Why Do Businesses Ask For Phone Numbers And Other Info When Accepting Checks?

Why do businesses ask for phone numbers and other info when accepting checks? This happens more frequently if you are out of town or writing a check at a business that is unfamiliar with you. For some businesses, this is standard practice for any person who is writing a check, even if that person is a daily customer.

Occasionally, a business may ask you for your driver's license number and phone number when accepting a check from you. They will write this information directly on the check before accepting it.


This happens more frequently if you are out of town or writing a check at a business that is unfamiliar with you. For some businesses, this is standard practice for any person who is writing a check, even if that person is a daily customer.

Why do businesses do this?

"This is most likely more to do with the business than the bank," says Steven Twirago, personal banker with Chase Bank.

It is quite often done so you can be tracked down if the check is rejected by your bank for insufficient funds. The driver's license number can also help confirm you are the owner of the account and the checks have not been stolen.

The business is looking for security. In the case of stolen checks, this added information may help track down the thief or deter them from writing the check in the first place. They want to accept your check but they also want to know they can find you if the check is not honored at your bank.




Your bank may or may not verify the authenticity of the check over the phone, but this solely depends on each bank's policies.

Twirago explains, " A bank can call the bank the check is written off of to confirm if the funds cleared that bank."

Beyond that though, the bank is pretty much out of the picture. The check will be returned and the appropriate fees will be deducted.

What does the bank do with a check that is returned?

"They send the check back and they charge a fee. I believe it's the person that wrote it (who incurs the fee)," says Twirago.

If a check bounces, the business is notified that the check was not honored and the business may, at that point, be on their own in terms of recouping their losses. At one time a business would display bad checks as a deterrent for others thinking of doing the same, but this is uncommon today.

If your bank rejects your check, the business can then try to call you to rectify the situation. If they cannot reach you, they may use your driver's license number to get your address.

When a business cashes a check that subsequently bounces it may cost them even more. According to Twirago, the business may also be charged a fee for the bounced check. This will depend on each bank's policy.

When this happens the business is in a situation where they are going to lose more than the amount of the bad check. They may now have service fees they have to pay. This is why you may notice some businesses display signs that warn of an additional fee if a check were to bounce.

If the business cannot contact you, they may pursue legal action against you. The fees associated with this will add to the amount you now owe that business.

The next time you are asked for your driver's license number or phone number when writing a check, remember that the business is just looking out for themselves and don't take it personally. If a thief can't produce an ID that matches your checks, the business won't accept it. You can think of it as added security for yourself as well.

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