What is a 'Rubber Check'

A rubber check is another name for a bounced check. Rubber check is a slang term used for a written check that does not have the funds available to be deemed good; it has a humorous connotation. A rubber check cannot be processed because the writer either (a) has insufficient funds in the account, which the check is drawn, or (b) has placed a stop payment or cancellation on the check, making it impossible for the check holder to cash the check.

BREAKING DOWN 'Rubber Check'

It is not a crime to inadvertently write a check that cannot be processed due to insufficient funds or a later stop payment order. When a check bounces for insufficient funds, the writer of the check will face civil penalties. These include bank overdraft fees ranging from $20 to $40 per bounced check. Many banks offer overdraft protection, which allows customers to avoid overdraft fees, and also allows for the payment of rubber checks.

When a check bounces because of insufficient funds, the payee of the check may also impose additional fees or fines on the writer of the check. This is done to recoup any fines the payee incurs by trying to cash a rubber check. In some cases, if the writer of a rubber check realizes that the check is going to bounce before it cashes, or before it clears his or her bank, the check writer can mitigate these additional fees by notifying the payee of the check’s potential to bounce. The payor should then deposit funds to cover the rubber check into his or her bank account right away.

If a check bounces due to a cancellation or stop payment order, the writer of the check may or may not incur civil penalties. Often, stop-payment orders or cancellation of checks is done when a check is lost or stolen, or written in error. In these cases, the writer of the check may simply issue another check as needed.

Rubber checks are catalogued in databases such as TeleCheck and ChexSystems. Individuals who write too many rubber checks may find that merchants start turning down their checks. Banks may also choose to close a checking account due to too many rubber checks.

Criminal Penalties for Rubber Checks

It is a crime to knowingly write rubber checks. While occasionally writing a rubber check probably won’t lead to criminal charges, habitually doing so can lead to felony check fraud charges, especially if the rubber checks in question are sizeable.

  1. Bad Check

    A bad check is a check drawn on a nonexistent account or on an ...
  2. Check

    A check is a written, dated, and signed instrument that contains ...
  3. Certified Check

    A certified check is a type of check for which the issuing bank ...
  4. Positive Pay

    Positive pay is a banking service used to match the checks a ...
  5. Electronic Check

    An electronic check is a form of payment made via the internet ...
  6. Cashier's Check

    A cashier's check is a check written by a financial institution ...
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    How to Cancel a Check

    If you've had a personal check lost or stolen, the next best step is to cancel the check by calling your bank and putting a stop payment on the check.
  2. Managing Wealth

    Top Premium Checking Accounts of 2015

    Which banks offer the best deals for premium checking accounts – and what do you have to do to qualify for one?
  3. Small Business

    How To Do a Background Check on Prospective Employees

    Discover why background checks can be extremely costly, tips for small businesses conducting checks on a budget and if professional checks can be avoided.
  4. Personal Finance

    How to Write a Check

    Our simple step by step guide for How to Write a Check, for all of you who have never had to pay the old school way.
  5. Investing

    Check Point Software Reports Strong Q1 Earnings

    Already near its 52-week high, Check Point Software (NASDAQ: CHKP) stock could be poised for another strong run in the wake of its impressive first-quarter earnings report. After it announced ...
  6. Tech

    5 Useless Financial Products That Will Disappear Soon

    Bank deposit slip: what's that? Everyday tools of our financial life that went from indispensable to obsolete.
  7. Investing

    The Best Small Business Checking Accounts in 2016

    Accounts with big banks offer frills, such as mobile and text-based banking – but for small businesses, local banks and credit unions can save money.
  8. Personal Finance

    Bank Account Tips For Young People

    If you’re just getting started with managing your own bank account, these tips will show you how to do it right.
  1. How does bouncing a check affect my credit score?

    Learn the many indirect effects on your credit score when you bounce a check. Read Answer >>
  2. What US banks offer free checking accounts?

    Quit wasting money on monthly fees associated with your checking account and get a free checking account from reputable national ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center