UNDATED By the end of the month, banks will start to follow a law that will modernize the way checks are processed, speeding up check-clearing.With the changes, you might use telephone or online banking and learn that the check you wrote at the dry cleaner the day before yesterday has already gone through.
John Hall with the American Bankers Association says people are accustomed to writing checks and thinking that they'll take three to five business days to clear. But now, that "float" will be reduced to 24 hours, so you'll have to be more careful and make sure you have the money in your account before you write checks.
Hall says the transition to faster check-clearing will come gradually, but senior attorney Gail Hillebrand at Consumers Union fears bank customers will still have trouble adjusting. She says there will be more bounced checks, and some people who have never bounced a check before will find themselves overdrawn and owing penalty fees as high as 35 dollars a pop.
Consumer groups are demanding that banks also shorten their holds on checks you deposit.
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