BEWARE of Stores using Certegy Check ...

BEWARE of Stores using Certegy Check Approval like Bed, Bath & Beyond

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Tucson, AZ

#1 Oct 30, 2006
I wrote a check for $274 on my bank account which has $112,000 in CASH balance in it, and the check was not accepted by the Bed, Bath & Beyond store in Chandler, AZ by their check verification company "Certegy".

I was given a piece of paper that resembled a Valet Parking ticket explaining that Equifax had turned down my check. No explanation. No opportunity to talk to the Equifax/Certegy person on the phone.

They had to call because Certegy's system had been down all day and so telephoning in the information from all TWO checks they had received that day. Being close to closing time, I simply paid by Credit Card.

When I called the "deadbeat" number on the Equifax ticket, I was informed by a young lady, who I pointed out was younger than the pair of shoes I wear to funerals & weddings, she informed me that they are NOT Equifax.

They are Certigy, and in DIRECT VIOLATION OF THE FAIR CREDIT ACT, that I would NOT be provided a copy of the credit report (if any) that was used to "determine" my check would bounce.

She said that was becaue I had not received a credit turn down and she could not pull up any further information because their system was "down for maintenance". Hmmmmm.

When I pressed her like a rotten tomato, she admitted that CERTEGY's system does not actually verify if you have money in your account when they verify a check.


Yes, you read that correctly. Equifax's check verification service does NOT use their own credit records, or even use their data processing system to access your bank to verify a balance, which has been made possible for ANY vendor using an electronic verification system given last year's Banking Reform Legislation.

No, they have a better way, which is touted on their web site as if they know something everyone else does not:

a computer algorithm.

NOT SIMPLE VERIFICATION YOUR CHECK IS GOOD......"artificial intelligence".

Well, that is a good example of why companies can't manage their way out of a paper bag anymore.

Given the technology readily available today, ANY COMPANY can run a check verification service with one pimply faced geek and a few servers.

But instead, one of the THREE Credit Bureaus, who act like the keeper of the FICO scores, decides to use the least effective method possible....GUESSING!

Michael Horton, Owner
Tucson Design
marvin childers

Falls Church, VA

#2 Nov 28, 2006

m childers
McLean, Va.
Charles deJarnette

Las Vegas, NV

#3 Dec 12, 2006
I was turned down 3 separate times by Certegy because I had 8 checks out which had not cleared their system. Although I have a 20 year history of writing checks without one bouncing. They laid the blaim on Wachovia for not allowing them to access their database. Other merchants who definitely use Certergy include Macy's, Dillard's, Best Buys and Circuit City. I urge everyone to boycott stores using Certergy and contact the management of these stores to inform them of the problems encountered. Charles deJarnette MD, Atlanta, GA
Dennis DeShazo

Mount Airy, GA

#4 Dec 12, 2006
I was just turned down at Sears who also uses Certergy. I spoke with the Certergy rep and was told that my check was declined because I had not written enough checks out of that account. I like the first guy to comment asked them to just call the bank and verify funds available for the transaction. They said they could not because they were a third party and that was illegal. I don't know why any business would want to lose customers over this when the simple thing to do would be to go to electronic funds transfer or what is known as Echeck. It is as good as swiping your debit card except you use the check and us small businesses still have a paper trail to give our accountants. I will not be back at Sears because of this embarrassment.
Dennis DeShazo
Birmingham, AL

Montrose, MO

#5 Dec 13, 2006
In two week I have had the same experience with Certegy at THREE different stores. K-Mart, Helzberg Diamonds and Sally's Beauty Supply. After getting absolutely nowhere with the company, the manager of the beauty supply store informed me that it wasn't my checking number or even my name that was causing the red flags, it has something to do with my DRIVER'S LICSENE. Once she exited out of the screen and entered my social number, my check went right through! The same company had rejected a check from her as well.
The people I spoke with at Certegy were about as helpful as a box of rocks. The "supervisor" that I spoke with kept repeating that "I don't see that you have any negetive feedback. It is just a random thing. If you fill out this Gold Member form and send it back, we will enter you information into our data base; then you won't have this problem anymore." It seems to me I shouldn't have to fill out any form! They already have too much of my information as it is!
As for trying to boycott this company, it seems that everywhere a person goes they are there. Do you realize that one of the biggest credit card companies, Bank of America (which recently took over MBNA)is invovled with this legalized Big Brother group! There are over 200,000 businesses, mortage companies, epayments, credit card companies WORLDWIDE,credit unions, banks, etc., that have "hired" this company?

