How to Verify a Check Online (2024)

For businesses that accept electronic checks as well as physical checks, electronic check verification is a valuable tool that can significantly reduce the rate of fraud.

In simple terms, eCheck verification is the process of verifying payment to ensure it’s legitimate and can be processed by validating the customer’s checking account prior to the completion of the transaction. Verification can be used for both in-person transactions and online transactions. With fraud as prevalent as it is, eCheck verification is more important than ever.

The importance of online check verification

One of the main advantages of electronic check verification is its speed. ECheck verification can take as little as a few minutes to verify account information but in some cases, it can take a few hours if there are discrepancies involved. These few minutes can be all it takes to significantly reduce the rate of fraud which has been an increasingly prevalent issue among checks and ACH debits.

Unfortunately, some banks won’t allow over-the-phone check verification to reduce the risk of fraud. In this case, you will need to go to the closest branch of the bank to complete the verification process. Completing the check verification process in person will typically be a longer process — the average in-person check verification process will take about two business days.

How can I verify a check?

Now that you know what check verification is and why it’s so important, let’s break down how real-time check verification works:

  1. Although you can use other banks, it’s best to use the bank that issued the check to complete this process.
  2. Locate the name of the issuing bank on the front of the check. If you can’t find the name of the bank, you can contact the account holder to ask for the name of his or her bank.
  3. Once you’ve identified the name of the check-issuing bank, visit the bank’s website to acquire its customer service number.
  4. When you have the customer service agent on the line, explain that you are looking to verify a check.
  5. You will then need to provide the customer service agent with the routing number and account number. Both numbers should be displayed on the front of the check.
  6. Lastly, provide the customer service agent with the amount written on the check.

How to Verify a Check Online (1)

Once you’ve provided all the necessary information, the customer service agent will match the account number and routing number to the ones listed by the original account holder (the one who first issued the check) to verify the account is active and contains sufficient funds to complete the transaction.

If you’re looking for immediate check verification, it’s best to verify funds over the phone because verifying checks in person at a bank branch usually takes a few business days to process.

Can you verify a check online for free?

One of the most frequently asked questions is, can I verify check funds online for free?
While you can’t verify a check online for free, you can call a bank to have a customer service agent complete this process which is usually free of charge.

You can also use the verification services provided through a merchant account but keep in mind, merchant service providers often charge subscription fees and flat fees.

Average check verification services will charge $0.15 to $0.25 per transaction, but the monthly statement fees can range between $20 to $50 per month. These prices vary depending on the organization issuing the merchant account.

If you’re looking for free check verification, physically going into a bank branch (preferably the one listed on the check) to complete the verification process is the cheapest way to go given that it’s often a complimentary service.

Verifying a physical check vs. an electronic check

How to Verify a Check Online (2)

Verifying a physical check can take a few days for the funds to be transferred and can sometimes take a bit longer depending on the volume of daily transactions your business processes. Whereas, eCheck verification tends to be a bit of a quicker process in facilitating electronic fund transfer (EFT) payments to your bank account. Once submitted eChecks typically take around 24 to 48 hours for banks to verify the payment.

Electronic check verification can greatly reduce a merchant’s risk of check fraud since their verification process tends to be significantly more secure than physical checks thanks to its built-in encryption. eCheck payment processors also use tools that confirm your bank account number, bank account status, identification information, and sufficient funds.

Physical checks can be dangerous if you lose them or if they’re stolen because of the sensitive information that resides on the check itself. Businesses that use traditional lockbox payment methods run the risk of being exposed to intentional fraud and accidental threats from bank employees/contractors that handle processing tasks. If this sensitive information lands in the wrong hands, this can mean bad news for the account holder. An encrypted eCheck makes it significantly more difficult for fraudsters to acquire that sensitive information.

Cashier’s checks can also be verified the same way as physical checks. Simply contact the check-issuing bank, provide the service agent with the necessary information, and you’re good to go!

Now that you’ve explored how to verify a check, you can learn more about who can actually carry out this service.

Sources to verify check funds

The three main sources that can verify your check funds include your bank, your customer’s bank, or a third-party check verification service.

It’s important that the sources you use to verify check funds are legitimate. For example, calling the bank to validate a check sounds simple, but there are safer routes to take when acquiring the bank’s phone number. Some checks have a check verification phone number listed directly on the front of them but it’s safer to pull the phone number directly from the bank’s website as scammers have been known to print fake checks with fraudulent phone numbers in an attempt to acquire your banking information.

Merchant service providers can also assist you with finding check verification services.

Bank policies on check verification

Although banks are implementing more privacy and safety features, it can sometimes feel like a double-edged sword. With privacy and security issues becoming more prominent, banks are doubling down on how they combat these issues.

Some banks won’t verify checks over the phone. Instead, they may verify if the account involved is legitimate but they may be reluctant to verify the check funds. Some banks may not even be willing to discuss this information over the phone which means you will have to visit one of the bank’s branches to complete the verification. Restrictions vary depending on the bank or credit union.

How secure is live check verification?

If you take the necessary steps, live check verification is very secure. As mentioned in the previous section, knowing where to get the correct information for check verification is essential. The bank’s website is always a reliable source and will usually provide answers to commonly asked questions that can simplify the process for you.

