The primary service offered by TeleCheck is check verification and guarantee services.
With the help of TeleCheck, merchants can verify the validity of checks before accepting them for payment. The company’s guarantee services provide merchants with additional protection against fraudulent or dishonored checks.
TeleCheck also offers electronic check acceptance services that allow customers to pay with their personal checks electronically.
TeleCheck also provides credit authorization services, which help merchants make sure that customers have sufficient funds to cover the payments. This allows merchants to reduce the risk of losses from bounced checks or fraudulent activities by unauthorized customers.
TeleCheck is categorized as a Consumer Reporting Agency, or CRA.
Businesses and banks that accept checks look for ways to lower risk, and TeleCheck is a popular way to do this.
What is TeleCheck?
TeleCheck is basically a risk analytics company. It looks at your check-writing history to figure out how much of a risk a store will have to take on if they accept a check from you.
TeleCheck helps retailers, banks, and other businesses reduce fraud and other risks that come with accepting payments and opening accounts with information about how to write checks and other information about checking accounts.
TeleCheck is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fiserv Inc.
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Here’s How TeleCheck Works
At first glance, the way it works seems pretty simple.
The store scans your check through TeleCheck, which tells them if they should take it or not.
TeleCheck doesn’t tell them your check isn’t good, it just gives advice. Then it is up to the store to decide what to do.
Under the hood, things are a little bit more complicated.
When a store like a grocery store or Walmart scans your check at the point of sale, they run it through the TeleCheck database, which has information about you.
Most of the time, your record will include information from the past that other merchants who use TeleCheck have uploaded, as well as something called the Predictive Risk Scoring Model.
Predictive Risk Scoring Model Explained
Even though the name “Predictive Risk Scoring Model” sounds a bit fancy, what it is really isn’t. Let’s look at what it does quickly.
TeleCheck has information on a lot of people. It might have a lot of information about some customers and less information about others.
It uses an algorithm that uses the data it already has to predict the risk of consumers for whom it does not have enough data to understand the risk they pose.
This can lead to false negatives, which is bad. That’s one reason why your check might be turned down even if you have enough money to pay for the transaction.
Retailers aren’t required to accept or reject a check based on its TeleCheck score, but they have a reason to. As long as TeleCheck says to take the check, the money is guaranteed.
If the store takes a check that TeleCheck said it shouldn’t, it’s up to the retailer to get the money back.
On the other hand, if TeleCheck tells a store to take a check that later turns out to not be cashable, TeleCheck gives the store a guarantee and pays back the money that was owed.
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Understanding What Factors TeleCheck Considers
If your check transaction gets turned down, it doesn’t mean that your check is bad. Your check may be turned down by TeleCheck for a number of different reasons.
Understanding why you were turned down is very important because it can help you figure out what to do next if you were turned down.
- Based on TeleCheck’s predictive risk scoring model, your check may be declined because it is too risky to accept.
- If TeleCheck doesn’t know enough about you as a check writer, it might decide to turn down your check.
- TeleCheck is more likely to reject your check if you have a history of bad checks.
- If you have a history of fraud, either because you did it or because your identity was stolen, your risk factors can go up.
- If you’ve had debt in the past with TeleCheck, even if you’ve paid it off, your check may be turned down.
- Your check can be declined because of a mistake made by a person, like when the cashier types in your information or when someone else in the reporting chain types in the wrong information.
Keep in mind that TeleCheck uses a predictive risk scoring model to figure out your score. This model probably looks at hundreds of factors and data points.
It would be nearly impossible to list all of them, especially since the model is a trade secret. Because of this, TeleCheck doesn’t share the information that is put into it.
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TeleCheck Doesn’t Verify Checks
One thing to keep in mind is that TeleCheck does not verify checks. It can’t tell the person doing the check verification if a check can be cashed or not. All it can do is tell them if the check is likely to be cashed or returned.
Even though this may seem unfair, it is a common practice in the world of personal finance, where risk needs to be measured and assessed.
Any way you look at it, if TeleCheck turned down your check, you need to first ask for a copy of your report, which is your right. If the information turns out to be wrong, you can then file a dispute.
How To Access Your TeleCheck Report
Since TeleCheck is a registered Consumer Reporting Agency, you can get one free report from them each year under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act).
You also have the right to a free report if your check is turned down because of something in the report.
To get a report, you’ll need to go to TeleCheck’s website and use the TeleCheck Consumer File Report feature.
Here, you’ll need to tell us some things, such as:
- First name
- Last name
- Phone number
- Drivers License or State ID
- SSN (Social Security Number)
You might also have to fill in information about your checking account. But you don’t have to do this because TeleCheck should be able to find your account information with your SSN.
You can also send in the following information to get a report by mail:
- Your daytime contact information
- Copy of driver’s license
- SSN (Social Security Number)
- Copy of voided check (not mandatory and should be avoided)
To the following address:
TeleCheck Services, Inc.
Attention: Consumer Resolution Services
P.O. Box 6806
Hagerstown, MD 21741-6806
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What Should You Do If TeleCheck Turned Down Your Check?
If your check was turned down because of a TeleCheck report, the first thing you need to do is figure out why.
The good news is that declines come with a code that you can look up on TeleCheck’s website.
Checking Your Status With TeleCheck
You’ll need to give both your decline code and the last four numbers of your bank account. Use the account number that goes with the check you tried to pay.
The next step is to get a copy of the report. As we talked about in the last section, you have the right to a free annual report and a free report if you are turned down.
When you get the report, you’ll need to check to make sure that the information in it is correct. If you think the report is wrong, you can file a dispute.
How To File A Dispute With TeleCheck
If you find information in your consumer report that you think is wrong or missing, you have the legal right to dispute it with the consumer reporting company and the company that gave the information to the reporting company, like your lender.
Under the FCRA, companies must look into your dispute for free and in a reasonable way. The company that gave the wrong information must fix the mistake and let all of the consumer reporting companies it gave the wrong information to know about it.
TeleCheck has 30 days to finish its investigation and make sure the information is correct after you file a dispute. Remember that if you ask for a report under FCRA rules, you have up to 45 days to do so.
You’ll need to send in more information with the dispute, like a reason and comments, so make sure you have as much information as possible to avoid unnecessary delays.
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Here’s How The Investigation Can Go
Either TeleCheck won’t be able to verify the information, in which case it will be taken off your report, or it will. On the other hand, they will check the information with the company that reported you.
You can ask for the method of verification if your information is checked. With this request, TeleCheck must tell you how they checked your information and the business that checked the disputed information within 15 days of getting the request.
Once you have this information, you can go straight to the business and start a dispute.
TeleCheck Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You can ask for a report to find out how your TeleCheck is going. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) says that you can get one free credit report every 12 months.
You can fill out a form on TeleCheck’s website or send them a letter to get a report.
There are many reasons why TeleCheck might not accept a check. Most of these fall into one of two groups.
The first group is people with a bad history. TeleCheck takes into account things like fraud, bad checks, and debts that haven’t been paid.
The second type is “not enough history,” which means that TeleCheck doesn’t have enough information to make a decision. In this situation, it might decide to err on the side of caution and turn down your check.
You will need to ask for a TeleCheck report to find out if TeleCheck will accept your check. FCRA says that you are entitled to a free report every year, unless you are turned down.
If you are turned down, you will get a Decline Code that you can use to find out why you were turned down.
If any of the information in the report turns out to be wrong, you can start a dispute once you have this and the report.
TeleCheck stores information for up to 7 years, which is much longer than ChexSystems, which only stores information for 5 years.
On the other hand, if the information in your report is wrong, you can get it taken off sooner by filing a dispute.
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