The Consumer and the Checking Account Fairness (CCAF) Act

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The Consumer and the Checking Account Fairness (CCAF) Act Near the end of 2004, the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21) went into effect, bringing with it mixed opinions on what consumers and bankers alike could expect. The now law dealt with the exchange of digitized checks opposed to physical checks, and decreased processing time drastically. The belief among many circles was that checks would begin to bounce en masse, and that the consumer would be impacted in a drastic way. This paper touches on the underlying subject of the “float” as well as subsequent legislation entitled the Consumer Checking Account Fairness Act (CCAF) that addresses imperfections in Check 21. We will offer information on both acts and show how we as the consumer can expect to be affected. The Float Ventureline.com defines the term “float” as being “the time between the deposit of checks in a bank and when the amount is truly accessible” (2005). This term, although unfamiliar to some, represents a time honored practice that virtually everyone, of any age, has become familiar with. With respect to our personal finances, a float is used to buy the consumer time before funds must be withdrawn from an account. It is advantageous to use from the standpoint of cash flow, as funds might not be available immediately to cover a check, but are expected. This gives the consumer a small amount of leeway in writing checks, as the float may afford the consumer several days before they must cover a check. In a business setting, things are a bit different. There are still advantages that can be realized from a cash flow standpoint, however the float is more of a tool than a resource for the business, and corporate use of the float has revolved more around profit than prevention. In every business, or household for that matter, there will always be two separate balances for cash. The first refers to the actual recorded amount on the corporate books, while the second is represented by the balance that the bank shows. The difference between these figures, or the float, means that a business can take advantage of short term cash to use for other means. For example, if a company writes $1,000 worth of checks to vendors and receives $1,000 from customers, there would be no difference in what the ... ... middle of paper ... ...ve known it, is on life support. Check 21 may not have been designed for the purpose of eliminating float time, but it most certainly has achieved this as a by-product. It remains a mystery as to how much longer it will be before banks are able to spend the money to fully integrate with what has come to be known as IRD’s, or image replacement documents. So in the meantime, depending upon whom you bank with, or the size of the check you write, may dictate whether or not your documents are electronically sent. One thing that is certain, the advantage has now swung in the direction of the banking center, and only time will tell whether or not there will be relief under CCAF. References Bankston, Karen, Still Got Float, Credit Union Management; Jan2005 Sisk, Michael, It's Time for a Reality Check on Check 21, Bank Technology News; Jan2005 Retrieved Apr 25, 2005 from www.ventureline.com/glossary Schneider, Ivan, Cut the Fee or Wait and See?, Bank Systems & Technology, 2005, CMP media LLC. Retrieved April 26, 2005 from: www.banktech.com Schneider, Ivan, The Flap Over The Float, Bank Systems & Technology, 2005, CMP media LLC. Retrieved April 26, 2005 from: www.banktech.com

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