Electronic checks, also known as e-checks, are no different from regular paper checks except that the physical document is not required for processing. The money is withdrawn from your checking account using the routing and account numbers, and electronic checks may clear the bank faster than their paper counterparts. You can use e-checks to pay for purchases online, over the phone or in person, and some retailers and other vendors process all checks electronically.

Paying with Electronic Checks in Person

Step 1

Fill out and sign a paper check. The vendor might not require all the fields to be completed for processing; some retailers need only the amount and the signature for processing.

Step 2

Provide the vendor with identification. A photo I.D. is usually required to pay with electronic checks, just as it is for paper checks.

Step 3

Retrieve the check after the vendor runs it through the check processing machine. Some retailers dispose of the checks themselves, but most often you will receive it back with your receipt.

Step 4

Record the purchase in your checkbook register. You might also want to save the checks in your files for six months to a year so you can make sure the amounts match up with the money deducted from your checking account.

Step 5

Sign the receipt. According to the FTC, retailers usually require that consumers sign the receipt when they pay with an electronic check, especially if the check itself does not have a signature.

Paying with Electronic Checks Online

Step 1

Obtain your checking account number and your bank's routing number. You can find this information on paper checks or on your account statement. The routing number usually appears first.

Step 2

Fill out the online form with the information from your paper checks. You will need to specify the amount as well as the routing and account numbers.

Step 3

Provide your digital signature if required. Make sure you type your name as it appears on your bank account or paper checks.

Step 4

Submit the payment through the online form and print the receipt for your records.