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You are here: Home » Departments » Treasurer/Tax Collector » Review/Pay Tax Bills Home » FAQ's
 
General Questions About Electronic Checks

  1. What is an electronic check?
  2. If I use a web-based "electronic check", when will my account be charged?
  3. How do I provide account information for the payment?
  4. Can I write an electronic check against my savings account?
  5. What happens if I need proof of payment?
  6. Will the company I give my account information to be able to take additional payments from my account?
  7. Can I place a stop payment on the payment?
  8. How will an electronic check appear on my account statement?
  9. Since I don't use the check to make the payment, how will I keep track of the payment in my checkbook register?
  10. What happens when there is not enough funds in my account to cover the electronic check?
  11. Will my financial institution charge a fee for an electronic check representment?
 
1. What is an electronic check?
  An Internet-Initiated electronic check is a form of electronic payment used by a company or County to charge (debit) a consumer's account after obtaining authorization directly from the customer via the Internet. Sometimes they are called electronic checks, ACH-based electronic checks, or e-Checks.
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2. If I use a web-based "electronic check", when will my account be charged?
  Generally for a payment or single transaction, your account will be charged one to three days after you authorize the web site to charge your account.
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3. How do I provide account information for the payment? Do I get a copy of what I provide? Do I have to sign anything?
  You provide information by reading and keying in the numbers on the bottom of the check. Usually, the website where you are making a payment will provide instructions. Yes, you should be able to print a copy of what you okayed.
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4. Can I write an electronic check against my savings account?
  Yes, you may draw an E-check on a savings account, or on a Money Market account at a stock brokerage, as long as the account has an ABA routing number and account number that can be used for an Echeck. You should contact your financial institution to confirm this option.
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5. What happens if I need proof of payment?
  The IRS established in the 1970s that the listing on your account statement serves as proof of payment.
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6. Will the company I give my account information to be able to take additional payments from my account?
  No. When you authorize our internet payment service provider to take a payment from your account, it is for one payment only. If you want to make another payment you will repeat the same process.
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7. Can I place a stop payment on the payment?
  Yes; however you must contact your financial institution in time for them to act on your request before the payment is deducted from your account.
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8. How will an electronic check appear on my account statement? That is, how will I know that the payment has been charged to my account?
  If your statement lists checks in one section and electronic transactions - such as debit card and ATM transactions - in another section, then the electronic check will probably be listed with the electronic transactions. You'll see the company name, the dollar amount and an identifying word such as "PURCHASE" or "PAYMENT" or even "ACH DEBIT."
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9. Since I don't use the check to make the payment, how will I keep track of the payment in my checkbook register?
  If you are making just one payment, print the authorization page from the website and record the date and amount in your checkbook register. This is the typical thing to do when you are making a purchase over the Internet.
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10. What happens when there is not enough funds in my account to cover the electronic check?
  When there isn't enough money in the account your electronic check will "bounce" just as a paper check would. Checks can bounce for a number of reasons. You might forget to make a deposit. It's easy to forget to record a check or other transaction. Sometimes it's as simple as an arithmetic error.

Companies that accept checks understand these things. They know that when a check bounces, it's usually unintentional. But it's time consuming and costly for the company to handle bounced checks. Unfortunately, that cost is passed on to customers. Santa Cruz County charges a $25 fee for bounced checks.

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11. Will my financial institution charge a fee for an electronic check representment?
  It's up to each financial institution as to whether it charges for this type of transaction. Check with your financial institution.
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