TeleCheck Verification Services: What They Do and How to Contact Them

Nicolas Cesare  | 

Most of us are familiar with the three major credit reporting bureaus. They keep track of our credit history, following how well we take on and pay off debt and using that information to inform potential lenders about us. Most of us have read our credit reports, but not everyone realizes that your credit report isn’t the only financial information available on you.

If you’ve ever tried to write a check and had the vendor deny it, then you’ve probably had experience with TeleCheck or Certegy. Like credit reporting, TeleCheck watches your financial practices and reports them back to vendors. Unlike credit reporting, however, TeleCheck focuses specifically on your check-writing history.

What is TeleCheck?

TeleCheck an agency that tracks consumer data specifically related to checks. Just as loan providers will check your credit history, TeleCheck enables vendors to evaluate your check-writing history before accepting a check from you as payment.

Although personal finance technology is moving more towards cards and digital payments, many people still write checks on a regular basis. However, unlike a debit card transaction — which immediately checks your bank account for the necessary funds — or a credit card — which draws from your credit card company’s funds — there is a delay between you handing a retailer your check and that check being deposited. This means that a retailer doesn’t know if your check is good until after you’re long gone.

TeleCheck helps to smooth over some of this information asymmetry by providing retailers with an assessment of you as a consumer. TeleCheck helps retailers answer questions like: should I accept a check from this person? How likely is this check to bounce? And so on.

Banks or credit unions will also use TeleCheck — in addition to ChexSystems — when you apply for a checking account. This helps them determine your value as a potential customer before they open an account for you.

How Does TeleCheck Work?

When you write a check for a retailer, they will run that check against the TeleCheck system. Almost instantaneously, TeleCheck will return a recommendation to the retailer: to accept or not to accept your check.

TeleCheck puts some weight behind its recommendations as well. If they say that a check will be good, but it ends up bouncing, TeleCheck will guarantee any check that meets their warranty requirements. However, this guarantee is only available to retailers who follow TeleCheck’s recommendations.

Once the recommendation comes through, it’s up to the retailer to make the decision to accept the consumer’s check or deny it.

Why Does TeleCheck Decline Checks?

The TeleCheck algorithm is proprietary, so consumers can only guess at exactly how their checking habits are being evaluated. However, there are a few factors that are likely to play a role in the TeleCheck system:

 

  • Checking History: If you have a history of checks bouncing, TeleCheck will take that into account and be more cautious about issuing an “accept” recommendation for your current check.
  • Purchase Type: Some purchases are riskier than others. For example, TeleCheck is more likely to be suspicious of a $15,000 check written for a new car than a $15 check written for a burger and soda.
  • Other Debts: TeleCheck will take into account how much debt you have elsewhere. Just like with your credit score, having lots of outstanding debt can make it difficult to use a check for new big purchases.
  • Check-Writing History: Again similar to credit scores, having a long history of writing good checks will count in your favor. Having a history of very few checks will make TeleCheck a little more wary.
  • Account Fraud: If your identity has been stolen, the thieves may have damaged your checking history.

 

 

It’s important to remember that a merchant may decline your check even if your TeleCheck record is good. Make sure to view your TeleCheck record personally before jumping to conclusions.

How to Contact TeleCheck

Contacting TeleCheck directly is the best way to learn about how retailers view your checks. This can be a good idea if you’ve had a lot of declined checks recently or if you’re doing a routine check-up for identity fraud.

Order Your TeleCheck File Report

You can order your TeleCheck report from the TeleCheck website. Be sure to have the following items handy:

  • Your current driver’s license.
  • Your social security card.
  • A check with your account number and the routing number for your bank.

Otherwise you can send a request for your report to TeleCheck by mail. If you do this, you will want to send your request to:

TeleCheck Services, Inc.

Attention: Consumer Resolution Services

P.O. Box 6806

Hagerstown, MD 21741-6806

If you reach out via mail, be sure to include the following with your request:

  • A daytime phone number.
  • A photocopy of your driver’s license.
  • Your social security number.
  • A voided check that includes your account number and routing number.

Dispute Your TeleCheck Report

If you discover an error on your TeleCheck report, you should dispute the accuracy of that report. The fastest way to file a TeleCheck dispute is through the TeleCheck website. Unlike the e-OSCAR system, which investigates credit report disputes, TeleCheck’s online dispute form will allow you to attach supplemental documents that support your dispute.

If you prefer to reach out via mail, there is a PDF form on the TeleCheck website that you can print out and mail to:

TeleCheck Services, Inc.

Attention: Consumer Resolution Services

P.O. Box 6806

Hagerstown, MD 21741-6806

TeleCheck is an important system that allows retailers to assess the risks of accepting a check for payment, but it is not without its flaws. Be sure to request a copy of your TeleCheck report if you pay with checks often and make sure that the information contained therein is accurate.


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/

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

This post was updated July 18, 2018. It was originally published June 21, 2018.