Returned Check - Returned Check Reasons:
Why was my check returned?
Why was the deposit returned?
What does NSF mean; What does RTM mean?
What do returned check messages mean?
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has published the updated
Check 21 Return Codes. Find out the reason codes, reasons for
return, and reasons for rejection, and what the stamps actually
this check real?
this check good?
Not Sufficient Funds -
Not Sufficient Funds, NSF,
Insufficient Funds, ISF are the same message. NSF and ISF mean
that at the time the check was presented to the account holder's
bank, there were not enough funds in the account to pay the
check or draft.
When a check is returned for
NSF or ISF, the item can be
redeposited unless the front of the item is stamped DO NOT
REDEPOSIT. Usually if an item is stamped DO NOT REDEPOSIT,
the account number is also crossed out or punched out with a
Uncollected Funds Hold -
Funds - UCF - UFH - UF, items are returned because funds
available in the account are not yet available. This can
happen when a deposit into the account holder's bank has not yet
cleared. For example, the account holder deposits a
paycheck for $1,000 into his bank on Monday, and the check is
set to be clear on Wednesday, making $1,000 pending, but not
available. The account holder then writes a check on
Monday night to a merchant that deposits the item on Tuesday.
The merchant's bank presents the check on Tuesday and the bank
returns the item, Uncollected Funds, because the money is there
on paper, but not available. If a check has been stamped
Uncollected Funds Hold, Uncollected Funds, or a similar message,
the item is eligible for redeposit. Just deposit the item
again, and the hold may have been lifted.
Stop Payment - Stop Pay - Check Stop
Check - Stop Payment Item - If your check or
draft is returned with a Stop Payment this means the account
holder, the person who originally wrote the check or authorized
the draft has revoked their authorization. You cannot
redeposit an item marked with a Stop Payment. Stop Payment
is a feature available to any account holder who contacts their
bank BEFORE the check or draft they authorized is presented for
payment. The account holder tells the bank the check
number, the amount of the check and payee and the bank in turn
looks for this check, or range of checks and returns the item(s)
unpaid marked Stop Payment.
Closed Account -
Account Closed -
When the banks stamps Account Closed or puts the Closed Account
stamp on a check or draft that was deposited, this means the
account holder's bank account that was associated with that
check is closed. No closed account or account closed items
can be redeposited. You must get a new check from the
account holder when the item was returned Account Closed.
Unable to Locate Account - UTL -
Unable to Locate - When
a check or draft is returned with the Unable to Locate or UTL
stamp, this means the bank cannot find any account with that
account number in its records. This is most likely a check by
phone or check draft where the wrong information was entered or
provided. Unable to locate checks or drafts may have
details as to what exactly was wrong, such as a circled account
number, or invalid routing number message. Some UTL or
unable to locate account checks have handwritten notes on the
stamp to help the merchant locate the proper details. Users of
CheckWriter software can use RoutingTool to look up bank routing
numbers and bank phone numbers. Other reasons could be the
addition or absence of leading zeros in an account number, such
as a customer with the account number 123456, but on the check
the account number shows 000123456. Unable to locate
checks cannot be redeposited. A new item must be created or a
new check would be required from the account holder.
Frozen Account - Blocked Account -
Checks and drafts are returned with Frozen Account or Blocked
Account messages when the bank is required to lock or Freeze an
account. This can be due to a divorce judgment, IRS tax
lien, wage garnishment, court order or other legal reason that
the bank can be required to freeze an account. Checks stamped
Frozen Account cannot be redeposited - a new item is required
from the account holder.
Stale Dated - Expired Check -
Stale Check - Checks returned with a Stale Dated stamp are past
the expiration date as set by the check issuer. Some
checks are valid only if cashed or deposited within 7 days, 30
days, 90 days or 180 days. Checks with this time limit
will be returned for Stale Dated or Expired Check and cannot be
Post Dated - Post Dated Check - If a check is
returned for Post Dated this means the date on the check was for
a future date. Future dated checks can be returned for
Post Dated or Post Dated Check. Checks that are returned
and stamped Post Dated can be redeposited on or after, but not
before the date in the date blank at the top right of the check.
