The electronic check conversion process is becoming more common. However, not all consumers understand it.
To assist consumers, the Federal Reserve Board published “When Is Your Check Not a Check?” The publication is available at www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov/learnmore/checking-accounts.cfm.
In general, an electronic check conversion uses check information (its bank identifier and your account and check numbers) to arrange a one-time payment from your account – an electronic fund transfer. The check itself does not serve as the method for the payment.
Importantly, the transaction is processed more quickly than a check, so it is essential you understand sufficient funds are required in the account at the time of purchase.
When you purchase a store item through this process, you will receive a receipt showing basic transaction information, such as the transaction date, amount and merchant’s identifier.
When you receive your bank account statement, review it carefully to ensure the information on the statement is correct. If not, notify your financial institution right away. The Federal Reserve Board cautions that a consumer must contact his or her institution about a problem within 60 days (from the date your statement was sent).
The agency states consumers should ask their institutions to investigate electronic fund transfers that they “believe are unauthorized or incorrect.”
The publication provides additional information regarding consumer rights.