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Check 21

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What is Check 21?

The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, or Check 21, is a new Federal law that was passed unanimously by Congress in 2003 and became law on October 28, 2004.

Check 21 Q & A?

  • What is the purpose of Check 21?
    The law is intended to improve the safety and security of the nation's check clearing network by allowing financial institutions to reduce their dependence on physical transportation (trucks and airplanes) and to improve the efficiency of the process of collecting checks.
  • What changes with Check 21?
    Financial institutions may now either send the original check for collection or retain (or truncate) the original check and send either a reproduction of the original check (a substitute check), or they can agree to transmit and receive electronic images of checks instead.
  • What are Substitute Checks?
    A Substitute Check is similar in size to original commercial checks with a slightly reduced image of the original check and is the legal equivalent of the original check. Below is an example of a substitute check.

Substitute Check Example

diagram of check

  • How will Check 21 affect my account?
    For most Fidelity customers, the truncation of original checks allowed under Check 21 will have no substantial effect. The images of paid checks included in your statement may be images of substitute checks if we receive a substitute check instead of the original item. Since Fidelity provides copies of check images in your monthly statement, the only time you might receive an actual substitute check would be if a check you deposited is returned to us by the paying bank as a substitute check or an electronic image.
  • What if I need a check for proof of payment?
    Images of all checks paid are available through Oklahoma Fidelity Bank Online and Oklahoma Fidelity Business Online for 90 days. If you need a certified photocopy, simply visit the Oklahoma Fidelity Bank branch nearest you or call the Customer Phone Center at 800-658-1637 to make the request.
  • What if there is an error on my account?
    If you think there is an error on your account, please contact us immediately at the telephone number listed above. Check 21 provides a special procedure that allows consumers to request a refund for losses suffered as a result of receiving a substitute check rather than the original. If we send you a substitute check as a returned deposited item, we will provide this additional disclosure explaining substitute checks and your rights.
  • Will Check 21 affect how quickly checks are processed, or the availability of funds on my account?
    Implementation of Check 21 will not immediately change the way checks are processed or the availability of funds in your account. The new law allows financial institutions the option to invest in additional check processing automation but does not require participation in image exchange networks. Over time, it is likely that more financial institutions will invest in image processing and transmission capabilities, which will facilitate improved efficiency in the nation's payments network similar to the way ACH direct deposit has been adopted as an alternative to receiving a paper paycheck.
  • What is Oklahoma Fidelity Bank doing?
    Oklahoma Fidelity Bank will continue to research and consider use of additional check processing opportunities when available and will continue to work to make the use of these new processes as seamless as possible in delivering banking services to our customer.


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