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What to do if you lose a check

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Writing a Cheque

It can be frustrating to lose a check. It could mean a delay to a bill or rent payment – and possibly a fine if you’ve not noticed the check has gone missing. Or if a friend or family member is expecting a check in the mail from you – but it gets lost along the way -- it could cause huge issues.

Whether you’ve lost the check yourself or are worried it’s been stolen, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re covered.

What to do if you lost a check before cashing it

You may have received a check from someone like your employer, the government or an insurance provider, but lost it before you’ve had chance to cash it.

The first thing to do is to make sure you’ve definitely lost the check. This will mean a thorough search of your home, car – anywhere you might have had it. Ask friends, relatives and other visitors if they remember what you did with it. Be prepared to turn up the couch cushions, check under furniture – everything you can to be sure it’s gone.

If you’re sure the check is lost, call the issuer and let them know. Then arrange for another check to be picked up or re-issued.

Be warned, it can take some time – even weeks – for a replacement to be issued, depending on who sent it. Government bodies will need to review your case before they issue a replacement government check – which can take up to eight weeks.

If your lost check turns up after you’ve been issued a new one, do not cash it. Contact to issuer and let them know – they might ask you to return the check.

What to do if your check got lost in the mail

Checks mailed first class usually take no longer than five working days to arrive. Remember, public holidays don’t count as working days. If after this time a check you were expecting in the mail hasn’t arrived, contact the issuer to inform them. They may want to call their bank and put a stop on the check to ensure it isn’t cashed by someone else.

There’s usually a charge involved to put a stop on a check – around $20-30. If the check is for less than this value, it’s not worth cancelling. Also, bear in mind this fee is per check. The ‘stop’ the bank puts on the check is also only for a limited period. If you need to put another hold the check on after this period, then you’ll have to pay the fees again.

Checks can usually be stopped fairly quickly provided it hasn’t already been cleared at the bank.

If you’re mailing a check, you can help make sure it gets to the place it needs to go by getting a tracking receipt from wherever you sent it from.

If you’d rather mail post a check, Money Services can help. Send money to another person anywhere in the States or across the world. The service is powered by Western Union ® and allows you to wire money within minutes. Or use our walk-in bill payment services to electronically send your cash to pay a bill.

What if my check has been stolen?

A stolen check can still be stopped before it’s cashed. Again, call the issuer and let them know the situation, so that they can put a stop on the check.

If you’re worried that a check has been cashed by someone acting as you, contact the police to report an identity theft.

Checks processed as an electronic transfer offer you more protection. But if you’ve signed a blank check that’s been stolen, these protections no longer apply.

Alternatives to sending a check

If you’re worried that a check might get lost, go missing in the post or get stolen, there are some alternatives ways to move money.

Money Services not only offers a check cashing service with low fees, we also allow you to pay bills directly, send money to friends and family without needing to mail a check, or buy money orders.

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