Making sure funds are available for a check that you received can help you avoid bank fees from a bounced check. Citibank offers verification services for checks written from its accounts. However, the bank cannot guarantee that the check will clear before it is deposited and processed.
Visit a Citibank Branch
To verify a check written by a Citibank account holder, you must go into a physical branch and speak with a teller. Citibank checks account balances in person and will not verify a check over the phone or through any online services, such as email. Take the check into the bank and present it to the teller. Be prepared to verify your identity as the check payee by showing the teller a valid form of government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's license or a passport.
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If you aren't familiar with the branch you plan to visit, call ahead of time to find out when tellers are available. Depending on the branch, you may need to make an appointment to speak with a banker instead.
Verify Available Funds
The teller will only be able to tell you if the check writer's bank account has enough funds to cover the check at that very moment. She cannot guarantee that the funds will still be available by the time the check is deposited and processed. Additionally, the teller will not reveal any personal information about the payer's account, such as the overall balance. She will simply let you know if the available funds will or will not cover the check at that specific time. If you do not present the check to be cashed at the bank, you should be aware that the funds may not be in the account when you finally get around to depositing the check into one of your own accounts.
One way to prevent this from happening is cashing the check while you are at the Citibank branch. You may not need your own Citibank account to cash a check written from the payer's Citibank account. Ask the teller if he can cash the check for you. According to U.S. News & World Report, there is no fee to cash a check made out to someone who is not an account holder if the check is for less than $5,000. One thing to consider, however, is that you may have to take the funds in cash: If carrying a lot of cash out of the bank concerns you, ask the teller if they can provide you with the funds in the form of a money order or cashier's check.
Be Aware of Check Fraud
If you receive a Citibank check that seems suspicious, take the time to verify it. The Federal Trade Commission warns that fraudulent check schemes can come about in numerous ways, but one common trait is that you will be asked to deposit the check and then wire some or all of the funds back to the sender. By the time the original check bounces, your money will be long gone and not recoverable. Take any check that you receive in an odd or distrustful way to a Citibank branch for verification.
Beware that you are responsible for the checks that you deposit into your account. Even if you verify a check with Citibank, if the check bounces or is fraudulent, you will likely be responsible for any fees related to the transaction..