Question: I have tried to buy groceries 3 times and been turned down 3 times by Telecheck. I called Telecheck from my bank they, said write smaller checks. I did once and that was turned down. I am so frustrated. What can I do to get a check through for food from Meijers and Walmart.
Answer: When a merchant such as a grocery store submits your check through Telecheck, it is analyzed and reviewed for evidence of unpaid checks, fraud and other factors that present a red flag for merchants.
Telecheck may return a code “3” back to the merchant, signaling the transaction contains a significant level of risk markers. This may occur even if you have sufficient funds in your account. Telecheck does not determine the balance of your account; it only analyzes the level of risk of a transaction.
According to Teleheck, “For any decline, you should have received a written notice providing information about the decline, including how and where to receive more detailed information. “ You have a right to know what is prohibiting merchants from accepting your check.
Common reasons for a check being declined by Telecheck
1. Too many risk factors. The transaction carried other risk indicators. Basically once the transaction was analyzed; it had several characteristics that made it look risky.
2. Insufficient information in your file. You write very few checks which in and of itself makes you a risk factor; meaning they do not have sufficient information on you to make a decision to accept your check.
3. Fraud. At some time you may have reported fraud to your bank or the police. A report of fraud about your bank account, even if you made the report yourself, may cause your checks to be declined in Telecheck. For instance, your check book was stolen and you reported a range of check numbers to the bank so they would know not to honor those check numbers. A fraud report to your bank may have been submitted to Telecheck also.
4. Identification. Your driver’s license number could be used, unbeknown to you, in fraudulent activity such as cashing checks on other accounts. If this occurs, your driver’s license number or identification can be “linked” to those bank accounts and subsequently to your bank account.
5. Previous history with Telecheck. Prior debt on file with Telecheck, even if paid, can still affect your check writing privileges.
6. Unpaid Debt. There could be a current unpaid check or unpaid bank account debt causing Telecheck to decline your checks.
7. Other risk variables. You may have been declined based upon risk variables which are not based on evidence of unpaid debt. There can be 100s of variables active within a risk model and the risk-based decisions it generates.
8. Cashier error. The data at Telecheck links you to another check writer’s data which is negative. This may happen if information on an identification card or driver’s license is misprinted, a cashier may have miskeyed the numbers on your identification or there are multiple check writers linked to a single account and one of them has a negative Telecheck record. TeleCheck can “unlink” these inaccurate links once they are discovered by you.
You are entitled to a free copy of your Telecheck Report
Telecheck is a consumer reporting agency making you entitled to an annual free report. And, if you have been denied service based upon information in your Telecheck report, you are entitled a free report.
The only way to get to the bottom of why your checks are being declined is to see what information is contained in your Telecheck report. Once you get your report you can dispute incorrect information and errors which may exist.
The best way to get your Telecheck report is to write them
TeleCheck Services, Inc.
Attention: Consumer Resolutions-FA
P.O. Box 4514
Houston, TX 77210-4514
To verify your identity, Telecheck requests the following:
(1) a daytime contact phone number
(2) a copy of your driver’s license
(3) your social security number
(4) a voided check (I would not give them this piece of information as it is unnecessary to verify your identity and none of their business)
(5) a copy of a tax or utility bill reflecting your current address
You can also call Telecheck at 1-800-366-2425 to get your free annual file disclosure pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Good luck to you.