Okay, this is my first post, and I did do a search on this… but I think it only searched Cecil’s answers and not all the threads. So forgive me if you’ve responded to this one.
Anyway, is it true that rubbing a magnet across the numbers on the bottom left of a check can delay its processing? I’ve also heard sticking it in the microwave can work. But does it work, and if so, why? And what happens if the check gets cashed?
I’m wondering because I’m depositing a paycheck on Friday and giving a rent check on Saturday. If I can delay the check, it’d ensure that it wouldn’t bounce.
No and no. It is not possible to stun your checks. If there was some form of magnetic encoding on them, as there is on a credit card, rubbing a magnet across the coding would, indeed, cause them to not work for a while, “a while” being defined as “forever.”
Checks are read with optical readers now, so whether your checks use magnetic ink is not a concern.
In the past, checks were read by magnetic readers. If your check could not be read, it had to be processed manually. Sometimes the bank would reproduce the magnetized information on a white strip and paste it across the bottom of your check and put it back into the automated process. Most of us have gotten a few of those in our statements over the years.
As someone who made the mistake of buying the Versacheck software to print my own checks, I can tell you that that is not always true.
I don’t write a lot of checks, but when I do, I have a lot of trouble with them.
The scanners that a lot of stores use now at the registers (Wal-mart being my biggest problem) have difficulty scanning them. Most stores will go ahead and key in the numbers off the bottom, but my local Wal-mart refuses to accept a check that won’t scan, even if it’s all I have to pay with.
Most of my checks come back to me on my statement as check #0. The bank pays them, and I have the image of them, and each transaction has it’s own seperate code, so it’s more of an annoyance than anything else.
I’m making sure the numbers are lined up properly, and they do scan sometimes, but they don’t scan a lot more often than I expected.
Versacheck is now selling it’s own brand of inkjet ink that it claims can be read by the magnetic scanners. As soon as I run out of this big box of blank checks that I’ve already paid for, I’m going back to pre-printed checks.