Some of our local businesses no longer take personal checks as a form of payment. This seems to be especially true at most of the local stores and restaurants we go to. But since I am about to graduate and hope to start my own business soon, I am curious about how things work with business checks.
In other words, will I need to make sure I start out with company credit cards or debit cards, or can I use checks? I am mainly asking about Walmart, since my business will be getting a lot of the office supplies and other things we will use from our local store.
Walmart might actually be one of the last remaining establishments that still accepts even personal checks as a form of payment. But you will find that most companies accept business checks, even if they no longer take personal checks. But Walmart in particular takes both. In fact, they accept almost any form of payment, including credit cards, debit cards, Walmart MoneyCards, Walmart credit cards, gift cards, PayPal, EBT, money orders, Chase Pay, and Amex Express Checkout.
Walmart uses a third-party verification system, just like many other businesses that accept checks. When you present a check at Walmart for payment, you will notice that you don’t necessarily have to fill out all the information. The cashier takes your check and runs it through a machine that transmits your data much like a debit card. The system then either accepts or rejects your payment, usually based on whether or not there is enough information stored in the system to validate your account. Walmart then processes your payment with a debit transaction. This amount is typically withdrawn from your account within one business day, making it a faster transaction than a typical check transaction, but more delayed than a debit card that withdraws it immediately.
Contrary to what some believe, a check verification system does not have access to your account balance and any rejection is not based on that information. The system runs algorithms based on previous data. If you ever wrote a check there that was returned by your bank, the system may reject your check until the returned amount is rectified. If you wrote checks there in the past which were paid successfully, however, you will likely have no problems. The system also checks the databases of other checking systems. This means that Walmart may reject your check if you have a negative banking history or returned checks with other businesses.
Most of the time, even new checking customers are approved, provided they do not have negative data on file. But to ensure that your business checks are accepted, it is often a good idea to check with guest services before you shop. This is especially true if you plan to write checks for large amounts. At the service desk, the cashier may ask you to provide them with some detailed information to enter into their system, such as a driver’s license number and social security number. You should also be able to fill out a tax-exempt form if your company is in fact tax-exempt. In this case, you will provide them with your Federal Tax ID number. They can then inspect whether your checks will be instantly approved through their system, and let you know if you need to provide any further information.
These systems are in place not only to protect merchants such as Walmart, but also to protect consumers from fraud. In other words, if your checking account is compromised and you reported it to your bank, it will show up in Walmart’s verification system. This protects you from stolen accounts, and they are better able to identify the criminals committing fraudulent acts against you.