Jacksonville, FL

#6 Dec 22, 2006
If you have received their "gold application" it is exactly application. You have to fill it out and send a voided check. In the fine print it says that you are authorizing your financial institution to release information regarding your accounts. That means they can call and pretty much ask anything they want about your account.

I do not think I need to fill out any application to a company that is not my bank to write a check...I applied for that priveledge when I opened my account at the bank.
Randy Malcom

Ashburn, VA

#7 Dec 23, 2006
Everything sounds too familar. My check has been turned down at K-Mart, Aeropostle, and a game store called Game Stop. The first time it was declined I called the 800 # they give for Certegy Check services, spoke to someone and was told at that time the problem was within K-mart, they had did some type of random identity theft check on all checks coming through. My checks continued to decline at different stores like every other time I would try and write a check. Within probably a two week period of calling these people after being declined and embarrased at the store, even when sometimes it would say call for verification, the cashier would call to verify and give all the necessary info they needed to prove it was indeed me and not a stole check they would still say denial code 2 , which only means need more info on the check writer. Nothing was making sense, and within this period of thinking ok,,, will I get embarrased today?, each time I called Certegy it was a different reason of why the check was denied. I have heard its a young acct., check numbers were up in the 1000's, you don't have a long enough check history, of course the good one, "keep writing checks until your acct. gets established", even one time they said we needed to go back in the store and write the check for a different amount and it would go through, WHAT!!!!!! Nothing made since and no they could not give me the guidelines they claimed they were going by based on my acct. No one could ever say excatly what the deal was and what guidelines they were going by so I would know if I should try to write a check and take the chance of being embarrased and very very frustrated, or just pay by cash because of the guidelines and I knew it wasnt going to go through. I just had to take that chance. Oh also Goodys Clothing Stores also uses Certegy. This is very frustrating,, what has to be done to get these people out of business??????????
Gail from NJ

Bloomfield, NJ

#8 Jan 4, 2007
Ok. I was glad to see I wasn't the only one. Today I shopped at Walgreen's as I have many other times for years. My mother is in poor helath and we have a checking account together with me listed as POA (power of Attorney). I use her checks to purchase her necessities and pay her bills. The checks have an address with a PO Box from my town, so that the mail for mom goes there and not to my house. I dont want mom's bills linked with my address because they are not my financial responsibility so to speak. Any, go to purchase $116.49 worth of merchandise, with approx.$500 in account (til next Social Serurity check). Was denied by Certegy. Never bounced a check there or at other vendors at all! Was given a ticket with info to call Certegy. Certegy claims I was denied NOT because of financial reasons--they said there was nothing negative listed at all. They claim that something with the account made them think there might be a possible identity theft issue. I was inconvenienced cause now I had to use my money, then make a stop at the bank to cash mom's check to reimburse me. Also, huge line of people staring at me with my 4 year old looking at me like I was a deadbeat. Certegy couldnt tell me what made them afraid of identity theft so all I could think of was that it was our account together with both names or some garbage. I have made purchases for her with this account for years at all sorts of places--never, ever a problem. I still dont understand the whole denial because they kept stating not due to financial issues. Then they said because I called, meanwhile they dont really know if I am who I said I am, but they were more than happy to now upgrade me to VIP status, whatever that means. I basically hung up on them after that, I was so disgusted!!!!!!! If I get turned down at any stores now because of this, not only will I boycott the stores, but I am going to sue them for defamation of character. They have nothing to base anything they did on--no valid reason, just denial! I am going back to the store tomorrow to "chat" with the manager. Do you guys think we can sue?
Denise Washington DC

Woodbridge, VA

#9 Jan 8, 2007
I had the same problem writing a check at Home Depot this past weekend. Even though I wrote another check in the same store one week earlier, this time the check was denied, even though I had almost 30 time (!!!) the amount of the check sitting in the bank account.
I have no interest in filling out a Gold Application to allow me the "privilege" to write a check. I prefer to find a way to challenge this company, which---judging from the numerous postings---is getting away with this.
If anyone has any suggestions on where to start...please chime in.


#10 Jan 9, 2007
NEVER heard of Certegy.....until I was balancing my Mom's checking account. There were two automatic withdrawals (with logical check numbers)made by Automated Check Collections ETC.
I called her bank. They called the contact number, which happened to be Certegy. Certegy could not provide a copy of the checks nor tell them to whom they were written. Rather than risk a dispute with the bank (Wachovia) they offered to refund the money. My Mom is ill and cannot remember to whom those checks, for those amounts, were written (July & October 2006 - I'm a bit behind on banancing her check book). Seeing a list of the Merchants, in the previous complaints, causes me to wonder if I have really caused her a future problem. A big OOPS!!!


