There are currently many ways for businesses to get paid, including debit cards, automatic deposits, and paper checks. One of the biggest problems with checks is that customers can claim the check is in the mail, and it may take days for it to arrive, for a variety of reasons. The ability to accept a check by fax can significantly speed up the process. All it requires is the ability to receive incoming faxes and some special software that allows you to key in the appropriate information from the check.
Accepting a check by fax is a type of electronic banking, and it is legal in the United States and in many other countries around the world. It is always best to verify the legality of this system before purchasing any software, but if you live where you can use the Automated Clearing House (ACH) or a similar type of electronic banking system, there is a good chance that you can accept a check by fax. The first step to accept a check by fax is to purchase and install the appropriate software on your computer system, allowing you to input all the relevant data from your customer’s check to create a copy of it for printing. Depending on the type of software you purchase and the options you select, you may also be able to verify the customer name, the account, and whether or not the account has sufficient funds to cover the check.
After you have installed the software, you are ready to receive your first check by fax. Ask your customer to fax a completed check to you, and enter all of the information from the check into your computer. Once you have completed the form you can print a copy of the check using your printer. Since the printout will not only contain the customer’s bank information but also the check number, you should tell the customer to destroy the original check and mark it as having been used.
The check you print will indicate on the signature line that the account owner has authorized the check, though the exact verbiage will depend on your specific software package. It is a good idea to keep the original fax for your files, in the event of any dispute. Take the check you printed out from the faxed information to your bank and deposit it, where it will be treated just like any other deposit you make. When you receive a check by fax, you typically may not cash it, but must instead deposit it into a business account and wait for it to clear.