Certegy Check Services: Reasons for Approval, Denial, and How to Contact Customer Service

Nicolas Cesare  | 

When a merchant chooses to accept checks as a form of payment they’re taking a big risk. Other forms of payment — such as cash, debit cards, or credit cards — will yield an instant return to any merchant who accepts them. However, accepting a check requires a certain level of trust. Any retailer who takes checks must be confident that that check is going to deliver on a customer’s promise to pay once it is taken to the bank.

Unfortunately, no retailer can judge if a check is valid just by looking at it. In order to continue offering the convenience of pay-by-check to their customers while avoiding fraud, retailers will use a checking verification system like Certegy or TeleCheck. These companies use a wide range of data and statistical analysis techniques to send an instant judgment on a check back to a retailer. Retailers then take this information an decide to either accept the customer’s check or reject it.

What Is Certegy?

Certegy is a company that gathers consumer information, analyses it, and then uses that information to advise retailers on accepting a check from a given consumer. Similar to the way credit reporting companies get their information, Certegy monitors your history with checking. Certegy will then use that information along with proprietary algorithms to try to make an accurate guess as to whether or not a given check is valid.

Although Certegy serves an important purpose for retailers and other businesses that accept checks, consumers are sometimes rightly wary of Certegy’s practices. More on that in a minute.

How Does Certegy Work?

Just like how credit reporting bureaus use your credit history to produce a risk assessment about you for lenders, Certegy uses your checking history to judge whether or not the check you just wrote is likely to be good. However, although we know roughly how credit scores are calculated, Certegy keeps their formulas for checking risk assessment a secret.

From Certegy’s point of view, this veil of secrecy is necessary to prevent ill-willed shoppers from tricking the system and getting away with fraudulent checks. However, consumers may be frustrated by Certegy’s opaque system, when their checks are declined for no clear reason.

We do know about some of the things that Certegy does (and does not) base their judgment on. Certegy uses your past check-writing history and, if possible, the amount of funds currently in your checking account. However, not all banks will make this information available to companies like Certegy. The company denies that your credit score plays a role in determining whether or not your check should be accepted.

In addition, it’s important to remember that Certegy does not share this information in its raw form with retailers. Instead, retailers are simply given Certegy’s final judgment, without seeing the information or formulas used to reach that judgment.

Why Does Certegy Deny Checks?

Many consumers have experience frustration with Certegy after having their checks denied based on Certegy’s judgment. Since Certegy’s methods are a secret, consumers can often be left in the dark with no understanding of why their checks are being denied or what they can do to have their checks greenlighted in the future.

However, if your checks are failing to receive Certegy approval, there might be a few reasons:


  • Insufficient Funds: If you have insufficient funds in your bank account to support a check that you’re writing and your bank has made this information available to Certegy, then they will likely decline it.
  • Poor Checking Record: If you have had many checks bounce in the past after writing them, Certegy is more likely to be suspicious of any checks you write in the future.
  • Identity Fraud: If someone has hijacked your identity and they’re writing bad checks in your name, those checks are being considered by Certegy as if you had written them. If you’ve had a lot of checks declined recently and you don’t understand why, it’s a good idea to find out if you’re a victim of identity theft.


How to Contact Certegy Customer Service

If you suspect that you may be a victim of checking identity fraud or you’re just curious, it is possible to contact Certegy for a copy of their report on your checking history.

Get a Free Denied Check Report

Thanks to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, you’re entitled to a free copy of your report from any consumer reporting agency, including Certegy, at least once every 12 months. In order to receive a copy of your Certegy report, you should contact Certegy customer service. There are two ways to do this:

Certegy Check Services Phone Number: 1-800-237-3826

Request in Writing: Send a request including your name, address, daytime phone number, bank routing and account numbers, a copy of your driver’s license, and your social security number to the following address:

Certegy Check Services, Inc.

Attn: CFDR Request

P.O. Box 30046

Tampa, FL 33630-3046

Or fax that same information to: 727-570-7936

Disputing Certegy Records

If you request a copy of your Certegy report and you discover that there are inaccuracies, it’s important to dispute the errors. In order to dispute errors on your Certegy records, call the number or send a written dispute to the address above. Be sure to point out exactly where the errors occurred and include copies of any documents that support your version of events.

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Nick Cesare is a writer from Boise, ID. In his free time he enjoys rock climbing and making avocado toast.