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Hawaii & American Samoa
1-888-643-3888

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1-877-553-2424

Palau
1-680-488-3338

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Customer Service

Electronic Check Images (Check 21)

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How did Check 21 come about?

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 brought the check clearing process to a virtual halt in the U.S. On October 28, 2003, Congress passed into law Check 21 which encourages banks to use electronic check images or substitute checks in place of paper checks for the check clearance and settlement process. Check 21 is expected to improve the efficiency of our nation’s payment system.

What does the “21” in Check 21 stand for?

The “21” refers to the 21st century. The official name of Check 21 is the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act.

Under Check 21, will I be getting back my cancelled checks?

In some cases, you may not receive your original cancelled checks. If you receive cancelled checks with your monthly checking account statements, some of the checks returned to you may be substitute checks, after October 28, 2004.

Even if I may not be able to get my original cancelled checks back, where are they?

Typically, original cancelled checks are destroyed once digital images of them are made. There are no requirements governing the retention of original checks.

What if I want to receive a copy of my cancelled check?

To request a copy of an item that posted to your account, including a cancelled check or substitute check, call Bankoh by Phone:

  • State of Hawaii: 1-888-643-3888 (TTY for the hearing impaired: 1-888-643-9888)
  • Guam and Saipan: 1-877-553-2424
  • American Samoa: Dial 633-2872 then 1-888-643-3888
  • Palau (Koror Branch): (680) 488-2602 during business hours Or you may stop by any Bank of Hawaii branch to make your request. In response, we will mail you a copy of the item that posted to your account. Fees may apply for the copy of the item

What does a substitute check actually look like?

The substitute check is about the size of a business check, which is a little larger than a standard consumer check. As a paper reproduction, it contains the same information that appears on the front and back of the original check, including all endorsements that have been applied as the check has gone through the clearance system. The substitute check also contains special identifiers and a statement indicating that it is a legal copy of the original check.

Are there other ways I might receive a substitute check other than in my Bank of Hawaii checking account statement?

Yes. You might receive a substitute check as a return item. For example, if someone writes you a check and you deposit it into your Bank of Hawaii savings account, but the check writer has insufficient funds to cover the check, you may receive a substitute check in the mail as a not-sufficient funds return item.

What should I do if I think there’s an error involving a substitute check?

Check 21 provides a mechanism for some consumers to receive expedited recredit for disputes involving substitute checks. This will apply to consumers who currently receive checks in their statements. The notification that Bank of Hawaii checking account holders will receive in their statements beginning in September 2004 will address expedited recredit for consumers.

How will Check 21 affect my Bank of Hawaii Visa® Check Card (debit card) payments?

Your Bank of Hawaii Visa® Check Card transactions are debited directly from your Bank of Hawaii checking account each time you use it to make a purchase. Because you are not writing a check, no check is generated, so substitute checks do not apply.

What will Bank of Hawaii do to comply with Check 21?

We will do the following:

  • Bank of Hawaii will accept substitute checks from other financial institutions.
  • We will provide customer awareness regarding Check 21 and substitute checks.
  • We will, under specific circumstances, be prepared to provide an expedited recredit to qualified consumer accounts that claim a loss due to the receipt of a substitute check.
  • We will accept substitute checks if they are redeposits of return items or encashment of return items.