M&T Bank : Check 21 vs. ACH
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Check 21 vs. ACH Check Conversion

What is ACH check conversion?

This is a method used by merchants to collect funds electronically by utilizing account information from a customer's paper check payment. These checks are used to create electronic payments that are processed through the Automated Clearing House (ACH). If you currently receive your cancelled checks, the checks that are used to create ACH payments are not returned with your account statement but these transactions are shown on your statement as "ACH Payments." Any check that is truncated under Check 21 will be processed as a check and the transaction will be shown on your account statement as a check transaction.

For example, if you wrote check # 839 at Old Navy, and Old Navy converted your payment into an ACH transaction, it would show the name of the merchant on your account statement instead of "Check Number 0839".

In addition, if you were to call into the M&T Telephone Banking Center to access your transactions through the automated system, an ACH transaction would be recorded as a "Withdrawal" and will not provide a check number.

What is the difference between Check 21 and Check Conversion ACH Transactions?

Check 21 is designed to improve the efficiency of the nation’s check processing system, by decreasing processing time and transportation costs and reducing the likelihood that checks will get lost or destroyed in processing.

Check 21 introduces the use of a new kind of paper document, called the "substitute check," and provides that a "substitute check" is the legal equivalent of the original check. In contrast, Check Conversion ACH transactions are created when a merchant chooses to create an electronic payment from the check that they received.

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