Check 21 is the informal name for an act created by Congress in 2003 to help modernize the check processing system with the use of digital imaging. Many banks now clear checks with just digital images of the checks instead of the checks themselves. These reduces check processing costs for financial institutions and significantly speeds up the transfer of funds. Since the digital images are used, the actual checks may not be returned to the customer with their bank statements. For those individuals who write checks and drag their feet before they make a deposit to cover the check, the faster processing may catch these individuals with no sufficient funds in their accounts much quicker.

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