#11 Jan 9, 2007
If anyone knows how to get a complete list of the merchants who use this service.....please advise. Thanks.

Agoura Hills, CA

#12 Jan 11, 2007
I had the most embarrassing experience! I had just opened a new checking at a bank I won't any rate, I received notices from Certigy stating I had bounced checks to Albertsons Grocery Store and Radio Shack. I called them and stated I hadn't even got my personal checks in the mail yet. They said "take it up with your bank" I called my financial institution and they were kind enough to see my side and issued Affidavits for fraud. I faxed those to Certigy, as instructed by them. I assumed everything was clear, I opened a new account with my bank, and the letters stopped. I went to write a check to Albertsons myself and they would't accept it due to me being in the system! I again explained the situation to Certigy, and they REFUSED to take me out of their system regardless of my affidavits!!!!! I was transferred to the Fraudulant department, back to customer service and so on. I don't know what else to do other than turn Certigy into Consumer Affairs and file a complaint. Can any else advise me as to any other action to take???

Agoura Hills, CA

#13 Jan 11, 2007
I had the most embarrassing experience! I had just opened a new checking at a bank I won't any rate, I received notices from Certigy stating I had bounced checks to Albertsons Grocery Store and Radio Shack. I called them and stated I hadn't even got my personal checks in the mail yet. They said "take it up with your bank" I called my financial institution and they were kind enough to see my side and issued Affidavits for fraud. I faxed those to Certigy, as instructed by them. I assumed everything was clear, I opened a new account with my bank, and the letters stopped. I went to write a check to Albertsons myself and they would't accept it due to me being in the system! I again explained the situation to Certigy, and they REFUSED to take me out of their system regardless of my affidavits!!!!! I was transferred to the Fraudulant department, back to customer service and so on. I don't know what else to do other than turn Certigy into Consumer Affairs and file a complaint. Can any else advise me as to any other action to take???

Showing posts 1 - 12 of 12

Struthers, OH

#14 Jan 15, 2007
I wrote a check at Walgreens yesterday and was declined by Certigy even though I had 100x's the amount of the check I wrote in my checking account. I wrote two other checks that day at nationally known retailres without a problem. I am awaiting a new debit card because of possible fraudulant activity on my old one. I was embarrased at Walgreen's I have no other means to pay for purchases other than a check until my new debit card comes. Who are these idiot people who determine, at a whim, if one has enough money in one's account without having accsess to it???
Carol - Sugar Land Tx

Sugar Land, TX

#15 Jan 15, 2007
On friday I wrote a check to walgreens and was denied by Certegy check services. I called their number and first I was told that they had no returned checks filed on me and that my check fell outside of their approval guidelines. I argued with them about having money in my checking account and writing checks at this same walgreens for years without any problems. Then the young lady at Certegy told me that wasn't true because on their computer it showed that I had a check written in December that was turned down. She also went on to say that I had no history of any check writing with walgreens since May of 2006. I told her i could provide copies of over 40 checks written since May at the same Walgreen store and I had no problems. I asked for her manager and he suggested I fill out some Gold application. The manager kept asking me about checks that i wrote at Petsmart and Garden Ridge which i didn't know I had a problem. They all went through ok. I told them somehow they have targeted me and I wanted off their list. I don't know what route to take but after reading all of these comments I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

Belle Vernon, PA

#16 Jan 16, 2007
I just got off the phone with staples about my husband's check for $74.00 that CERTEGY (what does that mean?)said was no good. He has about $30,000 in that account. STAPLES was no help at first, but I'm waiting for a call. Hope it takes care of issue or my husband is going to sue for 'pain and suffering'. OH YEAH...

Broadview Heights, OH

#17 Jan 16, 2007
I also had the same problem with Certegy. I was buying new tires for my car at NTB last week and my check was denied as a "code 2". When I called the 1-800 number, I was told the amount was too "risky" to approve and I didn't have a check history with their "system" in the past 18 months to approve the check.

I have never written a bad check nor have I ever been denied the right to pay by check before and they could see that. I wanted them to verify the money in my bank account and they said they couldn't do that. I had almost three times the amount of the check in my bank account. There was absolutley no reason for the denial.

