Check Adjustments Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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If your question is not answered by the information provided on the site, My FedDirectory® provides a comprehensive list of service and support contacts who can assist you.

Check Adjustments FAQs

Check Processing FAQs

Not Our Items (NOIs) FAQs

Check Adjustments FAQs

Q: What information is required on an adjustment request?

A: The information required on an adjustment request will vary depending on the investigation type (ITYP). The Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide (QRG) is available to assist you in determining the required fields based on the ITYP for which you are submitting the request. The QRG also provides a description and guidance on the proper usage of each ITYP, the reporting time frame to receive provisional entry (if applicable), the Federal Reserve's response based on the reporting time frame in which the request is received, as well as information on what supporting documentation (if applicable) is required.

Refer to the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide for information on all ITYPs, including the required fields (information needed on the adjustment request) and supporting documentation requirements.

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Q: Why are adjustment requests resolved with entry only to have the entry later reversed?

A: In most instances, provisional entries are automatically generated based on case submission requirements and the reporting time frame of the investigation type (ITYP) for which the request is being submitted. If it is later determined that a request did not meet those requirements, the entry is reversed and the requester is advised, where applicable, to resubmit the request as new business.

For example, required documentation associated with requests submitted via the FedLine access solution must be faxed to the Documents to Follow (DTF) Archive or received by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (if original documentation is required) within five (5) business days of the Federal Reserve receiving the electronic adjustment request. If the documentation is not received within this time frame, the provisional entry will be reversed.

Refer to the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide for information on all ITYPs, including reporting time frames, required fields (information needed on the adjustment request) and supporting documentation requirements.

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Q: What can we do about our live item documentation not reaching the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta within five (5) business days of sending the request? We are a FedLine access solution customer.

A: As a FedLine access solution customer, your live item documentation must be received within five (5) business days of the receipt of the request. Free Item(s) submitted as Information Request (INFO) and the Photo in Lieu (PIL) investigation types require the live item. Please send your documentation on the day you initiated your request to ensure it is received timely.

An alternative (preferred) method of handling PILs is through check processing channels instead of through Check Adjustments channels. PILs should be sent to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, in the applicable cash letter (Forward or Return). All PILs must be sorter ready for processing.

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Q: How can we determine if our documentation was received by the Federal Reserve? We are a FedLine® access solution customer.

A: As a FedLine access solution customer, you can verify if documentation has been associated with your electronic adjustment request by viewing the corresponding Check Adjustments (CA) message from the Outbox feature under the Sent section. A “Y” will appear in the DTF (Documents to Follow) column when the documentation has been associated with the message. To view the documentation, you must first select and view the corresponding CA message. Refer to the DTF Image/Archive Reference Guide for detailed information on archiving supporting documentation.

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Q: How can I determine the status of my adjustment request(s)? We are a FedLine® access solution customer.

A: As a FedLine access solution customer, with access to the Check Adjustments application, a daily status report is available as a menu option under the Import/Export feature. The report is generated at the end of each processing day and provides information on the status of adjustment requests submitted to the Federal Reserve that are pending, awaiting supporting documentation, referred to as Documents to Follow (DTFs) or for which provisional entry or the requested information has not been provided. Refer to Check Adjustments Services for detailed information on the daily status report.

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Q: How should I respond to a CA1000 (Case Open) message from the Federal Reserve? We are a FedLine® access solution customer.

A: As a FedLine access solution customer, you should respond to the Federal Reserve's CA1000 message with a CA5000 (Case Resolution) message. Your response should be entered in the comment field of the CA5000 message. You should avoid responding to a CA1000 message using a CA1000 message as this will create (open) a new case with the Federal Reserve.

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Q: How should we handle an item that has been duplicated or is a Paid Item (PAID) but one of the items also has an Encoding Error (ENC)?

A: If you have a paid item and an encoding error occurred on one of the presentment/return items but has not been corrected, submit a PAID request for the amount of the incorrectly encoded item. The incorrectly encoded item should be the item reported PAID in the Item ID section of the case for the amount debited. For example, assume one of the presentment/return items was charged to you incorrectly as $1,359.60 and should have been $2,359.60. However, at some point you were also charged for the correct amount of the item, $2,359.60. Submit a PAID request for $1,359.60.

