written by: Stephanie Mojica•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 5/23/2010
Bad check databases such as Telecheck enable merchants and banks to be protected against people who have returned checks. However, being a consumer listed in Telecheck can make check writing and even some banking endeavors much more difficult.
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When a check is returned, many businesses such as grocery stores will report unpaid checks to one of several bad check databases. This allows them to have a way to collect payment, and informs other businesses and banks that they may be at risk if they accept a check from a person. Telecheck is one of the most popular bad check databases, and being listed can make it difficult to write a check at many American businesses.
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Who uses Telecheck?
Many merchants, including major department stores and online outlets such as Amazon, will run a person's identification number and checking account number through Telecheck before accepting the check. Merchants who use the system will display a red sign that says Telecheck. A few banks and credit unions will also review bad check databases, including Telecheck, before issuing an account to a new customer. However, it is far less likely for a bank or credit union to use Telecheck.
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How long do I stay in Telecheck?
Once reported to Telecheck, the entry remains until the check is paid in full. Telecheck acts as a collection agency and a credit bureau. However, unlike some of its competitors, Telecheck does remove the check writer from their bad check databases once payment is made. If the customer chooses not to pay for the returned draft, then their information could be reported for as long as 7 years. However, most bad check databases, including Telecheck, will remove the entry after 5 years of reporting time.
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Can I dispute Telecheck information?
If you have been a victim of fraud or believe you already paid the check, Telecheck does have a dispute process. The best way to handle any kind of credit report dispute letter is to write a brief statement insisting upon an investigation.
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Can I write any amount of check to a retailer using Telecheck?
Telecheck also has the right to decline your check writing even if you are not listed as a bad check writer, which has caused some controversy among people. A large check may be denied because it could be seen as a risky transaction, especially if you do not write checks very often. This is because Telecheck is guaranteeing payment to the merchant, and will have to collect their money back in the event your check bounces.