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Checks are written everyday at almost every place of business. At age 18 anyone
with the adequate amount of money can open a checking account of his or her own.
One aspect of checking account functions that many account owners are not
familiar with is the processing of their checks after they have been written.
When grocery shopping at a place such as Winn Dixie the customer many times
thinks to his or herself whether he or she should pay cash, charge it, or pay
for the purchase with a check. He or she may ponder this question in their mind
all the way to the check out counter. When the customer makes the decision to
pay for the merchandise with a check, a long process is started. This process
begins when the check is handed over to the cashier. Once all information has
been properly placed on the check the cashier then will normally ask for two
things, a home phone number and a drivers license number. Once all of the
necessary information has been placed on the check by both the cashier and the
customer the check is scanned in the automatic check reader. This check reader
recognizes the customers account number, A.B.A. number (or routing number), as
well as the check number. The computer system can then recognize the specific
account and check to make sure that there are no returned checks on that
account. Once the checked is approved, it is then printed or endorsed on the
back with all proper information for Winn Dixie deposits, including the amount
of the purchase, cash back received (if applicable), store location number,
date, time, cashier number, and the customer’s account number. The cashier
then stores the check in a locked box until it is time for them to go home. All
checks are then added together to make sure none are missing and to make sure
the cashier put all checks in for the correct amount. All checks received in the
office at the end of the day are totaled together and deposited into Winn
Dixie’s bank account. When the person responsible goes to the bank and makes
the deposit for the business, he or she hands a large number of checks to the
bank teller. The teller will then verify the amount of the deposit to the total
amount of the checks. After the deposit has been verified and all numbers are
correct, the teller will then run the checks through the proof machine to be
verified again. The proof machine also encodes the amount on the bottom right
hand corner of the check. When all of the work has been ran through the proof
machine it is then sorted by an automatic sorter that sorts the checks by their
routing numbers. There are five different categories that checks are sorted
into. These five categories are Canadian items, Treasury checks, items that are
drawn on the bank they are processed, items drawn from the same area in which
they are being processed, and items that are drawn from banks that are not in
the area that they are being processed. After the checks have been sorted they
are sent to the bank that they have been drawn on. Once the checks arrive at the
banks they are drawn on, they are then sorted by their account numbers. As these
checks are being sorted they are posted to the account automatically. The checks
then, in account number order are placed in a safe filing area so they will not
be lost until the bank statements are sent to the account owners. The check or a
copy of the check is then sent to the account owner in the mail with his or her
statement. In the case that a copy of the check is sent to the owner the check
is kept in a safe place until it can be properly destroyed. This is only one
example of the way a check is cleared through a certain business. Although, the
basic concept of check clearing is the same, each individual company may go
through its own processing procedure before depositing the check to the bank.
Most banks handle their checks in approximately the same manner.
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