Also check by the endorsement for wording such as "check not
this check real?
this check good?
Endorsement Missing - Endorsement - If a check or check
draft is returned due to endorsement missing, this is because
the depositor, not the account holder that issued the check, did
not endorse the item. An endorsement is a signature or
stamp that goes on the back of the check. At minimum, banks
require a single signature in the endorsement blank on the
reverse of the check. Other endorsements include, "For Deposit
Only", and "Without Recourse", and "Pay to the order of" if
making a third part endorsement. You can redeposit a check with
Endorsement Missing stamped on it by adding an endorsement and
redepositing the item.
Endorsement Irregular - Irregular Endorsement - Checks can be
returned for irregular endorsement when there is a problem with
the endorsement such as a signature mis-match, account number
problem or if the endorsement cannot be read. Checks can
also be returned for irregular endorsement if the endorsement
goes below the like that says, "Do not endorse or write below
Signature (s) Missing - Missing signature or signature missing
returns are common where the signature on a check is not
present. Some checks can be returned for signature missing
when two signatures are required to write a check on a
particular account and only one signature appears on the check.
A check with signature missing cannot be redeposited until the
signature is gathered.
Signature (s) Irregular - Irregular signature or signature
irregular returns are caused by a signature that does not match
the account holder, or if the signature appears damaged, altered
or otherwise obscured. Signature Irregular checks cannot
be redeposited. A new item must be obtained from the maker of
Non Cash Item - NCI - A check returned stamped Non Cash Item,
Not Cash Item, NCI or Not for Cash is usually an invalid check,
like a rebate coupon, promotional check, or gift certificate
that is deposited in error as a real check. Items stamped
NCI, Not Cash Item or Non Cash Item cannot be redeposited.
Altered Item / Fictitious Item - A check returned stamped
Altered, or stamped Fictitious item does not match the account
holder's records or the bank's records as far as the amount,
date or terms of the check and is being returned in dispute of
its validity. This can be something as simple as someone
writing a check for $125.99 and then changing the 5 in 125 to a
6 to make the check $126.50. Any alteration can void the
check at the discursion of the bank. A cross out,
alteration or change should be initialed by the account holder,
but does not always stop returns, especially with high dollar
items. This stamp, Altered Item, or Fictitious item can
also come with forged money orders, forged cashier's checks, and
forged traveler's checks.
Item Exceeded Dollar Limit - Checks are returned with this
stamp, Item Exceeded Dollar Limit when an account holder has a
cap on the maximum daily amount the account can pass in a day,
or if there is a maximum check value for the account.
Checks returned with this stamp cannot be redeposited.
Not Authorized - Unauthorized, Not Authorized, and UA stamps are
typically a result of the account holder disputing the item
during the payment presentment process, or if a particular block
is noted on the account such as "no drafts" or "no debits" and
such an item is presented. Items marked Not Authorized or
Unauthorized cannot be redeposited.
Refer to Maker - RTM - Checks returned with the RTM stamp
require the depositor to contact the maker of the check. Refer
to maker means, you should contact the person that wrote the
check to find out why the item was returned. If the maker
does not know why the item was returned, the maker should
contact their own bank for the reason. The merchant cannot
obtain the reason for return from the maker's bank, only the
maker can get this information. Items stamped RTM or
stamped Refer to Maker cannot be redeposited. A new item is
If you have a check or draft returned, pay close attention to
the reason code so you know if you can redeposit the item.
Use services that will check the validity of your checks and
drafts before you deposit the items. Free services to verify the
routing number, are offered at
http://routingtool.com and for as low as 39 cents each, you
can verify and validate checks and find out if the routing
number and the account number are valid by using
Checks by phone:
Learn how to take checks
Reasons For Return
Not Sufficient Funds
Uncollected Funds Hold
to Locate Account
Click Here to see why you should choose