Writing checks has been a major part of financial transfers for decades. However, with new technology comes new methods of doing those same traditional tasks. For traditional checks, eChecks have become the norm. However, you might not actually understand how to use one just yet. They’re not necessarily commonplace among all demographics.
So, how do you send one? It’s easy. Just follow this step-by-step guide.
How to Send an eCheck:
1: Open Your Account
If you’re sending an eCheck to someone, you’re almost certainly doing so through an established website platform. To start, log onto the website you’re going to use for the check. This might be a store you’re going to pay via eCheck with, or it might be your employer portal if you’re paying your remote employees.
Once logged in, go to the “Payment” section of the site. This is typically labeled as “Payment” or another very obvious simile for the term. Wherever the transaction portion of the site is, you need to go. This might also be your bank’s online portal if you’re sending money directly from your bank account to a less conventional receiver.
2: Navigate to eCheck
On the “Payment” page, you’ll find a section titled “eCheck”, “Checking Account”, or “Online Check”. If you find any of those, go ahead and access the associated tab.
3: Your Routing Number
Before you can send your eCheck, you have to insert your routing number into the appropriate field. This will pop up once you’ve gone to the “eCheck” portion of the platform you’re using.
You can find the routing number on the bottom of a physical check in your checkbook. It’s a 9-digit number, and it typically comes before other identifying numbers.
4: Checking Account Number
Your routing number isn’t enough. You’ll need to look beside it to find your account number. There will be a properly labeled field for you to type that number into on your eCheck page.
5: Check Number
Since an eCheck is just an electronic version of a check you physically own, you’ll need to add the check number. You can pick any check in your checkbook and use its number. Just make sure you cross out and write “VOID” on that check to make sure you don’t use it next time you write a physical check.
6: Amount and Verification
Finally, you’re ready to write the appropriate amount in the “Amount” field. This is how much money you aim to transfer.
Once you’ve done that, take a moment to go over all of the information and verify its accuracy. If you’re confident it’s correct, click “Send”. Now, you’ve sent your eCheck.
What do You Need for an eCheck?
Writing an eCheck isn’t as simple as downloading a financial app and transferring money. There are certain materials you need to write an eCheck.
First, you’ll need a checkbook. While many people have abandoned checkbooks in lieu of debit cards nowadays, a physical checkbook is indeed crucial to writing an eCheck. After all, an eCheck is just a way to write a check online. You can acquire a checkbook by reaching out to the bank you use for your financial management.
Then, you’ll need the information from your physical checkbook. This includes your routing number, account number, check number, and the amount of money you’re looking to spend.
Obviously, you will need enough money in your checking account to cover the value of any check you write. You’ll also need a way to write “VOID” across the entirety of any check you use as an eCheck. After all, this is the equivalent of using your checkbook online. Once a check is used, that check is gone, even though you physically hold it in your checkbook.
Finally, you’ll need a platform to write the check from. If a company accepts eChecks, you’ll likely find the option on their site, but the option is also available on any banking website that facilitates online banking. That’s most of them, in case you were wondering.
How Long Does It Take an eCheck to Clear?
Electronic checks, or eChecks, aren’t nearly as quick as most other online payments. They use the same platforms as regular checks, requiring a couple days to clear.
Most eCheck programs will require that the consumers have a sufficient amount of funds in the account prior to making a payment. This safe can help prevent checks from bouncing, but does not necessarily guarantee that they will not.
Whenever you write a physical check, the check doesn’t actually process for quite some time. The receiver of your funds might wait a few days before they have access to the funds you sent, the entire time, those funds will be unavailable in your account.
Electronic checks function in a similar manner. While you might write an eCheck to pay a bill, purchase a product, or pay an employee, the recipient won’t actually receive the funds for another 24 to 48 hours.
Between the time that a consumer initiates an eCheck and the payment clears, the balance of the checking account attached to the eCheck can change. Whether there are payments being taken out for another BillPay or someone physically withdraws from the account, an eCheck runs the risk of not clearing.
The settlement process can be made made faster on certain networks such as RTP, but in general, it’s one of the few modern payment methods that require substantial processing time. Merchants need to be aware and be prepared to recoup funds in the event that this occurs.
Major factors that determine the exact speed of your eCheck clearing are the financial institution you bank with, the institution your recipient banks with, the network used to facilitate the transfer, and oftentimes, how much money is being transferred. Larger amounts can sometimes take longer as both institutions take precautions to avoid fraud, over drafting, etc.
How Does eCheck Work?
Electronic checks or eChecks are basically how you write a check when paying for things digitally. Think of it as how you pay for things on your card online. Instead of swiping your physical card to pay for a purchase, you enter the information on your card, and that is used to facilitate the charge.
However, with an eCheck, things are a little different. Your checkbook requires a little more work than your debit card, and using it online is no different.
When you write an eCheck, you essentially provide all the information your physical check normally would, but the physical check isn’t ripped out and mailed to anybody. The recipient simply processes the information you provided them with.
This has benefits and drawbacks. As a benefit, it lets you write a check for online payments, and it can be a little faster than a physical check. However, if you don’t void the physical check you use as a reference, and you later try to use it, you can throw off your bank account or create banking problems for yourself. This means you need to pay attention to what you’re doing and stay vigilant when writing eChecks.