Sunday, January 17, 2010

Much interest in a small machine.

Just noticed today on my way home from my sister and family's home in the south part of town, that a new ATM machine has been placed on the sidewalk in front of the new Leoti Liquor Store! I found that I am not the only person to have observed it there. It seems to be the big news in Leoti today! Now, Leoti has THREE machines!!! One at Western State Bank, one at K-Store that actually belongs to Security State Bank and the one at the liquor store. Leoti is moving right on up!!! Not long ago, people in Wichita County could only get cash from the banks when they were open or cash a check at the grocery store.

Speaking of checks, I am the Wichita Credit Bureau's court reporter of Wichita and Scott Counties. Over the past couple of years, I have noticed an increasing number of bad checks written to businesses, etc. I assume that the poor state of the economy is partially to blame. Other people just continue to write checks even when they are aware of the fact that there is an insufficient amount of money in their checking accounts to cover the check. The majority of the bad checks are written to grocery stores and liquor stores in this area. I understand that purchasing food is one thing but liquor is completely different.

When I first started my reporting, I saw a considerable amount of bad checks that had been issued to Wal-Mart. That came to a screaching halt when Wal-Mart changed their check cashing procedures. Now, when you write an insufficient check to them, the clerk at the check-out stand knows immediately because the cash register sends a message to her telling her that there is not enough money in the checking account to cover the purchases. At that point, the customer must present cash or credit cards to cover their purchases or leave the merchandise in the store.

I believe that checks will become a thing of the past before much longer. More and more people are choosing to use debit cards instead of writing checks or carrying cash. We are such people. Everything is so much more convenient with them. We no longer see our paychecks. Our employers automatically transfer our pay"checks" from their bank accounts into ours. So convenient and less time-consuming.

So what happens when checks are returned to the company that they were given to? Well, the company sends a notice to the check writer and notifies them that their check was returned unpaid. Most of those companies automatically add $30.00 or so to the face value of the check. That extra money covers the expenses that the company had to put out because of the check. I think that most businesses allow the checkwriter 2 weeks to 30 days for the check writer to deliver cash or money orders for the total amount of money owed to the business. Most people take care of those in that time period. However, for what ever reasons, some people do not pick up their worthless checks in the allotted time period. When that happens, the business has full right to turn the bad check over to the court system to collect the money for them.

Recently, I was told that once that happens, the check writer can assume that he/she will be paying approximately $500.00 PLUS the face value of the check to the courts. That money is used to pay all of the other charges incurred by the court officials to collect the money. A person would think that once they had had to do that, the person would make sure that he/she never allowed another bad check to make it to the court system.

That is not always the case. I remember processing a check one time on a person who had written an insufficient check for $3.00 to a local business. He/she never picked it up so the business' representatives turned it over to the courts. Can you imagine having to pay approcimately $503. 00 for a $3.00 check??? Unfortunately, that did not stop the checkwriter's bad check writing. Since then, I have processed SIX more bad checks that he/she wrote.

Anyway, Leotians can now boast that we have three ATMs to choose from!


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