Local News

More Merchants Banking on Electronic Check Processing

Posted June 12, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Changes are in store for people who write checks to pay for store purchases. That is becauseTeleCheck Electronic Check Acceptancemachines are changing the way stores do business.

"Some people like it a lot," says Zany Brainy employee Heather West. "Most people are a little wary of it, kind of unsure whether it's something they want to do."

The check works like a debit card. When you pay by check at participating stores, it is scanned through a special machine. Through a phone line, TeleCheck checks your credit, but not the amount in your account.

If there is no record of any bad checks, you get a receipt to sign.

The check is then voided out with the merchant's name, date, and amount of the transaction printed on back.

Instead of going to the bank, the check is handed back to the customer.

"Its fairly new, especially in the Carolinas," says TeleCheck representative Angela Atkins.

She says consumers do not have to worry about their checks floating through the mail, and businesses get guaranteed payment and less paperwork.

"[From] the merchant's standpoint, it is being able to eliminate one more piece of paper, being able to eliminate that deposit slip, eliminate the time involved just reconciling checks," Atkins says.

"We've had a lot of trouble with stolen checks, fraudulent checks and there's no way to really guarantee that it was good. This company guarantees it," says Dave Mason of 20/20 Eye Works.

Like regular check purchases, TeleCheck still gives you two business days to make sure your account can cover the payment.

You can even hand over a blank check and get it back with the amount charged printed on the back.

Thousands of businesses across the country are currently using TeleCheck, including about 1,500 in North Carolina.