Who is Liable for a Stop Payment on a Check?

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Canceling a check isn’t always an easy process. You will be required to act swiftly after discovering an issue. Taking steps to cancel a check due to some inconsistencies is known as a stop payment order during online transactions. When you make a stop payment order, you have requested  for your bank to stop a check payment that is still waiting to be processed. Such a request can only be made by the holder of the account.

A stop payment order must be made before a check has been processed for it to be effective. Stop payments are typically approved by the bank for a fee. The fee can range from $15 to $35. The fee will mostly depend on the banking institution you are using. This content takes a look at stop payment orders. We have discussed how stop payment orders work, and the possible cost of a stop payment order. 

Who is Liable for a Stop Payment on a Check?

Who is Liable for a Stop Payment Order?

There are a good number of reasons that can make you liable for a stop payment order and they include: 

  • When you put down incorrect information on the check
  • When you mail the check to the wrong address
  • When the check is lost or stolen
  • When you have insufficient funds in your bank account balance
  • When you have a dispute over services rendered to you or over a purchase you made

How Does a Stop Payment Order Work?

You can contact your bank to request a stop payment order. After you have supplied the necessary information, your bank will flag the check, only if it hasn’t been processed. Then it will stop the check from clearing. A stop payment order can typically expire in 6 to 12 months. Of course, this depends on the bank. Most banks will let you renew the stop payment if your check is still outstanding.

How Can you Initiate a Stop Payment Order?

To stop payment order on a check you can follow the steps below to ensure it is successful:

1. Take Action Swiftly

Make sure you move quickly to request a stop payment order so that you can initiate it on time. Don’t delay. 

2. Confirm

Before trying to contact anyone, try to access your bank account on your mobile device or online to see if your payment has already been processed. A stop payment order will not work if your check is lost or stolen but has been processed. At this point, it will be a case of fraud

3. Check the Information on the Check

Once you have decided to do the stop payment, your bank will request that you provide some information about your check. The information you provide will make sure they track your check and stop it from been processed. The details may include:

  • Photo identification
  • Check amount
  • Routing number
  • Account number
  • Check number
  • Check date
  • Recipient name

Additionally, for ACH payments, you could be asked to provide information like:

  • Company name
  • Account number
  • ACH merchant ID 
  • Payment amount

4. Contact Your Bank 

The fastest way to process a stop payment order is to immediately call your bank or make a request in writing or online. Depending on the bank, you may be required to fill out a document (a stop payment request form) to initiate the process. After contacting your bank via telephone, you may be required to write a notification over 14 days, or your stop payment order will expire. A stop payment automatically takes effect after your bank has authorized your order.

5. Speak With the Payee

You might want to reach the payee depending on your reasons for issuing a stop payment on a check. You have to let them know that you have issued a stop payment order. After which you can make arrangements for another payment if necessary.

What is the Cost of a Stop Payment Order?

As stated above, when you issue a stop payment order on a check, as the account holder you’ll be charged a fee. These fees can vary from bank to bank. However, the fee for most banks falls between the range of $20 to $30 per stop payment order request. Below is a look at the stop payment order fees of some popular online banks and a few brick-and-mortar banks.

Stop Payment Order Charges for Different Banks

  • Ally Bank Interest Checking: $15
  • Capital One 360 Checking: $25
  • Bank of America: $30
  • Discover Bank: $0
  • Chase Bank: $30
  • PNC Bank: $33
  • Wells Fargo Bank: $31
  • Radius Bank: $25
  • HSBC Bank Basic Banking: $30

Note that a few of the banks mentioned here, particularly Bank of America and Chase, can waive stop payment fees. Only premium bank accounts are eligible for this offer. Make sure you find out how much a stop payment order costs from your bank. Besides the charges for a stop payment order can vary depending on the bank account involved. Some banks waive the charges for stop payment orders particularly when the check is lost or stolen.

Does a Stop Payment Order Work All the Time?

A stop payment order must be made before your bank processes the payment or check. Don’t forget that a stop payment order will expire after a specific period. This is why if you decide not to renew the order, there’s a chance that the payment will get processed even though the order has expired. There’s also a chance that your stop payment order will be ignored inadvertently (allowing your bank to process the payment). When this happens, your bank will be liable to pay any service charges as well as the charges for your stop payment order.

Note that not all payments or checks will be eligible for a stop payment order. Take an example, for most banks, money orders and a cashier’s check aren’t eligible for a stop payment order because both options need upfront payment. Hence, the funds are moved from your account when they are issued. Hence, you don’t have to stop the payment, instead, you cancel the money order or cashier’s check, depending on the circumstances. Although, the cancellation can take up to 90 days or more for cashier checks. It can take approximately 60 days for cash orders. In addition to this, you’ll be made to pay a cancellation fee depending on the circumstances.

Is a Stop Payment Order Legal?

A stop payment order is mostly legal. It is often offered by a good number of banks out there and other financial institutions as well. Note that there are some situations where it becomes paramount to stop a payment from been processed. A stop payment order can protect consumers. When you stop payment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the people involved aren’t accountable. This can be the case if they were originally in an agreement or contract that requires payment with the account holder.

This means that even though you have issued a stop payment order, that does not mean you have been released from your payment obligation or contractual agreement. In the end, you may be made to pay late fees due to the delay or even suffer other negative consequences like legal action. This is why the best way to avoid such a situation (or relying on a stop payment) is to verify every information you must have put down on the check to determine if they are correct before you send it to be processed. If you have issues with a payee or you have concerns about a payment speak to them about the issue before sending the payment.

Conclusion 

You can be eligible fora stop payment order on a check when the information on the check is incorrect, when you mail the check to the wrong address, when a check is lost or stolen, when your account balance has insufficient funds, and when there’s a dispute over services rendered or a purchase you made. Finally, when you issue a stop payment order on a check, you will be charged a bank fee for the service. Remember that a stop payment order can expire. This can happen when the check isn’t found by your bank.

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