Generic checks, also known as starter checks, have the routing and account number printed at the bottom, but have no printed identification information in the upper left corner. Businesses usually have established policies and procedures for handling generic checks.
Generic checks are given to a new checking account holder by a bank when they open a new account. The purpose of starter checks is to provide the account holder with check access until printed checks arrive. Retail business policies and procedures generally state that generic checks are refused and the customer must use an alternative form of payment.
While these policies may seem harsh, there are good reasons for refusing generic checks. Businesses are concerned about account owners opening an account, getting starter checks, then closing the account but still using the checks. They are also hesitant to accept generic checks, since a person can open an account with a small balance and may not have funds to pay for the purchase. Additionally, generic checks are easy to steal and use, since the thief can simply fill in his name and address, show a matching ID and fraudulently withdraw funds from someone's account.
A few businesses may accept generic starter checks, but have other policies to ensure they get the money. These may include a waiting period of a week to 10 days before you are credited with a payment or deposit. Businesses may also call a bank for account balance verification and verification of the name on the account. They may also require multiple forms of identification or use a check payment guarantee service.
- check book image by Rob Hill from Fotolia.com