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Returned Checks

Question Answer

How quickly will funds be deducted from my account for a check or ACH transaction?

Transfer of funds from your checking account will occur within 24 hours. Therefore, you should ensure you have sufficient funds in your account to process the transaction.

Question Answer

What happens if I don't have enough money in my account to cover the check?

If your check or ACH transaction does not clear because of insufficient funds, the transaction will be presented to your bank again, up to two more times, on consecutive military paydays. Because of this process, it may take up to 45 days for a check to clear. However, penalties are involved as well.

Question Answer

What are the penalties for dishonored checks?

Check writing and check cashing privileges will be suspended as follows:

First Offense: Privilege is suspended for 45 days from the day the check is first returned as dishonored. Checks not paid during this 45-day period will be forwarded to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) for collection and will remain in the negative check database indefinitely. Suspension begins from time of first presentment.

Second Offense:Privileges will be suspended for one year.

Third Offense:Privileges will be suspended indefinitely. After privileges have been suspended for one year, the accounting director may approve restoration of privileges. However, all returned checks and associated fees must be paid before privileges are restored.



Can I pay for a returned check at the commissary?

No. Payment for returned checks cannot be accepted by the commissary.

Question Answer

How can I tell if I am on the bad check list?

DeCA uses the term "negative check file." Simply ask the commissary's customer service department to make an inquiry into the system, or call the RCM toll-free number, 1-866-893-5015.

Question Answer

What if my account does not have sufficient funds to cover the check on the first collection attempt?

If the first electronic collection attempt on military payday fails, a second attempt will occur on the next military payday. Presentation dates cannot be altered. If the second attempt fails, DFAS-Columbus (Ohio), will start collection action. Check writing privileges are suspended until collection is resolved. 



What happens if I write a check on a closed account or have to stop payment on a check?

Checks returned due to a closed account or stop payment notice will be forwarded to DFAS-Columbus for collection. DFAS will then attempt to collect the face value of the check, plus a $25.00 DeCA administrative fee and a $15.00 DFAS fee. Questions may be addressed to the customer service liaison at 1-866-893-5015. Check writing privileges are suspended until collection is resolved.  

Question Answer

If my bank causes the error, how do I recover the $25.00 administrative fee and get off of the negative check list?

In the event of a bank error, DeCA will follow the standard commercial banking practice, which requires you, the customer, to recover the $25.00 administrative fee from your bank. In the event of a documented bank error, DeCA HQ /RCM will remove your Social Security number from the negative check database upon receiving bank notification. It is your responsibility to obtain and provide the bank notification, which must contain your name, full account number, bank routing number and check number. The information can be faxed to DeCA HQ/RCM at (804) 734-8009, ext. 72798; or sent by email to

Question Answer

Who can I call at the Defense Commissary Agency if I have questions on the status of my account?

Questions about the program and the collection process for returned checks should be addressed to DeCA's Customer Service Liaison Team. You can reach the team by telephone, toll-free, at 1-866-893-5015; or by email at The hours for DeCA HQ/RCM are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (ET), Monday – Friday.   

If you received a letter from DFAS or need information concerning a check deduction on your leave and earnings statement, contact DFAS directly at

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