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Maine.gov > PFR Home > Bureau of Financial Institutions > FAQ > Electronic Funds Transfers

Frequently Asked Questions - Electronic Funds Transfers

What is electronic check conversion?

Electronic check conversion is a process in which your check is used as a source of information to make a one-time electronic payment from your account. The check number, account number, and the number that identifies your financial institution will be used to complete an electronic funds transfer. The check itself is not the method of payment, it is only used to obtain account information.

What are my rights in electronic check conversion transactions?

  • You have the right to receive notice when you provide your check, telling you that information from the check will be used to make an electronic payment from your account.
  • You have the right to receive notice when you provide your check telling you of any fee that the merchant will collect from your account electronically if you do not have enough money in your account to cover the transaction. This fee is similar to a "bounced check" fee.
  • You have the right to receive a receipt when you make a purchase at a store. The receipt will contain information about the transaction, including the date, amount, location, and name of the merchant.
  • You have the right to have this same information included as part of the regular account statement from your financial institution.
  • You have the right to ask your financial institution to investigate any electronic fund transfers from your account that you believe are unauthorized or incorrect.

What if I don't want my check to be used for electronic check conversion?

If you don't want your check to be used for electronic check conversion, you may have to provide another form of payment (for example, cash, debit card, or credit card).

How can I stop an electronic debit? I switched health clubs but the old club continues taking my monthly membership fee automatically from my checking account.

At least three days before the date of the scheduled electronic transfer, notify your financial institution that you wish to place a stop payment on this transfer. You will need to know the exact dollar amount. (If done orally, the financial institution may request written confirmation). Check your contract with the health club, you may still owe them money if you agreed to a long term membership or promised to give them an agreed upon notice (30 days, 60 days, etc.) prior to termination.

What is Check 21?

Its official name is the Check Clearing in the Twenty-First Century Act. It enables a more electronic check collection system for the country. This takes some of the costs and delays of paper processing and transportation out of the check clearing system. It does not require financial institution to change the way they collect checks. However, it gives them a new option, and in doing so it does require institutions, and their customers, to accept paper reproductions of their original checks. It may decrease the time it takes for a check to clear your account and makes deposited funds available sooner.

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Last Updated: March 24, 2014