How Do Grocery Stores Verify Checks? (And If They See Your Balance)

We’re living in a digital world where payments can be made instantly through mobile devices. Despite the mobile payment options or commonly used credit cards, personal checks continue to hold their presence as a payment method.

In this article, I’ll cover the list of grocery stores that accept checks, how they verify them, and if they can see your account balance.

Let’s start with the check verification process. How do grocery stores verify checks, and can they see your balance?

Most grocery stores use electronic systems to verify the check is valid and the account is in good standing.  Grocery stores can’t see your exact account balance, but they might see if there’s a positive balance in the account. A positive balance indicates the account is in good standing.

There are many check verification companies available, and they provide similar services. Like many other retailers, grocery stores are looking to ensure the checks they receive are in good standing, and verification companies help grocery stores reduce the risk of accepting bad checks.

I’ll explain how the check verification process works and share the list of grocery stores accepting personal checks. Just keep reading to find out more!

How Do Grocery Stores Verify Checks?

Most grocery stores use electronic systems to verify before accepting a check. Cashiers insert checks into a scanner or enter the information manually on the screen. There are two important numbers printed on checks; the bank’s routing number and the customer’s account number.

The routing number allows the system to identify the bank information. And the grocery store can see the bank’s name, address, and phone number from routing numbers.

Cashiers may also request to see an ID to verify the name on the check matches the person’s name. If the names don’t match, they will not accept the check.

The electronic system can verify if your account is valid, active, and has a positive balance. It doesn’t show the grocery store how much money you have in your account, but having a positive balance is an indication that your account is in good standing.  

Some grocery stores also search a database to find out if the customer had any bad checks in the past. If the customer’s name appears on this database, the system tells the store to reject the check. Otherwise, the system will recommend accepting it.

Just like any other system, electronic check verification systems can also make errors. The system may recommend the store decline a customer’s check, which should have been accepted.

If this happens to you, I’d recommend paying with an alternative method, such as cash, credit/debit card, or mobile wallets, and ask the grocery store to provide the contact information.

You should follow up with the verification company to find out why it got rejected and get it corrected if it’s an error. Otherwise, the issue may come up in the future when you decide to make a purchase using your check again.

Next, I’ll share the list of grocery stores that accept checks. It’s not the complete list of grocery stores, but I compiled a comprehensive list based on my research.

List of Grocery Stores That Accept Checks

You can find the list of grocery stores accepting checks in the table below. As you can see, there are many big grocery chains on the list. These big grocery stores have a loyal customer base who prefer to pay by check, and they continue to serve those customers based on their preferences.

AlbertsonsPublix
Baker’sQFC
City MarketRalphs
CostcoSam’s Club
Cub FoodsSafeway
DillonsSave-A-Lot
Food 4 LessSave Mart Supermarkets
Food LionShaw’s
Fred MeyerShopRite
Fry’s Food StoresSmith’s Food and Drug
Giant EagleSprouts Farmers Market
HannafordStop & Shop
Harris TeeterTarget
H-E-B Tops Friendly Markets
Jewel-OscoTrader Joe’s
King SoopersWalmart
Kroger Wegmans
Marc’sWinCo Foods
MeijerWinn-Dixie

Some of these grocery stores also have in house check-cashing services. If you’re interested in cashing your checks, contact your local store and ask for their fees. Some grocery stores are known to have very competitive rates. Make sure to bring your ID with you as it’s required to cash checks at any store.  

Why Do Grocery Stores Accept Checks?

Grocery stores accept checks because there are still customers who prefer to pay by check. Especially in the elderly population, check and cash payments are more popular than credit cards or mobile payments.

To keep their loyal customers happy, grocery stores will most likely continue to accept checks, as long as it remains as a payment method.   

Even though check payments are riskier than credit cards or mobile payments, electronic check verification systems help grocery stores reduce that risk.

Additionally, some grocery stores may have the policy to only accept checks from customers who made a purchase using another payment method in the past. It gives the store additional confidence that it’s a recurring customer, and the first transaction is not with a personal check.

The decision to accept a check is made at the checkout. That means if the store doesn’t accept it, they can ask the customer to pay by other means.

If the customer can’t or refuses to provide another payment method, the store can put the groceries back on the shelf. The risk is lower than restaurants, where the food is already consumed at the time of payment and irreversible. That’s why most restaurants don’t accept checks to pay the bill.

Some grocery stores take a completely different approach to check payments. Aldi and Whole Foods, for example, do not accept checks at all. Their decision is based on operational efficiencies and to reduce wait times in line.

The number of consumers using checks at retailers is declining. According to the 2019 Federal Bank Payment Study, the number of check payments fell 7.2% per year from 2015 to 2018.  

More consumers started using credit/debit cards or mobile payments at grocery stores, but there’s always going to be a population who prefers to pay by check. And most grocery stores will continue to serve that loyal customer base and their preferences.

Summary

In this article, we learned about the check verification process, how it worked, and what information grocery stores can see. We also learned that grocery stores couldn’t see the account balance but could verify the account is valid and has a positive balance.

We reviewed the list of grocery stores that accepted checks and the reason behind it.

One additional tip I could provide is that if you’re planning to buy groceries with a check, make sure you have sufficient funds in your account at the time of shopping.

Even though grocery stores can’t see your account balance, they might deposit your check electronically, and it may hit your account as early as the same day. If you don’t have sufficient funds to cover the check amount, you may incur additional fees from the grocery store and your bank, such as overdraft fees.

If you’re interested in finding out more ways of paying for groceries, check out the related articles below:

Related Articles:

Can You Buy Groceries With PayPal?

Can You Buy Groceries Online With EBT?

Written by Erol

Erol has over 12 years of experience in the consumer goods industry. He launched many successful products for major brands, which are sold at big retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more. He likes to write and share his experience with others. Outside of work, you can find him at a hiking trail in New England, or playing soccer with his kids.

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