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Can You Email A Check? (Updated: 2022!) – Explained & Solved!

Jamey Muller
Updated: July 6, 2022
6 min read

Checks are still extensively used today, and for a good reason. They are an excellent personal payment method, with many security and safety features. 

Sending checks via mail is safer than dispatching cash, but can you send them through emails? Can you deposit an emailed check?

Here’s if You Can Email a Check:

There is no question whether it is legal to send an image of your check via email. As long as your bank accepts it, you can make this transaction. Your bank will process the emailed photo of the check no differently than the real one. 

If you are unsure, you should inquire at your bank and check its terms and regulations.

In the past, electronically depositing a photo of an emailed check was not allowed. Most checks have security features that will prevent you from doing so.

Banks use special machines to process checks. The MICR line at the bottom of the check is necessary for the machines to read it.

However, due to advances in the check infrastructure, some banks may agree to process your emailed check, even if it is against the usual guidelines.

If you are receiving an emailed check, you should be careful. Make sure it is someone trustworthy enough. 

Never deposit if you are unsure. Most banks hold on checks for ten days to ensure that the payer has the necessary bank funds to clear them.

The money can be taken back out of your account within this period if the payer cancels or denies it.

If you have no choice, go to the bank personally and cash it there right away. If possible, request a more secure form of payment.

can-you-email-a-check_man-using-laptop

Is It Safe to Email a Copy of a Check?

To some extent, yes. Email is not always a secure system, but emailing a copy of a check should be safe enough if you exercise caution.

Technically, when you write a check, you expose your account information to anyone who can get a copy. With banks, checks are destroyed as soon as it is uploaded to a secure system,

Checks may also be photographed or turned into electronic images, but these facsimiles are generally safe.

The concern with emailing checks stems from your message moving through many computers, some of which may host malicious software. 

In addition, you are not sure how careful the email recipient is with their account. Even if they delete the message promptly, a copy of your message may stay in the archive for a long time.

Checks contain your personal financial information, including your name, address, and account number. Identity thieves can use this information to access your account and seize funds you worked hard to earn.

Even with voided checks, the image with your account number may exist and get copied or stolen in the future.

Fraud problems are always problematic. You spend a lot of time and energy cleaning up the mess.

Instead of emailing a check, be secured by doing some of the following strategies.

You can send an encrypted PDF of the check image. This requires the recipient to enter a password to view the document. Just be sure that when you give the password, it is secured.

Emailing the password works, but you should use a different address. Better yet, you should call the recipient and deliver the password verbally. If you want, you can also send it via text.

If encrypted PDF is out of the question, you can use password-protected files. This can work with Microsoft Office users. Select File, Info, then Protect Document, and your file is already protected. 

You may also want to consider faxing the check image instead of emailing it. It is more difficult to steal information from a fax transmission than through emails. 

The old-fashioned faxing to go to a local printing or shipping office is the more secure choice. Online services, such as sending a fax from a computer or mobile device, are prone to hacking.

How Do I Deposit an Emailed Check?

There are different ways in which you can deposit an emailed check. Before depositing, you must provide a PDF version that you need to authorize with your signature.

Once you have printed the check, you can deposit it in different ways.

The first is by presenting the check to a bank teller. Banks have varying degrees of experience with such transactions.

Your printed check may be or may not be accepted. In the case of non-acceptance, you have no choice but to use alternative methods.

You may also deposit your printed check via mobile check deposit. If your bank has this feature, you can use the smartphone application on your mobile phone to do so.

You should print the PDF image first on regular letter paper, then cut out the check portion. When you open the app, look for the tab to Deposit a Check, then press it. Take a picture of the front and back of the printout, then click upload. This should work.

If you can access an automated teller machine (ATM), you may deposit your printed check through this. It will help to cut out the printout like the mobile check deposit until only the check part remains.

In the ATM, you should insert it using Remote Deposit Capture.

What Is an eCheck?

Electronic checks or e-checks are a form of payment made online. They are designed to function as a conventional paper check but can be processed in fewer steps.

E-checks contain more security features than standard checks, including authentication, digital signatures, public-key cryptography, and encryption.

They are a part of the subset of electronic transactions called electronic fund transfers (EFTs), just like other computerized banking functions. 

Such transactions require various computers and networks to access account data needed to perform requested actions.

E-checks were formed as a response to the upgrades in electronic commerce. 

Governed by the same laws that apply to conventional paper checks, e-checks can be used to pay for any transactions but with a lot more convenience involved.

In general, e-checks involve less cost in issuance compared to paper checks. They do not need to be printed and do not require physical postage in long-distance payments.

E-checks also involve multiple levels of authentication to guarantee that the finds are correctly routed so that it is a plus for users.

Many employers take advantage of the benefits of utilizing e-checks. They are frequently used for sending employee wages directly to their bank accounts. 

E-checks are also regularly employed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when sending out a refund on federal tax returns. Instead of physical paper checks sent through the mail, recipients may receive e-checks deposited directly into their accounts.

The clearing process for e-checks varies between providers, so the processing time also varies. In general, funds can be verified within 24 to 48 hours when the transaction is initiated. 

If there is no setback, such as a lack of sufficient funds in the payer's checking account, the transaction can be cleared and sent to the payee's account within three to five business days. 

To send an e-check, you need to verify that the person you are sending money to has an Automated Clearing House (ACH) account. This allows users to utilize the ACH electronic network to accept payments through electronic funds transfer.

Once this is confirmed, the payee may send you an online payment form. You only need to fill in your checking account number, routing number, and payment amount. 

When you click “submit,” you authorize the payee to withdraw the money from your account.

This can also be done via phone call when the payee asks you for the necessary information. 

They will input these into an online payment terminal, then click “process.” Once this is done, the payment will be deducted from the payer’s account and deposited into the account.

Sources:

The Balance: Scanning and Emailing Voided Checks Safely
Checkbook: How can I deposit the Digital Check I printed?
Investopedia: Electronic Check Definition

Written by
Jamey Muller
I'm the head-writer @ Knowledge Eager (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing the majority of the content here). Addicted to the stock market, football, sushi and tacos.
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Jamey Muller
I'm the head-writer @ Knowledge Eager (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing the majority of the content here). Addicted to the stock market, football, sushi and tacos.