About E-checks

By Suzanne Alicie

  • Overview

    Many times it is not convenient or timely to mail a paper check and companies and individuals are utilizing E-checks. This eliminates the need to wait for a paper check to arrive. If you're not familiar with what E-checks are, we're here to help.
  • What is an E-Check

    An E-check is an electronic alternative to paper checks. Essentially, it is just like writing a check, only instead of using the pen and paper, you need account information. The payment goes through your checking account just like a paper check, but paying electronically allows payment to be posted immediately.
  • How To Use E-checks

    Many utility companies, and other businesses that accept payments online, offer the E-check option. For example if you have an electric bill that is due today, and no credit card available, you can log onto their website and go to the make a payment screen. Choose the E-check option and you will be given prompts to enter your checking account information: * Routing Number: It is a nine-digit number that is essentially your bank's identification number. This number is usually the first one listed along the bottom of your check. * Account Number: Your checking account number. Usually located directly after the routing number on the bottom of the check. * Check Number: The number on the check you are using. This can be found in two places--the upper right corner and usually along the bottom after the account number. * Payment Amount: Dollar amount you are authorizing. By giving this same information to a customer service person an E-check can also be done over the phone.

  • What About The Paper Check

    When you use an E-check and enter a check number, you can keep that paper check for your records by writing VOID across it and making a note on the memo line that you paid electronically. The E-check payment will show up on your bank statement exactly like a regular check, with the check number and amount. This allows you to account for all check numbers when balancing your checkbook.
  • When Does the E-check Get Paid?

    Your bank processes the E-check almost the same as a paper check. The electronic information is usually sent and the money is removed from your bank account in 3 to 5 days. All an E-check does is make the payment process faster and easier by eliminating the process of having to mail a check.
  • Benefits of E-Checks

    When using the E-check feature you get credited immediately, the same as if you took a paper check to the location. Online transactions can be completed without a credit card, enabling the owner of a checking account to purchase or pay almost any bill online, and checks don't get lost in the mail when using an E-check.
  • Warning

    As with any online financial transaction, make sure you are careful and only enter your account information on a site you trust and on a secured payment page. Read the Terms of Service for the payment, as well as the privacy policy. Also make sure that you enter E-check payments into your check register so that you don't get a surprise because you forgot that a payment was coming out of your account. All online payment options have risks as well as benefits, and it is up to the individual to decide what payment options they are confident using.
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