Payment by check
Verified 12 January 2023 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)
Want to pay for your purchases by check? To be valid, this means of payment must comply with certain rules. Writing, validity period, conditions of use: here is the information to know to pay by check.
Your account agreement must indicate that you can use the check as a means of payment.
A bank may refuse to issue you a checkbook. She has to give you the reasons for that refusal.
You can request checkbooks on your bank's online application. You can also do it at your bank counter.
You can request to receive the checkbook at home by simple mail or by registered mail. You can also ask to pick it up at your bank counter.
Checkbook renewal can be done automatically.
Checkbooks are available free of charge.
The check must comply with the following formal rules:
- You must not leave blank before or after the amount is entered
- The sum must be entered in figures and letters. If the entries do not match, the sum in letters is used.
- Beneficiary name must be legible
- The signature must conform to the model known by the banking institution
- The check must specify the place of payment and the date of writing. If you do not provide this information or if you mention a false date, you risk a fine equal to 6% the amount of the check, with a minimum of €0.75.
there is no maximum amount set by regulation to issue a check.
The period of validity of a check is 1 year and 8 days. After this period, the beneficiary can no longer cash it in his bank account.
To be able to cash the check, the payee must endorse it, that is, sign it on the back, and hand it over to a bank before this deadline.
Your account is debited at check cashing.
Video: Can a merchant refuse payment by check?
Vidéo - Can a merchant refuse payment by check?
Conversation with friends, via SMS:
- So what was that restaurant like?
- I couldn't go... Bank card forgotten at work and no cash on me.
- Oh my God, but you could have paid by check! The traders are obliged to accept them.
Received wisdom: "A merchant cannot refuse payment by check"
Expert answer: It's a received wisdom!
A merchant has every right to refuse payment by check. It may also require a minimum or maximum amount to accept checks.
To do this, he must inform his customers by clearly displaying in the store a statement of the type "checks are not accepted".
And if the purchase is made via the Internet, this information must appear in the general conditions of sale.
On the other hand, the regulations are somewhat different if the merchant has chosen to entrust the accounting and financial management of his company to an authorized management center (CGA).
In this case, the merchant is obliged to accept one of the two means of payment: either the bank card or the check.
He can thus refuse you payment by check provided that he authorizes payment by card.
The member merchant can also refuse payment by check in 3 specific cases.
First, for small sales that are usually paid in cash, such as the sale of a loaf of bread.
Secondly, where professional regulations require cash payments. This is the case for the sale of gambling in tobacco offices.
Finally, when the cost of cashing the check is very high compared to the amount of the transaction. Here we can imagine a small check from a foreign bank.
Know that you can easily find out if your merchant is a CGA member. This information must be displayed in-store and on the company's business documents such as quotes and invoices.
Finally, note that to accept your check, a merchant can ask to show your ID.
- A merchant may refuse payment by check or require a minimum or maximum amount.
- It must inform customers by a visible display in store or in the general conditions of sale.
- A merchant belonging to an authorized management center may refuse payment by check if he authorizes payment by credit card.
- A merchant may require the presentation of your ID to accept your check.
A merchant may refuse payment by check. He must inform the clientele.
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A trader may refuse payment by check or require a minimum or maximum amount provided that he has clearly informed his customers.
This information is provided by means of a display or in its general conditions of sale with a statement of the type:
- Checks are not accepted
- Checks are only accepted from...
- Checks are accepted until...
Merchant that is a member of an authorized management center
Shopkeepers who belong to an authorized management center must accept at least one of the two methods of payment: the credit card or the check.
For example, they can refuse payment by check if they have chosen only payment by credit card.
They must inform customers of the means of payment accepted. The information shall be communicated as follows:
- By poster. It must be affixed in rooms intended to receive customers and in vehicles where sales or services are carried out and must be able to be read without difficulty.
- In correspondence and on business documents sent or given to customers (letterhead, invoices, quotes, etc.).
3 types of mention are possible depending on the payment method accepted:
- "Accepting payment of sums due by checks drawn up in his name in his capacity as a member of a management center approved by the tax authorities"
- "Accepting payment of sums due by credit card in his capacity as a member of a management center authorized by the tax authorities"
- "Accepting payment of sums due by checks drawn up in his name and by credit card in his capacity as a member of a management center approved by the tax authorities"
Members of authorized management centers may also refuse payments by check (or by credit card) in the following 3 cases:
- Small sales that are usually settled in cash
- Professional regulation that imposes cash payments
- Very high cashing costs compared to the amount of the transaction (e.g. low amount check from a foreign bank).
A merchant may require your identification to accept a check.
You can use your checkbook in euros in the euro area only if the merchant accepts it.
Your bank may charge you a fee.
These costs vary from one establishment to another.
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