Avoiding problems with check verification

While it’s possible to go through your own bank to issue the check verification process, it’s safer to go through the financial institution that issued the check — the bank listed directly on the check. Using the check-issuing bank reduces and can, in some cases, eliminate the risk of fraud.

There’s also the possibility that the check-issuing bank doesn’t have any nearby branches. Although you can go to another bank to cash or deposit checks, you should always wait until the check has cleared before spending any of its funds. This is because if the check bounces, you’re responsible for reimbursing the bank for any lost funds.

Simplifying the process with merchant check verification

Merchant check verification is an essential service for businesses to provide their clients with peace of mind. Merchant accounts offer fraud management tools such as check verification and many other benefits for merchants, making them invaluable tools.

Some of these other benefits include streamlined payment collection services, simplified and speedy processing, and relatively low fees. In other words, merchant accounts are a great way to improve efficiency while simultaneously reducing the risk of fraud.

How to Verify a Check Online (2024)


How to Verify a Check Online? ›

Use Your Bank's Online Services:

Is there an app that can verify a check? ›

iVerify-Cheque 4+

iVerify Check provides secure banking cheque service for banks and banks customers.

Do banks manually verify checks? ›

Banks employ sophisticated fraud detection systems that meticulously scrutinize various data points to identify red flags. A manual review by trained bank employees may sometimes be conducted to spot signs of check fraud. This human intervention adds an additional layer of security, ensuring a thorough review.

How to verify if a check has been cashed? ›

How to verify if a check has been cashed? There are a number of ways to see if a check has been cashed. You can call the issuing bank or credit union, but they may not want to share this information with you anonymously over the phone. You can call into a bank branch in person.

How do check cashing verify checks? ›

Here are the parts of a check to verify before cashing.
  1. Name and Address of Payor. ...
  2. Size of Check. ...
  3. Check Serial Number. ...
  4. Layout of the Check. ...
  5. Signature. ...
  6. Legal and Courtesy Amounts. ...
  7. Bank/Company Logos. ...
  8. Automated Check Image Analysis from SQN Banking Systems.

How can I verify if a check is good online? ›

Use Your Bank's Online Services:
  1. Log in to your online banking account.
  2. Navigate to the check verification or funds verification section.
  3. Enter the required information from the check, such as the account number and check amount.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the verification process.
Jan 31, 2024

How do I verify a check on my phone? ›

To verify a check, you need to contact the bank that the money is coming from. Find the bank name on the front of the check. Search for the bank online and visit the bank's official site to get a phone number for customer service. Don't use the phone number printed on the check.

What is the Z method of check verification? ›

The Z-method refers to looking over a check from the top left corner to the top right corner, through the body of the check down to the bottom left corner, and over to the bottom right corner.

How long does it take a bank to verify a fake check? ›

It may take a bank weeks to discover that the deposited check was fraudulent! The bottom line is that, while the funds may be available in your account within days of your deposit, the check may take weeks to clear or bounce.

How to spot a fake check online? ›

What Are the Signs of Fake Check Scams?
  1. Irregular perforations.
  2. Missing check numbers.
  3. Incorrect routing codes.
  4. Odd magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) lines.
  5. Notations in the memo area.
  6. Stains or discolorations on the check.
  7. Other discrepancies.

How to verify a certified check? ›

Call or visit the branch of the financial institution on which the check is drawn on. The financial institution should be able to help you determine whether or not the check issued is genuine. Don't trust the phone number for the financial institution listed on the check, it might be fraudulent.

Can you cash a check that was already mobile deposited? ›

If you've already deposited a check, you will not be able to deposit it again. If you receive an error message that indicates you have already deposited a check (but you have no recollection of doing so), contact your trusted financial institution's customer care department.

Is there an app to verify a check? ›

CrossCheck Mobile Pay is a free download at popular online app stores. Merchants using CrossCheck services simply download and install the app on their smart phone or tablet, then log in to their existing CrossCheck accounts to begin accepting checks.

Can I verify a check myself? ›

Call the bank the check is from.

Look up the bank's phone number on its website instead of using the phone number listed on the check. The number on the check might be a part of the scam, so it's essential to call the official direct line to confirm the check's validity.

How does electronic check verification work? ›

Funds are typically verified in your account 24 to 48 hours after authorizing the payment. If you don't have sufficient funds, your eCheck will “bounce” like a typical check. The request for authorization you confirmed with an online payment form or phone call acts as your promise to pay the amount.

How do I verify a legit check? ›

Every legitimate check contains a number that appears in two places: in the upper-right corner and in the magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) line at the bottom. If the numbers don't match, it's a bogus check. And be wary of low numbers, such as 101-400 on a personal check or 1,000-1,500 on a business check.

What are the free check verification services? ›

There are several free check verification services available online, such as Certegy and TeleCheck. These services allow you to enter the check information and receive an instant verification of the check's validity and the account balance.

Can you do a virtual check? ›

An eCheck, or electronic check, is a digital version of a traditional paper check. WIth an eCheck, money is electronically withdrawn from the payer's checking account, transferred over the ACH network, and deposited into the payee's checking account.

What is instant check verification? ›

Instant Check Verification streamlines payment processing for businesses by providing secure authorization methods, efficient payment gateways, and automated validation processes for seamless financial transactions. This streamlined process saves businesses time and reduces the risk of potential errors or fraud.

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