No More Grace Time For Check Writers

August 13, 2004--Posted at 5:30 p.m.

JONESBORO -- Most peole have done it. Writing a check with insuffecient funds on say Wendseday knowing  it will be paid on Friday because they can beat the check to the bank with a deposit since it usually takes 3 or 4 days for a check to clear. Starting October 28th those days of "playing the float will come to an end.

The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act or Check 21 will streamline check processing in the U.S. The only grace time will depend on how fast or slow the check recipient gets to the bank. Dan Drew who is the Assistant Vice-President of Liberty Bank says "They won't have to process that check send it to the bank, that that bank send it to the bank it was drawn on it'll be sent electronically the same day that bank get's it." That means any check you write may very well clear the bank the next day or that very night. Lawmakers and bankers decided Check 21 was necessary after the Sept.11th attacks. With air traffic grounded check processing came to a virtual halt.

Check 21 also presents another interesting issue. After October 28th you'll no longer get your canceled checks back. You'll get what is essentially a photocopy of those checks. For those who like to get their checks back for tax purposes, bankers say don't worry. "They can get their image statement and see those same checks and coordinate them that way then take them to their accountant," says Drew.  But for now you only have about two months of check grace left.