While checks and balances are something most people learn in an economics class taken in school, some still don’t keep up with their bank accounts. This can lead to nonsufficient funds being in the account and the slang term, “bounced check” being used.
A bounced check cannot be processed due to the check writer’s lack of funds in his account. Banks return or “bounce” these checks, and also charge overdraft fees as a penalty.
Writing bad checks is illegal, and the punishment can range from a misdemeanor charge to a felony charge, depending on the check’s amount and whether the activity crossed state borders.
Kyle Aud, senior vice president of the Daviess County Independence Bank said every day the bank gets a list of people who have written bad checks.
“Think of how many checking accounts are in the county,” he said. “So many checks are bounced every single day.”
With technology, bouncing a check is a lot easier than it used to be. Paper checks are scanned at time of payment and often converted into electronic checks. If the money is not there, the cashier will know immediately, similar to if the purchaser was paying with a debit card and had no money in the bank account.
Aud said when the bank is notified of checks written from an account with nonsufficient funds, representatives will call the customer to inform them.
“We explain the check is going to run their account into the negative,” he said. “If they don’t have the money then we will return the check. Either way it’s an overdraft charge of $35.”
The fastest way to get money into a bank account is deposit cash in person at the bank.
While Aud said Independence Bank doesn’t look to overdraft as revenue, it is something they have to do.
“I really encourage customers to use online banking,” he said. “The app can send text alerts that keeps you abreast of all your activity. Keeping track of finances and monitoring your checking account can help one from overdrafting. The biggest thing is to not use your debit card so much and watch how much you spend.”
While mistakes happen and people accidentally overdraft, if someone continues to write bad checks then the bank will have to close the account.
Aud’s advice is simple, “If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it.”