anyway to find out how long the statute of limitations are on this?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          What state was this in? Is it now a collection account or…?

          • robert

            it was in Florida, a Debt collector not the bank, is trying to sue me for 3x’s the original check.

            • Gerri Detweiler

              Florida’s Worthless Check statute is
              here but it doesn’t list a statute of limitations for these actions. However, separately it appears that the statute of limitations is either two or three years, so there’s a good chance this is too old and if they do sue you that you could raise the statute of limitations as a defense. However, I am not a consumer law attorney; if you are being sued I suggest you contact one for help.

        • Credit Experts
      • Stephanie Taylor

        Hello. I need help. About 2 months ago i wrote a check for 725 to my landlord becuase i thought there was money in my bank. I failed to realize my other bills had already went through so the check bounced .As soon as she called and told me it bounced i called my bank and paupaid the fees to cancel the check . Which they did and my landlord told me i would have time to pay it back to them . But now they are saying if i don’t have it all by today that they are turning the bad check over to the DA and they’ll arrest me for a bad check . Can they do that ? Even though i cancelled the check becuase i didn’t know it was going to be a bad check ?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          In some states, writing a bad or worthless check can be a criminal matter, but it usually requires that the consumer wrote a bad check to have written a check knowing there weren’t funds in the account to cover it. You’ll have to check your state’s laws on bounced checks to find out what the repercussions of writing a check with NSF are, but there are usually additional charges and sometimes up to treble damages that can be charged by the recipient.

          It sounds like your landlord is concerned about getting paid and is trying to protect herself. If you can’t pay the full amount you owe today try to see if you can work something out and get her what you can with a clear payment to catch up. If you can work something out then get it in writing.

      • Rita

        One of my customer paid in 3 checks and 2 of them have been bounced for the total of $11,500 and the 3rd check is postdated for July 30th. I have tried to reach her on phone and email but there has not been any response. Would highly appreciate if I can learn what are my options here. The client is in New Jersey and I am in California. Thanks!

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Given this is a large amount we’d recommend you consult a debt collection law firm. It may be difficult to collect, especially given the distance between you and her and the fact that she is avoiding contact with you. You’ll likely need to take legal steps to recover.

      • Jason

        Hello. I deposited a 2300 dollar check into my bank account using mobile check deposit. I just found out that the check was not real. What are the consequences that I can suffer. I am in the state of Indiana.

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Talk to your bank right away. If you were counting on those funds to pay checks you’ve already paid or payments you have already scheduled, you could bounce some checks. Explain to your bank that you were a victim of a scam and ask for their advice. Hopefully they will work with you to minimize the expense associated with this.

      • Suz

        My bounced check cleared 13 days ago….Chexcel still has not paid the merchant. How long can Chexcel hold on to the money?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          I don’t know – have you contacted them? (The merchant is their client though – so really they should be talkiing with them.)

      • nadalotta

        I have a general question. I just received notice of change of benefits, including an increase to $27 for a bounced check future ones would be $38. (I don’t know the old amount).
        The last time I bounced a check (& at a different bank) was before 2000.

        My question is this – I thought there was a settlement between the big banks for charging so much money for bounced checks and, in the settlement, the banks agreed to reduce the amount they charge. Well, my bank is going the other way and it’s one of the Top 3, I would say.

        Does anyone know if it’s true and, if so, where I could read about it? Thank you!

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Maybe you are thinking of the settlements against several large banks with regard to how they ordered checks in order to extract the maximum overdraft fees. (Bank of America, Chase, TD Bank and PNC Bank). There is also the Card Act which applies to credit card overlimit fees which requires an opt in and generally limits them to a reasonable amount (roughly $25 for first offense though not set in stone). The average NSF fee is just under $33 so your bank’s appears to be on the high side.

          • nadalotta

            Yes, I think that’s exactly what I was thinking about – thank you!

      • Macie

        ok my checked got bounced for my dog at first i was suppose to pay $175 then the fee which is $35 and i didn’t get that paid in the 10 days i am suppose to and still haven’t paid it and the letter says since i didn’t get it paid its going over to the DA’s office for collection what does that mean please help

      • Katie

        I am being sued by a collection agency for a bad check I didnt write from my ex-employer. I cashed it at a cash checking place not know the funds were insufficient. Should I be the one being sued for this or shouldnt my ex-employer be accountable?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          @Katie – Was this a paycheck you cashed at a check cashing outlet? Did you ever try to get paid back by your employer? What happened?

      • Jerry

        I received 2 overpayment checks from South Carolina child support one for $51.89 and the other for $48.64 I took the checks to a check cashing place and cashed them but the checks were cancel before I cash them so now what can happen to me regarding this matter
        Sincerely Jerry

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Are you able to make good on the checks? The check cashing outlet will probably charge you a fee but if you can pay that and the checks, that’s your best bet. If you don’t, it may be turned over to collections. You’ll have to see what their policies are, as they vary.

      • Michelle

        Hello. I received a call today from a debt collector that told me I had a bounced check from 2006 that never got taken care of. She said they’d settle the $23.00 check for $93.00, but if I didn’t pay it then my fees would exceed $400 and that it would be a felony. She had all my information from the check including my old bank account number, old address, etc. Could this be legitimate? I asked why it would take 9 years to collect and never got a good answer. Is there a time frame that they’re allowed to send this to collections if it is in fact correct? I’ve been working very hard on my credit for the last few years and I don’t want this to be a set back, but it seems crazy that I could have something go to collections from 9 years ago. Any insight would be appreciated. Thank you!

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Sounds very suspicious – especially since she is alleging it will be a felony. The statute of limitations may have expired as well. And it shouldn’t be on your credit report nine years later. Check the statute of limitations for bounced checks in your state. (You can start here as a guide but double check what applies to these checks: Statute of Limitations On Debt Collection by State). Insist the collector send you something in writing. That’s your right under federal law. Proceed very carefully. This could be a debt buyer trying to collect a time-barred debt, or even a scammer.

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