On October 28th, a new check-clearing law known as
"Check 21" goes into effect. If you're used to
writing a check a day or two before the money is
available in your account -- relying on a "float" --
you may now find that the check will bounce instead.
The so-called "Check Clearing for the 21st Century
Act" will let banks process checks you write
electronically, making the transaction as
instantaneous as an ATM or debit card transaction.
But the new law doesn't require the banks to make
the checks you deposit clear any faster, so you
could be hit with a lot of bounced check fees.
The Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of
America, the non-profit publisher of Consumer
Reports magazine, has launched an online petition to
urge banks to be more consumer-friendly in
implementing "Check 21". Sign up at:
You can find answers to frequently asked questions
about "Check 21" through the Federal Reserve?s