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Bad checks create a strain on your time and resources. They lead to lost revenues and a whole lot of inconvenience. Check verification services help minimize your risk by making sure the check you're being presented is good. Major retailers have been using them for decades But, the services are affordable enough now for even the smallest merchants.
Not all check verification services operate the same way, however, so read on to learn a little more about what you'll get for the money.
About Check Verification Services
Check verification services offer companies and individuals the ability to find out whether a check is likely to clear. Scan each check through a reader, and in a matter of 10 seconds or so you'll receive an "approve" or "decline" message.
Some check verification services keep a list of people who have written bad checks in the past. Others base their approval on the history of the account itself, not the person writing the check. An account in good standing with no red flags will get an instant approval.
There are also check validation services that check the account's current status to find out if there are sufficient funds to cover the cost of the transaction. The services aren't foolproof, but they allow you to accept a check with the same level of confidence as a credit or debit card.
Check Verification Services Average Costs
There are a number of upfront and recurring fees that come with a check verification service. First, you'll have to purchase the check reader. Basic models begin at about $100 but fancier models can cost as much as $1,500. You may also be required to pay a setup fee of $50 to $100 to initiate the service.
Most check verification services charge a conversion fee of $.15 to $.25 per transaction. However, this fee is typically waived if the check comes back as declined. Some services also charge monthly fees of $25 to $50 and monthly statement fees of $20 to $30. Be sure to ask for a detailed description - in writing - of all the service charges before signing up.
Despite the cost, a check verification service can save you a significant amount of money in the long term. If a customer bounces a $200 check, you're on the hook for all of the bank fees, in addition to the price of the merchandise. Multiply that by several checks each month and a check verification service is well worth the investment.