They said they were denying the check based on the risk of fraud because I haven't used my bank account at any of their retailers in the past 18 months. When I asked for examples of their retailers, they gave me Target and Sears. I know I have used my bank account at those retailers and the other retailers such as Kohls, Walgreens, NTB, Bed Bath and Beyond, and The Home Depot on numerous occasions in the past 18 months.

This is most embarassing thing I have ever went through. I felt like the people at NTB thought I was the biggest crimminal out there because my check was denied. I am a very financially responsible person and I have never been so humiliated in my life. I am afraid to use my bank account for the fear and humiliation of being denied again. I also hate the fact that I was forced to pay for my purchase by credit card. If I wanted to charge the tires, I would have purchased them a couple months ago. Instead, I waited until I had more than enough money to pay for them by check with the money in my checking account.

After spending 40 mins on the phone with the customer service rep and her manager at Certegy, I got nothing but frustrating vague answers to my questions. They gave me the bull about the Gold status application too. I did some research and the Boston Globe previously did an article about Certegy which can be found at


The article states:
Certegy Gold applicants have to provide detailed information about themselves, their employers, and their bank, including a voided check. Gold status doesn't cost anything, but members agree to pay a service fee to Certegy each time they write a "dishonored check."

Why do I have to provide them with all the information my Financial Institution already has on file? What would happen if someone would hack into their system? I'm sorry, but the less people that have access to my personal information, the better. Another red flag was the agreement to pay a service fee to Certegy each time a check is dishonored. Hello? Why would I want to give them approval to charge me service fee whenever they decide to "dishonor" my next check? They are the one's that decide to honor or dishonor checks and that's money in their pocket at my expense.

This is a disgusting form of discrimination and it needs to stop.
T Anderson

United States

#18 Jan 27, 2007
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO AMERICA! Just over an hour ago the same thing happened to my husband and I. We wrote a check for groceries at Piggly Wiggly and the $63 check was denied by Certegy. We do not write checks there often but since my husband recently reported his debit card lost and we have not yet received the replacement, we wrote the check.
Although Piggly Wiggly honored the check and we were allowed to bring our groceries home (suspicious in itself, leading us to believe this has happened there to honest patrons before), my husband was petrified all the way home that somehow our bank account (which is substantial) was totally deplet (he has overdraft protection).
We were given a card with Certegy's number on it and a list of information to have availiable to give Certegy when calling. We were also not willing to give out this information (no one should give out this information!) which is all anyone needs to take your identity or your bank account. We called our bank instead who reassured my husband that his funds were secure.
This alleviated our inital trauma but now we were furious!
We called Piggly Wiggly to find out if their use of Certegy was new. It was not. I told the manager that due to the embarrassment, anxiety, and inconvienence, I could not see even spending cash at Piggly Wiggly anymore. We live in a small town and everyone knows each other if only by sight. In a small town, your reputation is everything.
We are all for a class-action suit against this service (?). Who they are serving, I don't know. I do know this, Amerca should NOT PAY TO BE TREATED BADLY! This is a philosophy I stick to. Our money is hard-earned enough. We have refused to patronize 2 gas stations in our area who are not courteous at all and although they were decent enough to honor our check, Piggly Wiggly will be added to the list (I don't shop at Wal-Mart anyway, for other reasons).
I don't know what is happening to our country, the deck is really stacked against us. I do believe that only WE can change the things destroying our way of life. If enough people boycott the stores that use Certegy, Certegy will go out of business or begin to use realistic policies.
I am compiling a list of stores/vendors who use Certegy and others should do the same to post here (and everywhere else we can). I am told some stores post the Certegy sign on their door or windows while many others do not. Ask, before you shop and hold tight to your money if the store uses Certegy

Monroe, NC

#19 Feb 7, 2007
fyi TJ MAXX uses certegy
Will Bailey

New York, NY

#20 Feb 9, 2007
Certegy reimburses the store if they approve a check and it turns out to be no good. In order to do this, they only approve checks that they think are good. It doesn't matter if it looks like you have money in your account because the check can be a fake and they would have to cover that cost. You can have $1,000,000 in your account, but if I'm a crook who submits a check with your bank account number for $200, it's a worthless check and Certegy would have to cover the store's losses if they approved the check. Therefore, they don't approve any checks unless they feel they are good.

Usually, any check under $50 is not worth the approval process so the store will accept that no matter what. Anything more is too risky. The stores decide if they want to accept your check without the Certegy guarantee, but most will not.

If Certegy is declining your checks, it's best to put your checks away and switch to credit cards.(not debit cards.)

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