J.’s debit card has a limit on how many transactions he can use it for in a day, so he often kicks it like it’s 1993 and writes checks for things. This isn’t normally a problem, but it is at Target, where their third-party check verification service, Certegy, is incorrectly convinced that he’s been writing bad checks. Fine, he dealt with Certegy, but still can’t write checks. Why? Target’s internal check verification department says so. He won’t be able to pay that way until he has a history of successful check writing at Target. What’s wrong with this picture?
I realize in this day and age checks are outdated, but my bank puts a limit on how many in-person transactions I can make on my debit card before a flag is put up and my spending is frozen.
I went into Target 2 weeks ago to make a purchase of around $300 and decided to use a check. To my surprise, the check was refused. Fortunately I’m not easily embarrassed. I was told Target had no control over the situation and the refusal was by Certegy, the company they use to determine if checks should be accepted.
There’s plenty of info out there on how companies like Certegy work, so I’m not going to go into detail. I called their customer service number and was told there was an old joint bank account associated with my driver’s license number that had bad checks attached to it. As I’ve never had a joint bank account before, I protested. They said it was likely due to clerical error and that they would disassociate my ID from the account.
A week later I got a letter in the mail from Certegy explaining they had done just as promised. At this point I was fuming and decided to go back to Target and attempt to write a check again, just because I wanted to see if things were truly fixed. I was once again refused. THIS TIME, I was refused by Target’s own in-house check authorization services!
A call to the number on the back (800-827-4381) confirmed that this was an internal department at Target that had no association with Certegy (allegedly.) This time I was told that Target’s own authorization department had refused the check based on a lack of check writing history at Target!
So basically Target is utilizing a double whammy of authorization checks to determine if they will take your check. And if you haven’t already been writing good checks at Target, you’re screwed, because you can’t start writing good checks at Target unless you already have a history of doing it.