What is Check 21?
The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, or Check 21, is a federal law that improves the efficiency and safety of the nation's check payment system.
What is a substitute check?
A substitute check is a paper reproduction that replaces the original check. A substitute check includes an image, front and back, of the original check and is the legal equivalent of the original check.
Do all financial institutions have to comply with Check 21?
All financial institutions were required to comply with the new federal law, effective October 28, 2004.
Can I use a check image as proof of payment?
Yes, because it is legally the same as the original check.
What happens to the original check?
When an original check is processed and a substitute check created, the original check is usually destroyed by the processing bank. If your check is deposited to an account at Arcola First Bank, First Federal Bank of Tuscola or Arthur Community Bank, a digital image will be captured, the original check will be securely stored for 60 days and then it will be destroyed.
Can I get my original check if I need it?
No. Original checks are archived off-site for a time but are then destroyed. Your check image is adequate proof of payment and is legally the same as the original.
How long will the bank retain check images?
The bank retains check images for seven years, as is our current policy.
What if I need a copy of a substitute check?
You can obtain a copy the same ways you would any check: by calling us at the customer service phone number listed on your bank statement or by visiting any of our convenient banking centers.
What if there is an error involving a substitute check?
If you think there is an error, contact us immediately at the customer service phone number listed on your statement.
Will customers be exposed to any additional risk when the bank begins converting check information electronically?
We value the trust of our customers, and we understand that handling their financial information with care is our most important responsibility. We maintain sophisticated physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect against unauthorized access to customer information.
Will this have any effect on how quickly checks are processed, or the availability of funds?
Check 21 does not ensure that checks will be processed more quickly or that funds will be available sooner. There are many factors that affect the timing of account debits and credits, most of which are not affected by imaging and Check 21.
Why is the bank providing check images?
Customers who receive check images will benefit from simplified record-keeping and reduced storage requirements for cancelled checks. And since images are in numerical order, it's very easy to locate a check on your statement.