Bouncing checks gets expensive fast. Whether you made an honest mistake or floated a check in hopes you'd be able to make a deposit before it cleared, you could be charged by your bank or credit union and by the check's recipient. To make matters worse, banks might pay all checks that clear on a given day in order from largest to smallest, potentially causing multiple checks to bounce.
The average bank fee for bounced checks exceeds $30 and has risen more than 25 percent over a 10-year period, according to consumer financial services site bankrate.com. Additionally, businesses you wrote checks to can charge you. The parameters businesses are allowed to charge are determined by state law. Typical fees range between $20 and $30, which means a typical bounced check can cost you $50 to $60 or more. One reason businesses charge a fee for returned checks is that their banks charge them a deposit item returned fee averaging $6.28 for every returned check they deposit. Most people can avoid bouncing checks by adding overdraft protection to their checking accounts. However, be aware that these services can also be quite costly, so make sure you check the price tag on such services.
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