Keeping ‘em in Check

Write checks at the store? You’ll want to read this.

One of the nation’s largest check authorization services — Certegy Check Services, Inc. — has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle FTC charges that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Why is this newsworthy? Because many businesses use Certegy’s recommendations to decide whether to accept your checks or deny them. Certegy makes these recommendations based partly on information in their files on your check-writing and financial history. If the information in your file is inaccurate, a business could end up denying your check unnecessarily. That’s not good, especially if you’re turned away when paying for basic necessities — like groceries — and you have the money in the bank to cover your check.

The FTC charged that Certegy’s inadequate job of resolving consumers’ disputes led to inaccuracies, and may have resulted in their checks being denied unnecessarily. The FTC also alleged that Certegy didn’t have a streamlined process for people to get the free copy of their report from Certegy that they’re entitled to once a year. This settlement requires Certegy to improve in these areas.

If you write checks often and want your free copy of your report from Certegy, visit Ask Certegy. Note that your report from Certegy will have information only on the checks you’ve written to businesses that use Certegy’s services. 

The law also entitles you to a free copy of your credit report every year from nationwide credit reporting agencies like Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Reviewing your reports for inaccuracies is a good idea — as is disputing errors in a timely way. Check out this video to learn more.


Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


I teach financial literacy classes to students, and would love to use your short video, "Check Your Credit Report" in my presentations. I don't always have access to the Internet. Can I get to a link that would give me a downloadable version?

Hi, Kathryn,

All of the videos and games in our media center are available to use, download, embed and share. We're glad you find them useful!

To download the Check Your Credit Report video, go to its webpage. Underneath the video, you'll see three tabs. Click on "Download." There will be several different file options that you can save and use later. I hope that helps!

I had a recent transaction declined by Certegy and they have declined my request for my FCRA report/file per their website at the ASK Certegy link. Which option should I select on your website to report this?

Hi, TallyGirl22,

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now accepts complaints about credit reporting agencies (like Certegy), and can help you resolve the issue. You can file a complaint at

Certegy is still up to there same old tricks,how can a company that is used to prevent fraud get away with fraud itself? And they wonder why people are upset with them when they've already hung up on you 5x trying to resolve an issue? I can't wait until they shut this fraudulent company down!

Certegy declined cashing a typed check made out to me. Is it legal for them to use credit history to decline cashing a check made out to me? I tried 2 different places, not knowing the second place used Certegy and was told the same thing both times. How can this be legal for them to decide if they are going to cash a check made out to me using my credit report?

My credit report is "very good" and Certegy, despite the $3 MIL lawsuit they had, is still haunting me at the stores to this day!!! I go back to my bank every time and nothing is wrong with my accounts, at least for now, anyway! This is so disturbing! Now I heard they are selling our information to countries like Nigeria! Isn't there something the Government can do to shut them down??? They have been haunting me for 5 years starting at Macy's who no longer use Certegy. When I called Certegy 5 years ago, they told me they had no way to tell how much I had in my bank account. Then how do they know to tell the retailer that my check or debit card should be declined? They are treating us good people like puppets whether we can spend our money or not. Where are our rights???

As a merchant who uses Certegy's check warranty service, I was just informed by them, that they are accessing a one time $100 fee, due to increased regulation and compliance costs. I'm guessing they're passing your $3.5 million fine onto their merchants. There's probably nothing I can do about it, other than look for another company to verify my checks, but I wish part of your fine would have been to stipulate that it could in no way be passed through to their customers. As it stands your fining Certegy's customers and not Certegy. It's just not right.

Certegy made a False Complaint about me to my oounty's District Attorney, saying the check had been NSF. However my Bank statement shows no such NSF check, and that I never wrote any NSF Check. Further the check (they claim and provided copy of) was not written to Certegy yet they claim right to collect on it. After I sent proof the check was not NSF by my bank and also proof from my bank account that there was more than sufficient funds then, the District Attorney dropped the case. However, I would like to now SUE CERTEGY for Fraud and Defamation and making false complaint against me. Anyone can contact me I am in NY State, aiwal2 @ Thanks.

Please tell me what my payroll check and getting it cashed- ( denied reason code 2) after the first 2 checks were cashed without issue, Oh and its from the 3rd largest Pipeline construction company in the USA, has to do with my credit history?? Or why these people are not being held accountable as they have not stoped doing what there were suited for...

I just experienced this humiliation from Certegy, when calling, the service is all automated, and hung up, the automation said I was declined not for any negative information, but because of past history check amounts, check number being unusual or locations of checks written being unusual. None of the above apply, the check was in a normal place right across the street from where I live.Further, the automation suggested I join their VIP program, which is clearly a conflict of interest, finding info on their website is difficult, no email, and had to search for a fax number. I will never shop at the store I visited tonight again, and they just lost a sale of over 300 dollars, and a customer for life. I am about done being a capitalist, this is ridiculous to have to beg companies to be paid. May just only shop thrift stores anymore, or garage sales!

For the past month I have not been able to cash my Child Support checks....A GOV. ISSUED CHECK, because of Certegy. It met "guidelines" that lead to being decline and has been declined ever since. A week before this (about 3 weeks ago) I cashed a CS check AND payroll check just fine. I don't have a bank and use mostly cash for I can't even get the money I need to raise my autistic child because this company has deemed a govmnt check as bad!!! This needs to be fixed and Certegy shut down, the company is charging their customers for a service that makes no money for the company (IE Walmart) using their service. SHUT THEM DOWN!

Tried to pay for $70 purchase at Dollar General store in NY and my personal check was declined because for the check series, $ amount and other transaction details per their website. Took slip to my bank branch manager who stated that he could verify there were funds to cover the check but that I would have to deal with Certegy. By the looks of the complaints and prior issues with this company it should be shut down!!!

I tried to cash a check at Wal-Mart and received a reason code 2. Called Certegy and got the run around about what a reason code 2 was. They refused to give me a straight answer as if they didn't know themselves. How can you force them to give you a descriptive reason for not cashing a payroll check?

I was purchasing a product at academy sport in Ft Worth and ask do you accept checks. Response was yes we do. Got in line wrote the check for 638.32 dollars. 2.2 seconds the check was denied . I was given a phone number to call spoke with a non English speaking person and told to call back in an hour. when I tried to tell her that I was 70 miles from home her basic response was to read from the script. hung up and called back and was told that there system was updating and to call back in hour and a half. Called the next day three times. I never received a reason. Wrote a letter demanding my "FILE". I am hack at this time and would be interested if there in an online petition to shut this company down?
This also happened at Wal-Mart in Stephenville with Telecheck

If your check was declined, it might be because a consumer reporting agency gave the retailer negative information about your credit history – including your checking account history – or indicated that you could be a bad credit risk for other reasons.

If your check is declined, ask the retailer to give you the contact information for the reporting agency. Then ask the agency why your check was declined. Also ask for a copy of your annual credit report, free of charge

When you get your credit report, check it and see if there are any errors. If there are, dispute those errors as soon as possible.


Leave a Comment

Comment Policy

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.