In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget our roots. You might think of mailing checks as an outdated process, but the truth is that it’s still one of the most effective ways to handle payments. In fact, The Federal Reserve reported that checks comprise 15 percent of all non-cash payments.
However, safely sending a check through the mail is slightly more involved than sending a postcard. Understanding safe check mailing procedures keeps your finances safe and prevents you from losses due to fraud. This blog includes tips for mailing checks safely.
SmartPayables is a full-service check printing and mailing service that lets businesses send bulk checks and automated payments from any device. If you’re looking for custom functions, you can integrate SmartPayables into your business operations using API.
Is It Safe To Mail a Check in the Mail?
Both electronic checks and print checks are critical to any business that sends and processes checks regularly. Older generations still favor direct mail over digital solutions, meaning businesses still need to have the traditional option in addition to online check services.
Mailing checks through direct mail is also a proven method that provides straightforward compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. Once on its way, the United States Postal Service system records a letter and notifies both the recipient and sender of the check’s tracking position. These official records come in handy in case of any disputes.
Physical checks already include checking account numbers, bank routing numbers, and other pre-printed details that save the drawer from manually filling out details. If you want to simplify the check printing processes, you can visit our blog on how to print checks.
Deliver It to a Safe Place
The first step in mailing a check is to make sure you protect the letter containing your check. To do so, make sure you drop off the letter at a post office or uniformed mail carrier. Dropping off your check in your apartment or neighborhood mailbox invites significant risk. You can minimize the risk of the blue USPS mailboxes by dropping your check-in before the last daily collection so it doesn’t get left out overnight.
Track the Package
If concerned about regular mail, choose certified mail or other available tracking services. FedEx and UPS offer similar security measures, but they cost more than US mail. If you use anything besides regular mail, it can make things more difficult for your recipient. They might have to present and sign for the delivery, or they might have to make a trip to the post office to accept the letter.
Restrict the Check
To require the check to deposit into the correct bank account, write “for deposit only to account of payee” in the endorsement section on the back of your check. The restriction will add a layer of security so that bank tellers will vet any check fraud.
There is still a chance the check will slip through the cracks and wind up in the wrong hands, but the more preventative measures you take, the more likely your check will make it safely to your intended recipient.
Another way to add some security features to your check is by making your payment appear like a standard letter instead of a package containing a check. To disguise your check as a typical letter, fold a thick piece of paper around the check. When doing this, account for the added weight with the appropriate postage.
Double Check the Address
Sometimes the things which hurt us the most are the most simple. Checking the address on your check might seem obvious, but it’s one of the easiest things to overlook. Before sending your check off, take a few seconds to make sure all of the details are correct. It will save you weeks of stress.
What If You Lose a Check in the Mail?
If you follow these steps, you decrease your chances of your check getting lost or stolen. However, accidents happen. Humans still run government institutions, and that means they’re subject to human error.
The good news is, for your check to clear in the forger’s name, they have to jump through some big hoops. They will typically have to forge the payee’s signature or alter the check to clear it. Technology exists today that makes it especially difficult to alter checks and get away with it.
If a thief manages to forge your signature and obtain the check’s funds, you should notify law enforcement immediately. Some state laws protect you from check fraud damages. Depending on the state, the institution that cashed your check will be liable for any loss.
Here are a few more tips about what to do if your check gets stolen or lost:
- Contact Your Bank and Put a Stop Payment on the Check
- Be Aware of the Stop Payment Fees
- Consider Other Options
- Watch Out for Identity Theft
How Long Does a Check Take To Mail?
Financial communications of any sort are time-sensitive. You should know when your intended payee can expect their checks. Understanding general mail times for each mailing service will improve your communication with your check recipients.
- Regular mail- 3-6 days
- Priority Mail Express- 1-2 days or overnight
- Priority Mail- 1-3 days
- First-class mail- 1-3 days
International mail and mail for faraway destinations takes longer. These packages can take several weeks to arrive. USPS also doesn’t guarantee arrival times- they have estimates. Because there is no guarantee when your package will arrive, it’s better to allow more time than you anticipate for your package.
How to Void a Check Lost in the Mail
In the unfortunate event that your check gets stolen, you should contact your bank. If the check hasn’t been cashed, you can request to put a stop payment on it. Placing a stop payment on your check is a formal request that the check cannot be deposited or cashed.
Stop payments on checks can last for up to six months. Requesting a stop payment is easy. All you have to do is call or visit your bank branch.
Some banks also have online options. Remember to include your check number, the exact check amount, and the recipient. If you present any of the required information incorrectly, someone might still be able to cash your check.
How to Mail a Check for Deposit Only
To deposit a check by mail, endorse the check by signing and writing “for deposit only” on the back. Then write your account number under the endorsement. If you fail to include the account number, the bank will not be able to locate your account and process your check. Most financial institutions recommend using certified mail to mail your check.
Conclusion- How to Mail a Check Safely
Checks aren’t an obsolete form of payment, and your business shouldn’t treat them as such. Even in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, checks still have their place because they’re cost-effective. So long as you’re adhering to safeguards that protect you from fraud, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be mailing checks.
SmartPayables is an online check printing and mailing service that handles your writing, payment processing, invoicing, and mailing services. Using check services saves you the time and hassle of check-writing logistics and allows you to write, print, and mail checks with ease. Contact us today to lessen your burden.