DEFINITION of 'Substitute Check'

A paper reproduction of a check that is copied electronically. Strict guidelines exists regarding the requirements that must be met for the creation of a substitute check, because the substitute can be legally used in any manner in which the original check could function. Typically, substitute checks are often slightly larger and include pictures of the original check's front and back as well as text declaring that the check is a legal copy.

BREAKING DOWN 'Substitute Check'

As a result of the Check Clearing For the 21st Century Act, banks have started to create electronic copies of paper checks to cut costs and speed up check processing times. But depending on the specific bank involved, consumers may not necessarily be able to get their check back for record-keeping purposes. In some instances, consumers can ask their banks to provide substitute checks for proof of purchase purposes (such as for tax-related purposes).

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