August 2, 2005
OCC Releases Consumer Advisory: "Writing a Check: Understanding Your Rights"
WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a consumer advisory today giving consumers important facts about their rights when using checks to make payments.
The advisory, "Writing a Check: Understanding Your Rights," discusses the different ways checks can be processed, and the significance for consumers of those differences. Many checks are now being processed electronically, which may mean that funds are taken from consumers' bank accounts more quickly than before. As a result, it is even more important that consumers are careful to assure that they have enough money in their accounts to cover checks at the time they write them. In addition, consumers may be surprised to learn that when checks are processed electronically, the original paper check is not required to be preserved and is often destroyed instead of being returned to the consumer.
The advisory also discusses the different laws and regulations governing check transactions, how consumers' rights may vary depending on how a check is processed, and how consumers may resolve problems if something goes wrong.
If consumers have problems with a check transaction that they cannot resolve with their bank, they can contact their bank's regulator for help. The advisory provides a list of these agencies, with web addresses and phone numbers, and advice on how to find the right agency to contact. Questions involving national banks can be addressed to the OCC's Customer Assistance Group at 1-800-613-6743 or at email@example.com.
"Writing a Check: Understanding Your Rights" is available on the OCC's Web site, www.occ.gov.