I have been with Bank of America for 2 years and 7 months as a teller and now as a Sales and Service Specialist position. I can help with any questions regarding processes at the teller window, and various other banking processes.
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Individuals and Consumers: For consumers or individuals, it is much more difficult to verify a single check because banks are being increasingly more concerned with privacy issues.
A service is available to look up single checks by the routing number if you have a land line phone and are willing to pay the $5 for the phone call. The number, to verify a check as of February 23, 2011 is 1-900-868-2995, and you can verify two checks at a time.
If it is a cashier's check, you can contact the bank it was issued by and tell them that you need to know if a check is good. With the account information and check number, they can tell you if it is an account that is in good standing and if it has the funds to cover the amount listed on the check.
Business Options: For business, services like Telecheck, BetterCheck, Certegy, CheckSystems and others can provide accurate and instant verification for most checks. Systems like Telecheck use the check writer's history and identification to gauge the likelihood that the check will be good, where networks like BetterCheck will give the account status as of that day.
Guaranteed Verification: Of course, the only sure way to verify a check, is to take it to the bank that issued the check and ask them to make sure the funds are available.
If you take it to the issuing bank, you can get cash for the item on the spot. This is much safer than depositing the item into your own account.
If you deposit the item into your own account, you will be 100% responsible if it is returned for any reason. The depositor is responsible for the full face value of the check, plus fees and you could open yourself up to prosecution for depositing a false document in some cases.
When you take it to the bank that issued the check, you can walk away with real cash for the item and there is no recourse for the bank unless you know the item is a fake.
Getting Around the System - Back Door Verification: There is yet one more way to verify a check on an account and that is to have the account holder on the phone with you, call the bank and have the teller verify the account holder and listen to the verification while it is going on.
If you have a check and the account holder's social security number or tax ID, you
may be able to log into via the bank's telephone banking system and verify the item yourself.