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Keeping ‘em in Check

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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


Please repor this to the FTC at The information you give will go into a secure database that law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

My transaction was declined out of the blue after having written countless checks at the same store for over 10 years. I am one of their best customers and have excellent credit. So I called Certegy and their phone system didn't have a human option. Their website asked for personal and banking information, which had nothing to do with my transaction. Certegy is screwing a lot of innocent people, and the FTC should do something about this company.

Same as many above.
Went to Walmart to cash Illinois tax check.
Certegy denied it.. Cashier said several others had been denied today.

I can see them denying personal checks, but IRS, and state authored checks?
It would not matter how bad my credit is, I deserve to be able to cash legal checks written to me.

Went to cash a personal check at Homegood store in the amount of $169.56. Had more than enough funds to cover said check. Check was declined, the saleswoman said "it's been happening to a lot of customers all of a sudden, let me try again." She did, it was still declined. She gave me Certegy's phone #. I called they informed me that in order to tell me WHY I was decline I had to request a written report. I did. I received Certegy's report in the mail it listed in writing the reason for my being declined as follows:
1). Check submitted TWICE (salesperson submitted)
2). NO information on file.
So if, there was NO disputed or bad check information listed under my name.. if there is NO information on file. WHY was I declined. Certegy keeps referring to their computer's "risks factors" but can't explain what those risks factors are exactly. AND none of those so-called risk factors were listed in their own written report. So this is clearly an abuse of power and service by Certegy. They continue to "ignore" the complaints and inquiries by consumers who have NO history of bad-check writing, NO unpaid-transactions, no pending liabilities what-so-ever.

The FTC really needs to STOP making excuses and START looking into the basic practices of Certegy. WHO are you protecting the consumers or Certegy who repeatedly and consistently has been proven to be "fraudulent" in their reporting services and practices. How many more innocent consumers have to be targeted by Certegy??? How many more innocent consumers have to suffer unnecessarily by Certegy?? Cortege's computer system and policies are FLAWED, INACCURATE AND FRAUDULENT. This is a SIMPLE FIX and yet the FTC continues to drag its feet on this serious issue.

Geez, until this horrific mess affects you personally, maybe then you'll know exactly how it feels to have your identity held hostage by ONE malice and fraudulent company. People turn to the FTC for help and all they get is the same old and tired excuses and run around they get from Certegy. That's just wrong and inexcusable. Given the fact this is a simple fix.

Did a mobile deposit for an IRS refund check. It was declined by Certegy. When I called Certegy they advised it was declined not because my report had something negative, but because the bank's account with Certegy was not current. The lady with Certegy told me that I needed to go to Walmart and cash it and then deposit the cash into the bank. Apparently the $3.5 million fine was not enough incentive to get Certegy to do the right thing. How is it legal for Certegy to decline my DEPOSIT of a government-issued check because of an issue between them and the bank?

Yesterday I got turned down for a Woodman of the World insurance check I met all requirements by Walmart but got declined #2 reason And I live 15 miles away and I'm broke and need the money because I couldn't cash the check I had to go back home and ran out of gas now my truck its on the side of the rode and I have no food for or me and my pets because this company decided I was a criminal or something and declined a legit check wrote out too me This has caused me much stress since yesterday I have 4000 dollars in a check but yet no gas no food Today because they deemed me and my check not worthy

How does the government allow this business to continue operations when they are helping to decide whether or not someone is allowed access to money due to them, especially when the check is written by a government entity. There should never be a reason to decline a persons right to money owed. If they are declining the money to a person based on financial data they have collected but require the person to jump through a dozen hoops to see that information, then they are contributing to the negative financial information because a person is being denied their money.

declined twice in same day at the mall.embarrasing and have no known reason for decline. BAnk i deal with basically said good luck with certegy. going to complain to store management who hired certegy. .calling certegy was worthless, even when you talked to a human.blah blah blah,
they wont tell you why they declined, just some general info. Credit alert folks i deal with said no issues.
is this a strategy by retailers and banks to avoid taking checks? have you use a credit card that charges interest?

i wonder if they could decline a check knowing you use credit cards routinely. if they have access to credit reports they would know that.That way they protect the retailer, get the money immediately, and avoid any check issues that could possibly arise. I was denied for no apparent reason. never been denied before. no known issues. info on the report they send is of no use. they said something like well our program decided.i used a credit card. if i get denied again i will leave the store and make my purchases elsewhere.

I tried cashing a PAYROLL check from a NATIONAL company and it came back denied. Called the company I work for and was told that there was plenty of money in the account. Called Certegy an was told it was denied because of the special algorithm that they use. What a joke. When I asked for more info on the algorithm I was told it was PROPRIETARY. I hope they all choke on their lunches.

I've written checks at Dollar General since the day they opened. Today my check was refused. Why? I've had no financial changes, no bad credit, no bounced checks, I do t understand. I just want to talk to a person at Certegy not a computer to see what has happened! I need advice!

I wrote a check out at DG it was accepted three days later another declined??? I've been at my bank for 31 years writing checks at the same store. DG HAS PERMANENTLY LOST A CUSTOMER, AND SO HAS ANY BUSINESS THAT DENIES ME.


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