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Check Adjustments Tips

Tip #9: Ensure accurate information is submitted on adjustment cases and avoid quality fees

The Federal Reserve Banks have implemented a quality improvement initiative for Check Adjustments Services. Quality fees are designed to encourage greater efficiency through proper case submission and improved deposit practices. Did you know you can avoid being charged a quality fee for incorrect case submission information by providing complete and accurate case information?

Based on your role as the depositing or receiving institution, the information in the table below can be used to assist in ensuring accurate information is submitted on adjustment cases for the corresponding investigation type. For items submitted or received in an X9.100-187 (X9.37) file, the table also identifies the file record number and field number for which some of the required field information can be located within the X9.100-187 (X9.37) file.

Information on corresponding ITYPs and required fields
Field Name If your institution deposited the item with the FRB and the case type is:
  • Disposition (DISP)
  • Encoding Error (ENC)
Or, if your institution received the item from the FRB and the case type is:
  • Encoding Error (ENC)
  • Listed Not Enclosed (LNE)
  • Non-Cash Item (NCH)
  • Paid Item (PAID)
  • Source of Receipt (SOR)
Then the X9.100-187 (X9.37) location is
Forward Returns
Record Field Record Field
Amount (AMT) Amount of the item.
If the case type is an ENC, the difference between the encoded and legal (written) amount of the item.
Amount of the item.
If the case type is an ENC, the difference between the encoded and legal (written) amount of the item.
25 7 31 5
FCL Your institution's ABA number Federal Reserve's ABA number        
TCL Federal Reserve's ABA number Your institution's ABA number        
Cash Letter or Entry Date (CLED) Date of the cash/ return letter Date of the cash/ return letter 10 5 10 5
Cash Letter Total (CLT) Cash/ return letter total in which the requested item is contained. Cash/ return letter total in which the requested item is contained. 90 5 90 5
Tape Total (TT) Tape or bundle total in which the requested item is contained. Tape or bundle total in which the requested item is contained. 70 3 70 3
Sequence # (SEQ) Your sequence number. The Federal Reserve’s ISN#. 25 8 31 10
Item Before (IBEF) Dollar amount of the item listed on the cash/return letter detail listing before the requested item Dollar amount of the item listed on the cash/return letter detail listing before the requested item        
Item After (IAFT) Dollar amount of the item listed on the cash/return letter detail listing after the requested item. Dollar amount of the item listed on the cash/return letter detail listing after the requested item.        
Listed As (LAS) – ENC only The incorrect dollar amount as listed on the X9.100-187 (X9.37) file. The incorrect dollar amount as encoded listed on the X9.100-187 (X9.37) file.        
Should Be (SBE) – ENC only The legal (written) dollar amount of the item. The legal (written) dollar amount of the item.        
Cash Letter Date (CLD1) – PAID only   Date of the cash/return letter for the other item charged.        
FCL1 – PAID only   ABA number of the source of the other item.
Note: If the other item was received over the counter (within your institution) use your institution’s ABA.
       
TCL1 – PAID only   Your institution’s ABA number.        
Sequence Number (SEQ1) – PAID only   The sequence number of the other item charged.        

Please contact FedACH and Check Services Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 if you have any questions.

Tip #8: Three Reasons You Should Attend a Check Adjustments Webinar

Whether you are new to Check Adjustments or have been working in this area for years, you can gain insights and some valuable tips to sharpen your skills by attending an informational interactive webinar.

  1. The webinar is priced as a per connection fee. You can register for a single webinar for an entire team. So, whether it is one person or 20 people involved in Check Adjustments at your institution, everyone can attend for one price using a single connection.
  2. The webinars are led by a subject matter expert who will guide you and your team through the fundamentals regarding basic electronic check file formats, information on investigation types (ITYPS), and other pertinent information. Also, there is a platform to ask all the questions you would like.
  3. Attendees can earn up to 3.3 Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) credits and/or up to 3.3 National Check Professional (NCP) credits by attending an eligible webinar. Not only will you gain insights but you will also earn continuing education credits at the same time.

Seize this opportunity and sign-up for a live interactive Check Adjustments webinar here!

Tip #7: Fillable PDF Check Adjustment forms now available with instructions and examples

You may be familiar with the required documentation requirements for some of the Check Adjustment investigation types (ITYPs), but did you know some of the required forms, which are available as fillable PDFs, are now available with instructions and examples? The forms are accessible on the Check Services Forms page and within each ITYP in the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide (QRG). Refer to the Check Adjustments QRG for detailed information on all ITYPs, including supporting documentation requirements, as they may have changed.

As a reminder, all forms must be completely filled out and properly signed. Please contact FedACH® and Check Services Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 if you have any questions.

Tip #6: Canadian cash letter process

When making a Canadian cash letter deposit with the Federal Reserve Banks, it’s important to use the correct cash letter form with the applicable item you are depositing. There are four different Canadian Cash Letter forms. All cash letter forms are located online and should be sent to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

When depositing Canadian items that are encoded with Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR-encoded) and payable in U.S. funds (the maker has an account payable in U.S. funds with a Canadian bank), use the Canadian U.S. Funds (Encoded) (PDF) cash letter form. If the items are not encoded, use the U.S. Funds (Unencoded) (PDF) cash letter form. When depositing Canadian items that are MICR encoded and payable in Canadian funds (the maker has an account payable in Canadian funds only with a Canadian bank), use the Canadian Funds (Encoded) (PDF) cash letter form. If the items are not encoded, use the Canadian Funds (Unencoded) (PDF) cash letter form.

