checking

Bounced check leaves her a wreck

Don Taylorq_v2.gifDear Dr. Don,
I wrote out a check and thought I had more money in my account than I did. The check went through, but my bank stopped it since I did not have the full amount. I found out that day and went down to the bank and made a deposit. I was told by the bank that this business would try again in a couple of days. It has been a week and they have not tried it again. Should I call them? Should I wait? I guess I just do not know where to go from here. Any help would be appreciated.
-- Sarah Sufficient

a_v2.gifDear Sarah,
As you found out, your bank did not honor the check you wrote because of insufficient funds in the account for the check to be paid. You no doubt incurred an insufficient funds fee levied by your bank.

It's likely that the payee on the check also incurred a fee for depositing into its account a check with insufficient funds. So this may be a case of "once burned, twice shy," with the payee waiting to resubmit the check into its account. Banks typically limit the number of times they will resubmit a check for payment. If the business is using a check-collecting service, the service could actually monitor the balance in your account and wait to resubmit until the account has sufficient funds for the check to clear.

You didn't volunteer much about the amount of the check, or what you bought with it, but contacting the business, assuring them that funds are available if they resubmit the check for payment and apologizing to the manager for the inconvenience would be appropriate.

The Federal Reserve publication "Protecting Yourself from Overdraft and Bounced-Check Fees" explains different options, including balancing your account, that will keep you from overdrawing your account and incurring fees in the future.

Read more Dr. Don columns for additional personal finance advice.

To ask a question of Dr. Don, go to the "Ask the Experts" page, and select one of these topics: "Financing a home," "Saving & investing" or "Money."

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