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Scenario: I'm having checking accounts with two separate banks (USA) respectively. I need to transfer funds from one account to another using a online bill payment facility provided by one of the bank. I've my recipient account registered as payee and ready to do bill payment.

Question: If the bill payment check is delivered to a wrong address, can someone else who found the check cash it (i.e misuse it) ?

Please advise, on how this can be corrected ? Thanks in advance!

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I have been using Bill Pay from BoA, Chase, and a local Credit Union, all for at least five years (maybe even 10), and never had any issues with lost checks.

Sometimes, an address given to me was incorrect, and what happens is either

  1. nothing (meaning, after 90 days, the check is considered outdated and the money gets reimbursed in the account)

  2. the bank notifies me after about two weeks that the check was returned as 'recipient not found at that address' or 'invalid address', and the money gets restored right then.

That is no guarantee, of course, that nothing will ever happen. But banks are not supposed to accept checks where the recipient name does not match.

Also, you should consider using 'Quick Pay' or 'Pay an individual' instead, whatever your bank calls it. That will transfer the money same or next day to your other account, without ever mailing a check. You do not need to enter account information across banks, it works by both banks contacting you through your logins/emails.

  • Thank you for your reply. You are correct :-) I inquired with bank customer support and they said two options: 1) wait for 90 days. the check will expire and money is credited back into the account 2) the check was not cleared yet and could be cancelled with some cancellation fees. Also, bank stated, that the check will be only en-cashed by the recipient mentioned on the check. – shankys Jan 25 '16 at 11:45
  • Also, thanks for the tip. I will start using "Pay to an individual" method instead. – shankys Jan 25 '16 at 11:50
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I have only been comfortable using my credit unions online bill payment system where the service they use already has the target in the database. When I enter the name of the company and the zip code from the bill, the system responds with the address that matches what is on the bill.

In most cases the money is not sent via mail, but it is sent electronically. This eliminates the case of somebody finding the check. Though electronic delivery doesn't guarantee that I didn't type the wrong account number.

When adding a new target, I like to pick those that also have an online system that I can check in a few days to make sure the money was received and properly credited.

Recently a company failed to credit my account in a timely manner, my credit union actually noticed that the payment hadn't been cashed, and alerted me.

I asked the credit union about mistakes, either by me or by them. They claimed that the payment is treated like any other check, and that if there was a problem the money could be pulled back, and my account credited with the funds.

Your bank should have a disclosure document stating the risks and protections with the service.

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