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Cheque security

Cheque safety and security tips from FNB are designed to keep you safe and aware of how to protect yourself from fraudulent activity occurring on your account.

What this is

Check that it's genuine

One of the more frequent means by which customers are defrauded is by cheque interception. On average, a cheque is handled by up to 20 people from the time you make it out to the time your branch pays it. This means that there are numerous opportunities for the cheque to be intercepted. Most commonly this happens when cheques are posted.

Another common way in which customers are defrauded is accepting a cheque or bank deposit when selling goods. Often the cheque or the deposit turns out to be fraudulent and the seller is out of pocket. Sellers are advised never to release goods until they are certain that the payment is valid.


Be safe

Take your time before taking action

Wait for the funds to be cleared

Always wait for the funds to be cleared before releasing goods, even if it seems to be a bank issued cheque.

While the cheque may appear to be genuine, fraudsters have even gone so far as to print their own cheques. The cheque could also be stolen. Even if the cheque is genuine, there are certain instances when banks issue cheques that will not be honoured.

Never accept faxed proof of payment

Never accept a faxed bank deposit slip as proof of payment. Amounts and details can easily be changed to reflect a higher value or that it is a cash deposit.

Check with your bank first that the correct amount has been deposited and whether the deposit is cash or cheque. If it is a cheque deposit, wait until the cheque has been paid (usually this will take seven days) before you release goods.

Filling out a cheque

  • The person writing out a cheque should always attempt to use a ballpoint pen instead of making use of pens with more erasable inks like fountain pens or felt tip pens.
  • To prevent unauthorised additions and/or alterations, commence all writing as close as possible to the lefthand margin, leaving no gaps and drawing a line through unused spaces.
  • Any cheques that the account holder does not wish to be cashed should be crossed, to ensure that a cheque is paid into the intended beneficiary's account, the cheque should be marked with the words 'Not Transferable' between two transverse lines.

Keeping your chequebook and cheques safe

  • The customer should take responsibility for keeping their chequebook in a safe place to prevent unauthorised use.
  • The customer should always keep his chequebook separate from his credit cards, ATM cards or any other document that bears his signature. If a thief gets hold of your chequebook, but does not have a sample of your signature, a forged signature will probably not resemble yours.
  • Never have any cheques lying around that have not been completed or fully signed.

Reporting a stolen chequebook

The customer should report a stolen chequebook to his/ her account holding or nearest FNB branch as soon as he/she detects that the chequebook is missing. There is also the ability to stop a cheque online via FNB Online Banking.

Statements and recons

  • All paid cheques that are returned with your bank statements should be kept in a safe place because they contain your signature. Fraudsters may even try to re-use these cheques.
  • The customer should make a habit of doing monthly reconciliations on the cheques that were issued on his/her account.
  • Regular recons should be done on all unused cheques in a chequebook against the counterfoil or carbon copy records.

Posting cheques

The posting of cheques should be avoided, should it be necessary, cheques should be placed in non-transparent or dark envelopes without any staples / paper clips, which can be felt through the envelope.

Alternative payment methods

Many alternative payment methods exist that are safe and convenient and can even save on bank charges. These alternatives include Visa Electron debit cards, Online Banking, Cellphone Banking, ATM payments, debit orders and future dated payments.