If you have a paid item and an encoding error occurred on one of the presentment/return items, however, an ENC adjustment has already been submitted, the PAID request should be submitted for the correct amount of the item. Additionally, the ENC adjustment should be referenced in the comment field of the case. For example, assume one of the presentment/return items was charged to you incorrectly as $627.50 and should have been $1,627.50. An ENC adjustment was submitted and an entry was made to you for $1,000.00. However, at some point you were also charged for the correct amount of the item, $1,627.50. Submit a PAID request for $1,627.50.

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Q: What are the differences between the Non-Cash Item (NCH) and the Not Our Item (NOI) investigation types (ITYPs)?

A: The differences between the NCH and the NOI ITYPs are the usage and method in which the error can be reported. The NCH ITYP is used to request entry for a non-valid (zero-value) item or an item that was included in the cash/return letter total (received from a Federal Reserve Bank) that does not meet legal equivalence requirements for Check 21. A control document, magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) mismatched item, or a non-conforming item are examples of items that may be reported as NCHs. The NCH ITYP should not be used to report fraudulent or forged items as these situations are not handled through the Check Adjustments channels.

The NOI ITYP is used when an item was charged in a cash/return letter and the item does not bear your institution's routing number in the MICR line (Forward Collection) or endorsement area (Return Process) of the physical item or in the associated endorsement records for items received electronically. If the item bears your institution's routing number, it is deemed to be your item. Forward NOIs do not commonly occur in X9.37 image cash letters.

The preferred method for submitting NOIs is through Check Adjustment channels.  Submissions through paper processing channels (NOI Cash/Return Letter) will continue to be accepted. Requests submitted via FedLine access solution and via a paper adjustment request form must be for an amount of $0.01 or greater and only require a legible copy of the front and back of the item. Only one (1) item is permitted per adjustment request.

Note: Fees associated with paper adjustment requests will no longer be waived for small dollar NOI adjustment requests (i.e., requests for $25.00 or less).

A NCH error can also be reported through Check Adjustments channels; however the item must be for an amount of $25.01 or more and only one (1) item is permitted per adjustment request. Supporting documentation for a NCH is optional (not required).

Refer to the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide for information on all ITYPs, including reporting time frames, required fields (information needed on the adjustment request) and supporting documentation requirements.

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Q: What should I do if my financial institution creates and deposits duplicate substitute checks or duplicate images with the Federal Reserve?

A: If you deposit duplicate substitute checks or duplicate images with the Federal Reserve, consisting of 50 or more items, and you are a subscriber of the Check 21 Duplicate Notification System, you can provide notification of the duplicate items using the notification system. As a subscriber, you can also receive notification of duplicate items that impact your institution. If you are not a subscriber of the notification service, you can contact Customer Support at (877) 372-2457. We will open a service request and document the incident. As the duplicate item(s) have been reported by the paying institution(s), we will debit your account. An adjustment request should not be submitted requesting a debit entry using the Paid Item (PAID) investigation type.

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Q: What are the differences between the Duplicate Entry (DUP) and the Paid Item (PAID) investigation types (ITYPs)?

A: The differences between the DUP and the PAID ITYPs are the usage and reporting time frames. The DUP ITYP is used when requesting reversal or investigation of an accounting entry that appears to have been previously made. For example, if you receive an entry (CA5100 (case resolution with entry) or CA1100 (case open with entry) message) for the same Encoding Error (ENC) more than once, this would be considered a duplicate entry. If the DUP request is received within twenty (20) business days of the most recent entry date and other requirements are met, a provisional entry is made the same day the request is received.

The PAID ITYP is used when requesting credit for an item that is being refused either because it is the original (or the legal equivalent, i.e. a substitute check or image received in an X9.37 cash/return letter) or a photocopy, and the other item is already paid. If the PAID request is received within six (6) calendar months of the cash/return letter date of the item being reported as paid and other requirements are met, a provisional entry is made the same day the request is received.

Refer to the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide for information on all ITYPs, including reporting time frames, required fields (information needed on the adjustment request) and supporting documentation requirements.

