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Checks

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Section 11-3-104(f) of the Official Code of Georgia defines a "Check" as: (i) a draft, other than a documentary draft, payable on demand and drawn on a bank; or (ii) a cashier's check or teller's check. An instrument may be a check even though it is described on its face by another term, such as "money order."

Check 21, Substitute Checks, Electronic Check Conversion

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System defines the process as: "Electronic check conversion is a process in which your check is used as a source of information for the check number, your account number, and the number that identifies your financial institution. The information is then used to make a one-time electronic payment from your account as an electronic fund transfer. The check itself is not the method of payment."

Check 21 refers to a federal law that is designed to enable banks to handle more checks electronically making check processing faster and more efficient. Today, banks often must physically move original paper checks from the bank where the checks are deposited to the bank that pays them. This can be inefficient and costly. With the implementation of Check 21 on October 28, 2004, banks can now capture a picture of the front and back of the check along with the associated payment information and transmit this information electronically. If a receiving bank or its customer requires a paper check, the bank can use the electronic picture and payment information to create a paper substitute check. Since the effective date of Check 21, you may have received a substitute check when you were expecting an original check. For example, if you receive canceled checks with your account statement, you may now receive a mixture of canceled original and substitute checks. If you receive image statements (pictures of several checks on a single page), you also may notice that some of the pictures are of substitute checks.

With Check 21, banks will likely process more checks electronically. As a result, your check may reach your bank faster and be paid sooner. Always make sure you have enough money in your account to cover the checks you write at the time that you write them.

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