Finding out when an online payment clears...

As I just discovered, you apparently can't tell the actual disposition of an online payment [at least not with Wachovia]. I made a payment and it is marked as 'c' [which I thought meant "cleared"]... BUT: the payee called me
to ask about it because they didn't receive payment. So I hopped online and checked my account and I found that it was listed on my account as just:
02/01/2011     Other     AUTOMATED DEBIT ... ONLINE PMT ...
I called Wachovia and learned that they had, in fact, sent a check through the mail and that the check had NOT been cashed ['c' status notwithstanding]. Not annoying that the check went astray [that happens] but that there's [apparently] no way to learn that that's what happened.
What do I do now? I can easily send another check, but what about the first one: it has already been debited from my account, right? So if I just ignore it I'll be out the value of that check, even though the check hasn't been cashed and no one actually _has_ the money. So I guess I'll need to stop payment on the check [which I think costs me $25, which is a pretty expensive USPS foulup..:(]. If I do stop payment on the check, what do I do in Quicken: with the fact of the stop payment show up in a 'download' and so it'll all clean itself up, or will I need to do something more involved?
THANKS! /bernie\
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Bernie Cosell Fantasy Farm Fibers
snipped-for-privacy@fantasyfarm.com Pearisburg, VA
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This is the policy of many banks. You tell them to send a check, and they will debit your account when they cut the check. Delivery via canoe around Cape Horn will then take whatever time it takes. NOT a good method. But don't despair ...
In the far distant past, Citibank guaranteed that the check would be delivered by a certain date. If that did not happen, Citibank would arrange something with the intended payee to make them accept payment as of the intended day. This was almost routine with a certain Long Island water company, long since taken over, and whether it was my insistence or not, they eventually processed their mail more promptly.
Contact Wachovia and ask them politely whether they guarantee payment to arrive at the payee by the intended date. If so, ask them to make good. If not, don't use Wachovia in this manner anymore. I have especially to avoid this stuff authorized most all payees with regular payments to get their money by charging my credit card or from my checking account. That has not as yet misfired, although I had to suspend this a few times for Verizon because they weren't fast enough with refunds of overcharges.
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Best regards
Han
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My primary bank is, actually, my broker, Fidelity Investments. And when I make an online payment, they don't charge my account until the payment actually clears. Doesn't matter if they send it electronically or via slow boat to China. I just tell them what day it has to be there (provided, of course, that I give sufficient lead time for that payment day to be possible, usually 3-4 days lead time).
db
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Wachovia will deal with this if you tell them about it. I've done it in the past.
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You calls Wells Fargo (was Wachovia) and let them know the payment was not received. Per your Bill Pay agreement, they should take responsibility for fixing the problem and reissuing a check if required.
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} } >I called Wachovia and learned that they had, in fact, sent a check through } >the mail and that the check had NOT been cashed ['c' status } >notwithstanding]. Not annoying that the check went astray [that happens] } >but that there's [apparently] no way to learn that that's what happened. } > } >What do I do now? } } You calls Wells Fargo (was Wachovia) and let them know the payment was not } received. Per your Bill Pay agreement, they should take responsibility for } fixing the problem and reissuing a check if required.
Just to followup -- that's what I did and Wachovia was very nice about it. They gave me a bunch of options one of which was "stop payment and reissue the check", and I did that. No charge seems to have shown up, so I guess the 'stop payment' in this case is free. So all's well [although I'm still a little bothered that there's no way to find out that a payment has actually been made -- I can call the guy and confirm that he got the replacement check but I really think they oughta have some way to track that online]
/Bernie\
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Bernie Cosell Fantasy Farm Fibers
snipped-for-privacy@fantasyfarm.com Pearisburg, VA
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Bernie,
How often does this situation occur? I pay almost all of my bills on-line, through Wells Fargo, and in the 6 years that I've been doing this I have never experienced this problem. It would seem to me that the worse that could happen, is that the payee sends you another bill. If that happens, of course, you would follow up with the bank. I'm sure that the banks handle it the way that they do is so that they can play the "float". I hate to be argumentative, but based on my experience this just isn't a big deal.
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Richard

"Bernie Cosell" < snipped-for-privacy@fantasyfarm.com> wrote in message
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I haven't figured out what the check was for. If this was a payment to an individual, I'd say the check got lost, and as the OP is doing, issue a stop payment (which will only incur a charge if the check is presented for payment) and reissue the check.
However if this is a check for a bill (such as from a utility or credit card company that had to be paid within x days to avoid a late charge or more) then Wachovia has to intercede with the payee on behalf of the OP and make good on the check payment before the due date. No ifs or buts about it, and don't let them get away with it. Wachovia or whatever bank playing the float is all good and well, but payment needs to occur as the OP instructed Wachovia to do.
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Best regards
Han
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IIRC, Wachovia's bill pay agreement commits them to pay any late charges caused by late delivery of a payment. I think this is pretty standard.
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I think that it is standard too, but the OP hasn't mentioned anything about that aspect. I wonder whether it is applicable and if so, whether he has mentioned it in his discussions with Wachovia
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Han
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} How often does this situation occur? I pay almost all of my bills on-line, } through Wells Fargo, and in the 6 years that I've been doing this I have } never experienced this problem.
I've experienced it a few times in the near-20-yrs I've used online billpay. But there have been many times when I've wondered if and when a check was cashed.
} ... It would seem to me that the worse that } could happen, is that the payee sends you another bill.
Not always: once my discover payment went awry. That touched off several weeks of screwing around. In the end it was all settled [and Discover cancelled all the late fees and interest and such], but it was still a bother. If I could've seen whether the payment had cleared or not I could've saved me [and probably Wachovia] a bunch of hassle.
/Bernie\
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Bernie Cosell Fantasy Farm Fibers
snipped-for-privacy@fantasyfarm.com Pearisburg, VA
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wrote:

Those are exactly the reasons, Bernie, that I prefer having Payee XYZ charge my credit card or perform a debit off of my checking account. The credit card bank or my checking account bank will then tell me when the payment cleared. Having you bank send a payment should be very similar, but it takes much more time before you have "proof" that the transaction has indeed gone through.
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Han
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Hi, Bernie.

Well, yes, the bank still has your money.

I wouldn't stop payment, and I sure wouldn't pay a fee to do it. Stopping payment on a "lost" check is for the protection of the bank, not for the protection of the payee or myself. If the bank pays my money to someone other than my designated payee, that's the bank's loss, not mine, so stopping the payment protects the bank, not me or the payee.
At least, that's the way it was when I studied negotiable instruments in business law over 50 years ago. Others may have more up-to-date interpretations. But I still wouldn't pay a fee to stop payment on a check that the bank lost. I would certainly notify the bank that the payee didn't receive payment, and demand that the money be returned to my account if the check never shows up, but I wouldn't pay a fee for this.
RC
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R. C. White, CPA
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