The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21) was signed into law on October 28, 2003, and becomes effective on October 28, 2004. Check 21 is designed to foster innovation in the payments system and to enhance its efficiency by reducing some of the legal impediments to check truncation. The law facilitates check truncation by creating a new negotiable instrument called a substitute check, which would permit financial institutions to truncate original checks, to process check information electronically, and to deliver substitute checks to financial institutions that want to continue receiving paper checks. A substitute check would be the legal equivalent of the original check and would include all the information contained on the original check.
What is a substitute check?
To make check processing faster, federal law permits financial institutions to replace original checks with "substitute checks." These checks are similar in size to original checks with a slightly reduced image of the front and back of the original check. The front of a substitute check states: "This is a legal copy of your check. You can use it the same way you would use the original check." You may use a substitute check as proof of payment just like the original check. Some or all of the checks that you receive back from us may be substitute checks. This notice describes rights you have when you receive substitute checks from us. The rights in this notice do not apply to original checks or to electronic debits to your account. However, you have rights under other law with respect to those transactions.
What are my rights regarding substitute checks?
In certain cases, federal law provides a special procedure that allows you to request a refund for losses you suffer if a substitute check is posted to your account (for example, if you think that we withdrew the wrong amount from your account or that we withdrew money from your account more than once for the same check). The losses you may attempt to recover under this procedure may include the amount that was withdrawn from your account and fees that were charged as a result of the withdrawal (for example, bounced check fees). The amount of your refund under this procedure is limited to the amount of your loss or the amount of the substitute check, whichever is less. You also are entitled to interest on the amount of your refund if your account is an interest-bearing account. If your loss exceeds the amount of the substitute check, you may be able to recover additional amounts under other law. If you use this procedure, you may receive up to $2,500 of your refund (plus interest if your account earns interest) within ten (10) business days after we received your claim and the remainder of your refund (plus interest if your account earns interest) not later than forty-five (45) calendar days after we received your claim. We may reverse the refund (including any interest on the refund) if we later are able to demonstrate that the substitute check was correctly posted to your account.
How do I make a claim for a refund?
If you believe that you have suffered a loss relating to a substitute check that you received and that was posted to your account, please contact us at (865) 688-2424 or 1-800-344-9916, or write to us at KPOCU, P.O. Box 52990, Knoxville, TN 37950. You must contact us within forty (40) calendar days of the date that we mailed (or otherwise delivered by a means to which you agreed) the substitute check in question or the account statement showing that the substitute check was posted to your account, whichever is later. We will extend this time period if you were not able to make a timely claim because of extraordinary circumstances.
Your claim must include--
A description of why you have suffered a loss (for example, you think the amount withdrawn was incorrect);
An estimate of the amount of your loss;
An explanation of why the substitute check you received is insufficient to confirm that you suffered a loss; and
A copy of the substitute check [and/or] the following information to help us identify the substitute check: the check number, the name of the person to whom you wrote the check, and the amount of the check.
Other frequently asked questions about Check 21