In a perfect world, every single payment you accept moves through a cozy electronic puff of happiness and lands into your bank account without the slightest of hiccups. In this world, we also teleport and can subsist off of crinkle-cut fries with zero repercussions.

Doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Unfortunately, this is a world where there are, in fact, several consequences to the over-consumption of crinkle-cut fries. It’s also a world where some payments just don’t make it. One of the top reasons a payment isn’t successful is due to NSF or non-sufficient funds.

In other words: bounced, bad, or hot checks.

These checks are also referred to as “NSF items.” We explained the basics of these checks in an older blog post from our Payment Basics series. We also discussed a little bit about Forte’s NSF re-presentment service, but now let’s go into a bit more detail.

Forte’s NSF re-presentment service is called Check Recovery. It works with both electronic and paper checks, and you can opt for the service all on its own or add it easily to any existing Forte merchant account. Best of all? It’s absolutely free.

When you accept a paper or electronic check, and it is returned as an NSF item, you have a few choices. As a merchant, you can:

1. Attempt to collect the item yourself

2. File the bad check with the DA (check out all of the steps here)

3. Report the uncollected item to a national network like NCN (this prohibits the customer from writing any more checks until they make good on the item with you)

Route A takes a lot of time, energy, and resources. Tracking down and badgering a consumer until they pay up isn’t exactly a walk in the park, and plenty of bad check writers “vanish.”

Route B has you sending a “demand letter,” waiting 30 days, filing a lawsuit, attending a court hearing, and paying up-front all fees for certified letters.

Route C just stops the bad check writer from writing more checks, but doesn’t ensure you get your money.

No matter what, when you receive a bad check you’re going to be out the transaction amount, plus any fee determined and charged by the bank you deposit the check at. It’s not pretty.

Of course, you can pass the fee from your bank onto your consumer. Many businesses post a sign at the register to inform customers of an additional fee for checks that don’t clear. But this might only deter some check writers at the point of sale. Once it happens, it happens.

Now, as a merchant, you might try to re-attempt to run the check and collect your transaction amount on your own. You might add on the fee as well, if you passed it onto your consumer. However, your bank will charge you their fee every single time the check is returned. You have no idea whether or not the next time will be a winner, and the losses could start piling up. Fees on top of fees. Nightmare.

Forte’s Check Recovery, on the other hand, is awesome. If you happen to receive an NSF item, Check Recovery will strategically re-present the item for you. On smart days. It’s a thinking product. And each time it does this? No extra fees if it still is returned. It will attempt on its own without any cost to you. No matter who does the re-presentment, you only get three shots to make it right. With smart re-presentment, Check Recovery can make each attempt count instead of lobbing them up at random.

If Check Recovery does collect and recover the amount of the bad check, it will pay you 100% of this check amount. Additionally, Check Recovery charges the maximum NSF fee allowed by state law to the consumer, and it will pass 50% of this amount right into your wallet.

Did we mention it’s free? You can use it at absolutely no cost. Saves headaches. Avoids fees. Brings you money. No cost. No risk. Sounds like crinkle-cut fry land, except their tiny potato hands will be also filled with treasure. And what tops that?

To get started with Check Recovery, take a peek at our new product page: If you’d also like to start accepting electronic checks while you’re at it, start here: You can also give us a call at 866.290.5400. We love talking anything payments.

Photo credit: David Goehring



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