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Q: What are my options if my financial institution receives a duplicate substitute check(s) or duplicate image(s) from the Federal Reserve?

A: If you receive a duplicate substitute check(s) or duplicate image(s) from the Federal Reserve Bank, you may submit an adjustment request for credit, using the Paid item (PAID) investigation type (ITYP), for any dollar amount $0.01 or more. If the request is received within six (6) calendar months of the cash/return letter date of the item being reported as paid and other requirements are met, a provisional entry is made the same day the request is received.

If multiple items (6 or more) are PAID in the same bundle of work, you may submit them as one adjustment request. Alternatively, you may submit an adjustment request using the Warranty/Indemnity Claim (WIC) associated with Check 21 items if the associated requirements are met. However, provisional entries are not provided on WIC requests and the dollar amount must be $25.01 or more.

Refer to the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide for information on all ITYPs, including reporting time frames, required fields (information needed on the adjustment request) and supporting documentation requirements.

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Check Processing FAQs

Q: What should I do if I didn't receive my paper cash/return letter from the Federal Reserve Bank?

A: If you did not receive your paper cash/return letter from the Federal Reserve and you discover the error the same day the cash/return letter was processed, you should call Customer Support at (877) 372-2457. If you discover the error after the original processing date; submit an adjustment request using the Missing Cash Letter (MCL) investigation type (ITYP) and request for credit entry type (ETYP).

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Q: What should I do if I didn't receive my image cash/return letter from the Federal Reserve Bank?

A: If you did not receive your image cash/return letter from the Federal Reserve, you should call Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 as soon as you discover the error.

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Q: Where can I find the cash/return letter forms used to deposit my paper cash/return letter and how do I fill them out?

A: Cash/Return letter forms are located on our website. When completing the form you should include the Depositor’s routing number, name and address, cash/return letter and bundle total amount, item count and date on the form. All paper cash letters should be sent to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Please visit My FedDirectory® for address information.

To use My FedDirectory, enter your institution's routing number and click "GO".  A customized list of Federal Reserve Financial Services support contacts, including your Account Executive’s name and phone number, is displayed. If you need additional assistance, contact Customer Support at (877) 372-2457.

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Q: I received an entry on my statement from a cash/return letter that I deposited two weeks ago. Why wasn’t the entry made on the same day the cash/return letter was deposited?

A: An adjustment related to a cash/return letter may occur on the date the cash/return letter was processed or on a later date when the Federal Reserve is made aware of the error. An entry on your statement that contains the description “C/L Correction” generally indicates that the error was discovered during the initial processing of the cash/return letter. An entry on your statement with the description “Cash Letter Adjust” or “Late Return Claim” generally indicates that the error was discovered and / or reported after the initial processing of the related cash/return letter. All other Check-related debits and credits on your statement are for cash/return letters.

As a reminder, your statement also consists of credits and debits from other Federal Reserve departments, such as: Cash, Fedwire®, and ACH. It is important to read your statement carefully and take notice of the descriptions for all entries.

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Not Our Items (NOIs) FAQs

Q: How should I handle an item that has been charged to me and it is not my item?

A: When you have been charged with an item that does not bear your institution’s routing number in the MICR line (Forward Collection) or endorsement area (Return Process) of the physical item or in the associated endorsement records for items received electronically, you can report a Not Our Item (NOI) using the Check Adjustments channels. Requests submitted via FedLine access solution and via a paper adjustment request form must be for an amount of $0.01 or greater and only require a legible copy of the front and back of the item. Only one (1) item is permitted per adjustment request.

Note: Fees associated with paper adjustment requests will no longer be waived for small dollar NOI adjustment requests (i.e., requests for $25.00 or less).

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Q: What is the reporting time frame for a Not Our Item (NOI)?

A: A NOI adjustment request must be submitted within twenty (20) business days of the cash/return letter or entry date (CLED) in order to receive provisional entry.

Refer to the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide for information on all ITYPs, including reporting time frames, required fields (information needed on the adjustment request) and supporting documentation requirements.

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Q: What information/documentation is needed to submit a Not Our Item (NOI)?

