How to Check if a Check Is Good

Verify funds for risky checks before you deposit.
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Verifying whether a check you receive will be paid isn't a bad idea, especially when you’re concerned the check might not clear. When you deposit bad checks in your account, your bank can charge you a returned check fee in addition to debiting the amount of the deposit from your account. When you use deposited funds from a bad check, you could also be charged overdraft fees if a deposit reversal puts you in the negative. Determining if the check is good before you deposit takes little time and reduces the risk of paying extra fees.

Contact the bank where the check is drawn. The name of the bank should appear on the check you received. You can either call the bank or visit a local branch in person. Explain that you wish to verify funds availability for the amount written on the check.

Give the bank representative the check information. If you call the bank, you’ll need to provide the checking account number shown at the bottom of the check, the name on the account and the amount of the check. If you visit the branch, give the bank representative the physical check for verification.

Cash or deposit the check. If the bank verifies that funds are available, you may cash the check with the bank the check is drawn from or deposit it into your own checking account. If you’re concerned that funds availability may change by the next day, you may wish to cash the check rather than deposit it, as deposited checks can take several days to clear. If funds aren’t available to cover the check you received, you may continue to check availability or contact the person or business that gave you the check.

With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.