Canadian items payable in U.S. funds generally will state somewhere on the face of the item it’s in U.S. funds or American $. Another indication that the item is payable in U.S. funds is the number 45 in the MICR line, generally following the account number. In the absence of an indication that the item is payable in U.S. funds, it is processed as a Canadian item in Canadian funds. The routing number (RT) used in the Depositor’s RT field receives a credit, and the item is presented to the paying institution for payment. Please note that the item could be returned by the paying institution at any time.

All other foreign items should be deposited using the Foreign Check (PDF) cash letter form. Credit for these deposits is made when the Federal Reserve Banks receive credit from the foreign bank.

Please contact FedACH and Check Services Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 if you have any questions.

Tip #5: Completing paper cash letter deposit forms

When making a paper cash letter deposit with the Federal Reserve Banks, there are several important steps to follow. One of the most important steps is to select the correct cash letter form. For example, when depositing Canadian items, use the applicable Canadian cash letter form. All other foreign items should be deposited using the Foreign Check cash letter form. All cash letter forms are located on our public website and should be sent to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

When completing the cash letter form, the depositor’s routing number, name and address entered on the form should correspond with the institution that will receive credit for the deposit. The cash letter and bundle total amount should equal the amount of the item(s) being deposited, and the item(s) should be included with the cash letter deposit.

Another important step is to provide the required/applicable information for the cash letter being deposited. For example, Return Item deposits may require your most recent cash item source of receipt (SOR) (Forward presentment information) or Return Item SOR. Facsimile Savings Bonds require a specific indemnification statement (PDF) for bonds (form 700A). See information for properly prepared facsimiles for Savings Bonds for more information.

Following these tips will help ensure the deposit is processed accurately and without delay. Please contact FedACH and Check Services Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 if you have any questions.

Tip #4: Periodically verify account information

It’s a good idea to periodically verify that the information you have on file with the Federal Reserve Banks is up to date. This information includes your mailing address and point of contact (name, email address and telephone number) for each service you have. Accurate information helps ensure that there are no delays in receiving information or service from the Federal Reserve Banks.

For example, if you receive a paper cash/return letter from the Federal Reserve Banks, it will be mailed to the address on file. If the address on file is incorrect, there is a risk the cash/return letter may be delayed or lost in the mail. Please contact FedACH and Check Services Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 if you have any questions.

Tip #3: Responding to a CA1000 message from the Federal Reserve Banks

Did you know that when you receive a CA1000 (Case Open Without Entry) message from the Federal Reserve Banks, you should respond using a CA5000 (Case Resolution) message? You should avoid responding with a CA1000 message, as this will open (create) a new case with the Federal Reserve Banks. You should also avoid responding using a CA4000 (Case Status Inquiry) message. Please contact FedACH and Check Services Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 if you have any questions.

Tip #2: Why is it so important to use the correct Investigation Type (ITYP) when submitting an adjustments request?

It’s very important to use the correct investigation type (ITYP) when submitting an adjustments request to ensure that the request is handled properly, for all institutions involved, in accordance with the guidelines of that ITYP. When a request is submitted with the incorrect ITYP, it may delay the resolution of the request, and/or the request may be returned to the requestor advising them to resubmit with the correct ITYP and required documentation.

For example, if a request is submitted as a Duplicate Entry (DUP) (no attachments required) but is later determined to be a Paid Item (PAID) (attachments required only if you are reporting six or more items paid in the same bundle), the case could be returned to the requestor because the required attachments for reporting multiple paid items were not received. In this example, if a provisional entry was given, it would be reversed and the requestor must resubmit the request within the reporting time frame of the correct ITYP (with the required attachments) to receive a provisional entry.

Please refer to the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide for detailed information on the reporting time frames and Federal Reserve Bank action for each investigation type. Please contact FedACH and Check Services Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 if you have any questions

Tip #1: What are the differences between the Duplicate Entry (DUP) and the Paid Item (PAID) investigation types (ITYPs)?

The differences between the DUP and the PAID ITYPs are the usage and reporting time frames. The DUP ITYP is used when requesting reversal or investigation of an accounting entry that appears to have been previously made. An example of this is receiving entry for the same Encoding Error (ENC) more than once. If the DUP request is submitted within 20 business days of the most recent entry date and other requirements are met, a provisional entry is made the same day the request is received. The PAID ITYP is used when requesting credit for an item that is being refused either because it is the original (or the legal equivalent, i.e. a substitute check or image received in an X9.100-187 (X9.37) cash/return letter) or a photocopy, and the other item is already paid. If the request is submitted within six calendar months of the cash/return letter date and other requirements are met, a provisional entry is made the same day the request is received.

Did you know we offer a Check Adjustments Webinar that explains the proper usage of ITYPs entitled “Check Adjustments Insights into Investigation Types”? For more information and to register, please visit the Events and Education website. You can also refer to the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide for more information on all ITYPs, including required fields (information needed on the adjustments request) and supporting documentation requirements.

Please contact FedACH and Check Services Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 if you have any questions.

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