Non-sufficient funds (NSF) is a term used in the banking industry to indicate indication That a check can not be honored Because insufficient funds are available in the account is the instrument qui Was drawn. An NSF check is Often Referred to as a bad check , dishonored check , bounced check , cold check , rubber check , returned item , or hot check .


When a bad check is drawn, the check writer may be charged a fee by their own financial institution . If paying the item puts the account holder in a negative condition by a little fee, the bank may choose to honor the check. When this occurs, the account will be overdrawn, and the fees charged by the bank will be an extra burden on the account until the overdraft is covered. If the paying of the item would render the account overdrawn, the bank may choose not to honor the check. The item will be returned to the depositor’s bank, and ultimately to the depositor. The amount of the check plus the depositor’s bank account will be debited from the depositor’s account. The depositor then may choose to re-submit the check, hoping it will clear on a second attempt,

If the dishonored check has been scanned and replaced by a substitute check , the original check is not returned to the depositor, but the substitute check will be marked “not sufficient funds” and returned to the depositor. [1] The recipient may choose not to accept checks in the future from the writer, or may suspend the check-writer’s privileges until the check- Writer has made good on the debt. The recipient may also choose to report the writer to a database service. This article is available in: English (United Kingdom) French (Fr) French (Fr) French (Fr) English (United Kingdom) If a merchant or other place of business receives too many bad checks from customers, it may simply decide to not accept any checks at all from anyone. [2]

Reasons for dishonored checks

The reasons for the receipt of bad checks are not limited. Other items that may not be honored. The account holder’s funds being frozen; The account not actually due to a false check being presented; And damage to the check.

Collection on dishonored checks

When a bad check is negotiated, the recipient of the check may choose to take action against the drawer. The action that is taken may be civil or criminal , on the amount of the check and the laws in the jurisdiction where the check is drawn.

In many jurisdictions in the United States, a bad check restitution program exists that allows the funds to be collected from the local district attorney’s office, regardless of the amount. An agency run by the district attorney will pursue the drawer of the check by attempting to collect the funds in exchange for avoiding criminal prosecution . The check-out will be carried out at the check-out time, plus a program fee. The drawer will also be required to take a race designed to improve check-writing habits. These programs are controversial and in recent years, they come under fire in lawsuits. Normally, if check writer can cover up their bad credits in sixty days,

A fraud is a criminal offense. In some US states, if the check drawer informs the party they are uttering the check-in at that time, if the check bounces, they Can not be considered as a criminal offense, but as a criminal offense.


Steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of a bad check include:

  • Carrying a higher balance in the checking account; That is to say that it is a good thing.
  • Better balancing techniques
  • Overdraft protection – This may be in the form of a bank account , or a credit card , or a credit card designed specially for this purpose.
  • Using a credit / debit card or cash instead of checks.

Legal issues

In England and Wales and Australia , these checks are typically remarkable “Refer to Drawer” – an instruction to contact the person issuing the check for an explanation as to why the check was not honored. This wording Was Brought in after a bank was successfully sued for libel after-returning a check with the words “Insufficient Funds” after making an error; The court ruled that, as the case may be, the statement was demonstrably false and damaging to the reputation of the person issuing the check. Even with the use of this revised sentence, the mere implication that the funds were insufficient had been ruled to be libelous in other cases of banks mistakenly refusing to pay checks. [3] [4]

In India, a bounced check is a criminal offense, punishable by fines and / or jail term, under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 . [5] [6] Until January 2013, a bounced check was a criminal offense in the United Arab Emirates that led to imprisonment of the person who wrote it. [7]

Metaphorical use

Martin Luther King used the concept as a metaphor in his I Have a Dream speech. He compared the results of the survey with the results. [8]

Another example is the phrase “Do not let your mouth write a check your ass can not cash.” (Alternatively, “checks” or “body” (instead of “ass”) is used to mean, “Don ‘ t make brash boasts you can not back up, “and originates in urban English, being white attested since the 1960s, [9] though today it’s found more Generally, as in the 1993 movie Dazed and Confused .

See also

  • Bad check restitution program
  • Check fraud
  • ChexSystems


  1. Jump up^ Substitute check marked “not sufficient funds”
  2. Jump up^ Wood, Leslie (2005-06-29). “DA explains consequences of writing bad checks in Gallup” . Independent . Archived from the original on 22 April 2008 . Retrieved 2008-05-09 .
  3. Jump up^ “Bounced checks yield libel damages” . The Independent . 21 July 1992 . Retrieved 2009-09-24 .
  4. Jump up^ Ackland, Richard (6 August 2010). “Checks and free speech get bounced – Aktas v. Westpac” . Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 13 June 2014 .
  5. Jump up^ “THE NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS ACT, 1881 ACT No. 26 OF 1881” . 1881.
  6. Jump up^ “The legal consequences with bounced checks! – Yahho India Finance” .
  7. Jump up^ Clancy, Rebecca (2013-01-01). “UAE stops jailing expats for bounced checks” . The Telegraph . Retrieved 2013-05-22 .
  8. Jump up^
  9. Jump up ,”The Big Apple, February 10, 2010″Jump up ^ “Do not let your mouth write your body can not cash”