A: Not Our Item (NOI) errors are reported using the Check Adjustments channels. Only one (1) item is permitted per adjustment request. Complete source of receipt from a Federal Reserve Bank must be provided.
Requests submitted via FedLine access solution and via a paper adjustment request form must be for an amount of $0.01 or greater and only require a legible copy of the front and back of the item.

Note: Fees associated with paper adjustment requests will no longer be waived for small dollar NOI adjustment requests (i.e., requests for $25.00 or less).

Refer to the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide for information on all ITYPs, including reporting time frames, required fields (information needed on the adjustment request) and supporting documentation requirements.

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Q: We were charged with a return item requesting source information (there is a sticker on the back of the item from the Federal Reserve Bank). However, when we provide the source information, the item is sent back to us in another return letter (looping).  What should we do?

A: When you have been charged, by the Federal Reserve Bank with an item in a return letter, requesting source information (a sticker is on the back of the item from the Federal Reserve Bank), you have the following options:

  • Qualify the item to the bank of first deposit (BOFD) and deposit the item in a qualified return letter;
  • Deposit the item in an unqualified (raw) return letter with the source information completed on the sticker; or
  • Submit an adjustment request, using the NOI investigation type, with the source information completed on the sticker and in the case IID fields . 

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Q: Can I use the adjustments channels to submit a Not Our Item (NOI) adjustment request to handle an item that has been returned and charged to me as the bank of first deposit (BOFD) but should have been returned to a centralized returns provider? I am the BOFD.

A: When an item has been returned/charged to you as the BOFD, instead of a centralized returns provider, and you are the BOFD, you cannot handle it as a NOI through the adjustments channels. You must handle the item as you would any other item that was returned to you as the BOFD. You also have the option of qualifying the item to the centralized returns provider and depositing the item in a qualified return letter.

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Q: Can I use the Not Our Item (NOI)  investigation type (ITYP) to report an adjustment for an item that has our routing number on the (MICR line of the physical item or in the MICR record of the file (Forward Collection) but the image is not an item drawn on our institution?

A: You should not use the adjustments channels to report this type of error as a NOI. This is considered a MICR mismatch and the error should be reported through adjustments channels using the Non-Cash Item (NCH) ITYP. The NOI ITYP should only be used when an item was charged to you in a cash/return letter and the item does not bear your institution's routing number in the MICR line (Forward Collection) or endorsement area (Return Process) of the physical item or in the associated endorsement records for items received electronically type 32 (Electronic Return) (you do not have a banking relationship with the payee). If the item bears your institution's routing number in the MICR line or MICR record of the file, it is deemed to be your item.

NOIs do not commonly occur in Forward X9.37 image cash letters. You may have received a “mis-matched” item - the routing number on the MICR line (or MICR record of the file) does not match the routing number on the imaged item.  Mis-matched items can be reported using the NCH ITYP.

Refer to the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide for information on all ITYPs, including reporting time frames, required fields (information needed on the adjustment request) and supporting documentation requirements.

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Q: Why am I being charged for a Return Not Our Item (NOI) via an accounting entry – CA1100 (Case Open With Entry) message)?

A: To expedite the handling of return items reported as NOIs, and to ensure that the institution that deposited the return item is aware of the routing issue, an electronically deposited return item reported as a NOI will be charged back to the depositor of the item as a NOI adjustment, and a debit accounting entry will be functioned.

Refer to the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide (QRG) for information on all ITYPs, including reporting time frames, required fields (information needed on the adjustment request) and supporting documentation requirements.  Also, refer to the General Notes section of the QRG for more information on the Federal Reserve’s resolution of NOIs.

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Q: What should I do when I have been charged for a Not Our Item via an adjustment entry?

A: As a depositor who has been charged via an adjustment entry for a NOI, you will be required to research the item to determine the correct Bank of First Deposit (BOFD) or collecting bank if the BOFD is not identified and, if warranted, reprocess the corrected item.

Refer to the General Notes section of the Check Adjustments Quick Reference Guide for more information.

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Q: What should I do if I believe I’ve been charged for a NOI in error?

A: If you believe you have received a NOI debit entry in error, you can submit an Entry in Error (ERR) adjustment requesting a reversal.  The ERR request must include the most recent Forward source of receipt (your inclearings), proving the item was returned to the correct BOFD.

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