Accepting Checks by Phone and FAX
The secure online check form that your customers complete themselves (especially when used with the Signature Capture feature) fully complies with all laws and e-commerce regulations. The customer's IP address is recorded along with the exact date/time of the submission.
You next best bet as far as being able to prove the customer authorized their check is to have them fill out, sign and fax or scan and email you a copy. At that point you can use either the full Vcheck form (which requires the customer's email address and can email them a receipt), or the Phone Order form (which does not require the customer's email address) to re-enter the customer's data and create a Vcheck.
Both forms can be quickly accessed under the Customers menu on the left navigation. Since these forms are available to the public you don't have to be logged in to your Vcheck account to access them. You can bookmark them or drag and make a desktop shortcut for easy access.
Unlike ACH checks, with Vcheck you can still accept checks by phone. Once you have all the information required you simple use the desired Vcheck form to enter a check into the system. Accepting checks by phone puts the burden of proof of customer's authorization on you. Below are specific details on accepting checks by phone and a sample script for doing so. You can also download a PDF version of the phone script at the bottom of this page.
Accepting Checks by Phone
Banking regulations require that very specific questions and confirmations be obtained for checks drafts produced by information taken over the phone. And, to avoid "the burden of proof" if a draft is disputed, it is required that such phone calls be recorded or confirmation of the authorization be mailed, faxed or emailed to the customer before the draft is processed.
Having the customer FAX you a copy of a signed check that shows the same amount and payee as the draft you will produce is an easier and safer procedure. However, if that's not possible, we have compiled the following script based on banking regulations that will insure you are in compliance with the required confirmations from the check submitter.
Sample Script for Verbal Authorization That Must be Recorded or Confirmation of the Authorization Mailed/Faxed/Emailed to Customer BEFORE the Draft is Processed
After any sales information and basic check information (checking account data) has been obtained, the following should be recited to the customer with his/her responses being recorded:
"Now we have to verify your authorization for this transaction.
Do you, [bank account holder or authorized signer] understand that the information you provided during this phone call that has taken place on [today's date] at [time of call including time zone] will be used to create a one time demand draft on the checking account for which you have provided information and are an authorized signer on the account?
[Wait for customer response]
Do you authorize us [or state your company's name] to process a draft against said checking account in the amount of [amount of draft] and understand the draft will be dated and will be processed on or after [today's full date or agreed date of check/draft]?
[Wait for customer response]
Do you acknowledge that we have provided you with our phone number of [provide phone number] that is available and answered during normal business hours for your inquiries regarding this transaction?
[Wait for customer response]"
See additional details below including specifics on what must be included in a written confirmation of the phone call if it is not recorded.
The below is presented from the perspective of the check submitter, but the details of your responsibilities are contained in the same dialog:
How to Authorize Direct Debits
To authorize a direct debit to your account, usually for a one-time transaction, you give the person you're paying your bank account number. You may also give the company the number of your next unused check. Either they or a third party verifies your account information and, as your agent, prepares a paper draft (also called a "sight draft" or a "demand draft"), which the bank treats like a check except that you never sign it.
There is, right now, no regulation requiring your written authorization for this kind of debit.
A business is required to obtain your verifiable authorization to withdraw payment from your bank account. That is, you have to give them your express permission, and you have to do it in one of three ways: (1) in writing, (2) by tape-recording your verbal authorization, or (3) by sending you a written confirmation before debiting your account. They must also tell you that money will be taken from your bank account, and, if they tape record your authorization, they must disclose to you the following information: the number of draft payments, if more than one, and the date and amount of each demand draft, the name of the payee, a telephone number you can call during normal business hours, and the date you are giving your oral authorization. If the telemarketer confirms your authorization in writing, they must give you this same information, but in addition, they must include in the confirmation notice the procedure you can use to dispute the accuracy of the confirmation and obtain a refund.
AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DRAFT ORIGINATOR (YOU)
Originators of Demand Drafts must obtain the consumer's explicit authorization prior to initiating a debit to a consumer's account. Unlike other debit entries to a consumer's account, however, Originators need not provide the consumer with a written authorization for the consumer to sign or similarly authenticate.
Instead, the Originator may obtain the consumer's authorization for a Demand Draft orally via the telephone. Originators are obligated either to tape record the consumer's oral authorization or to provide, in advance of the Settlement Date of the Draft, written notice to the consumer that confirms the oral authorization. The following specific information must be included in the authorization:
* the date on or after which the consumer's account will be debited;
* the amount of the debit entry to the consumer's account;
* the consumer's name;
* a telephone number that is available to the consumer and answered during normal business hours for customer inquiries;
* the date of the consumer's oral authorization; and
* a statement by the Originator that the authorization obtained from the Receiver will be used to create a Demand Draft to the consumer's account.
For an oral authorization obtained over the telephone to be valid, the Originator must (1) state clearly during the telephone conversation that the consumer is authorizing a Demand (or Paper) Draft against his account, and (2) express the terms of the authorization in a clear manner. The Originator must retain either the original or a duplicate tape recording of the consumer's oral authorization or a copy of the written notice confirming the consumer's oral authorization for two years from the date of the authorization.
At the request of the ODFI, the Originator must provide a copy of the consumer's authorization. An Originator that chooses the option to provide the consumer with written notice confirming the consumer's oral authorization must disclose to the consumer during the telephone call the method by which such notice will be provided. The written notice must include, at a minimum, the six pieces of information required to be disclosed during the telephone call, as described above.
Originators should understand that the term "provide" is intended to mean that the Originator has utilized a medium (e.g., U.S. mail, fax, or other mail delivery method) to send the written notice to the consumer. (Note: Any written notice or disclosure required by the NACHA Operating Rules may be provided in electronic form, including e-mail. Please note, however, that state and federal laws may require consumer consent before using electronic notices/disclosures.) The term "provide" does not imply receipt of such notice by the consumer. Originators must understand that, when written notice is used to confirm the authorization, the consumer must be afforded the right to contact the Originator, using the telephone number provided, to correct any erroneous information contained within the notice