A new system called “Check 21” coming to banks across the nation this fall will change the way they do business, though you may notice little difference as a customer. It will give banks and financial institutions a new way to process money you spend. Instead of paper checks, they’re converted to an electronic image — and that digital image will now be legal tender, just as good as cash or a paper check, and must be accepted by banks. Myron Rozell’s president of the First State Bank in Montezuma and he says when you write a check it must be physically delivered to a bank before it’s cashed and filed away, and so every day there are millions of paper checks being hauled around the country. He says a “substantial amount” of paper checks flow every day across the country by truck and also airplane. The legal name of the new procedure is the “Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act,” and it will make money go faster into — and out of your account. While that’ll put an end to the practice of “floating” a check and hoping it’ll clear a couple days later, Rozell says it also will help stop some kinds of fraud. It could be a case where someone stole checks, and they’d be recognized sooner and minimize losses. Rozell says the change won’t be without some cost for bankers. There may be labor savings and transportation savings, they’ll have to take a lot of that to invest in electronic equipment. The new federal law dubbed “Check 21” doesn’t take effect until October 28.
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