Using Checks in Israel – The Danger
By watching this short video dated March 2021, , you can learn what you must not do when you write a check This is a very simple explanation about writing a check but it could save you a very complicated court case
One of the disadvantages of using a check is the ability of the person holding your check (the person to whom you gave the check to in the very beginning) to pass on the check to a “third party” (this could be anyone).
For this reason, you should not leave open the payee’s name when writing a check (i.e., the American practice known as writing a “blank check”). If a product was bought and paid for by check, and for any reason you would like to cancel the purchase (such as in the case that the product was not supplied to you), you may find that the business owner has already passed the check to someone else – a third party you don’t know.
It is important to know also that even if you indeed wrote the name of the payee on the check, this still does not ensure that the payee cannot pass along your check because a check is a negotiable document that can be transferred by the registered payee to another person and all it takes is the payee`s signature on the back of the check. In this case, if you cancel the check, there may be a legal issue, since the person who is holding the check legally obtained it.
You should know that in this context, that the third party, who may be entitled to payment of the check, could also be a bank where the person who received the check deposited it. For example, if the depositor`s account is in an overdraft, the bank will demand the amount of the check from you (who drew the check) even if, as stated, after drawing the check you have not received anything in return.
Preventing Checks from being Transferred to a Third Party
Technically you can prevent a check from being transferred to a third party by simply writing on the top of the check the words: “Not negotiable” and also making the check out to the exact name of the payee followed by the word “only” or “bilevad” in Hebrew. Alternatively, you can delete the word “payable” (do this in English and also in Hebrew “lefukdat”) and replace it with the word only” or “bilevad” after the name of the payee.
This will prevent the person who originally received your check from passing it or transferring it to a third party. If the check is transferred to a third party without your consent, this will have no meaning, and that third party cannot sue those who had drawn the check even if the check was cancelled by you.
To Cash a Check or Have it “Crossed”
The withdrawal of a check always rests with the bank (don’t count only on that). That is, if someone found a check or forged the signature and the bank paid him, then it is the full responsibility of the bank.
Whoever has received your check without a “cross” (two parallel lines), can draw the amount of the check in cash through the bank branch using his ID.
You can order from your bank checks limiting transfer (crossed) printed on them in advance with no extra cost.
In checks such as the pre-crossed one, no changes can be made (can’t be corrected – just write a new check), except changes in the date or in the amount. If changes were made anyway, beyond the date or amount, the bank must refuse to receive the deposit or to pay the check.
How Long is a Check Valid?
In general, a check must be deposited or cashed within six months from the date specified on it. There are specific checks such as those provided by the insurance companies and corporations with a limited time for deposit (generally two months) that are used for security reasons and beyond this period the paying bank may return overdue checks.
Checks – Stopping, Canceling, Bouncing
In general, canceling a check is a criminal act! Remember that.
You may cancel a check by sending a written message to your bank (please include as many details of the check as you can). The bank will charge a high fee for the cancellation and your request must be given to the bank at the latest by the first banking business day following the day when the bank clerk paid the check at the receiver`s bank, provided that your bank had not actually paid the check already. The bank is committed to comply with the client who cancels a check.
Pursuant to the Banking of Israel Supervision Department, the bank who paid a check in violation of cancellation must return the amount to the client`s account. However, the bank shall be entitled to take legal proceedings to be determined to whom the bank should legally pay, the payee or the customer who drew the check.
If legal proceedings determined that the check was canceled illegally, the bank will be entitled to charge the customer.
Bouncing checks can lead to your account being flagged as a limited bank account – an account that has had 10 checks or more bounced (because the account owner didn’t have enough money to cover them, but not because of technical problems) during a period of 12 months. This restriction (Limited bank account) applies not only to the account but to you as well; therefore, any other bank account you may have will also be restricted. This restriction (called “mugbalut” in Hebrew) is immediately reported to the central bank (Bank of Israel).
Finally, you must be aware that here, in Israel, thousands of checks are bounced every day. Storeowners are usually very wary of receiving personal checks.
So should you!