Skip to Main Content

Banks disagree over ‘unpaid’ check

Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .

Dear Dr. Don,
I deposited a check into one of my banks in the amount of $12,450. The bank claims it was returned for insufficient funds. I contacted the issuing bank (Citibank), which is sending a copy of the paid check. How can I resolve this?
— David Deposit

Dear David,
Since I’m always on the customer side of the teller line, I asked Harriet Clark, a private banker at First National Bank, a division of Graystone Tower Bank, for her assistance in framing this reply.

Her recommendation is for you to contact your bank and ask for the adjustments department to do an investigation. They should look for “source of receipt on a paid item.” Sometimes there’s a mix-up and the money is being held until someone complains.

She further says, “As soon as the research determines that there was an error and the check is valid, the issuing bank will issue another check or ask the customer’s bank to accept the original check as payment. The credit would be as soon as this is decided. As for fees, the issuing bank will sometimes refund fees if it is determined that they were at fault.”

I expect that you have the matter sorted out by now, but you’ve no doubt done a service to other readers of this column who may find themselves in this position.

Join Bankrate’s personal finance expert Dr. Don and tax guru Kay Bell for a Retirement Reality chat at 2 p.m. EST, Monday, Jan. 31. They’ll be here live to tackle your toughest retirement questions. Mark your calendar and sign up for an event reminder today.

Get more news, money-saving tips and expert advice by signing up for a free Bankrate newsletter.

Ask the adviser

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

Bankrate’s content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this website, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions. The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation. Bankrate recommends that you seek the advice of advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances before making any final decisions or implementing any financial strategy. Please remember that your use of this website is governed by Bankrate’s Terms of Use.