Check 21 Act:

Questions for Consumers about Check 21 Act (GAO-09-9SP, October 2008), an E-supplement to GAO-09-8

GAO-09-9SP: Published: Oct 28, 2008. Publicly Released: Oct 28, 2008.

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This product lists the questions asked and a summary of the answers given in a GAO-administered in-depth interview study with 108 bank checking account customers. These structured interviews were conducted to assess consumer acceptance of the check truncation process resulting from The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act of 2003 (Check 21), one of the objectives of GAO's report on the Act's effect on economic efficiency and its impact on financial institutions and consumers. The purpose of Check 21, which took effect in 2004, was to facilitate electronic check processing by authorizing the acceptance of substitute checks as the legal equivalent of the original checks. For the interview study, GAO recruited adults living in or near three metropolitan areas who were primarily responsible for the main checking account in their households, who recalled receiving their cancelled checks in their original paper form at some point beyond the year 2000, who had not participated in other similar studies in a given period, and who spoke English. Participants were recruited by phone. Apart from these qualifications, the participants formed a group that was roughly representative of the U.S. adult population on several demographic characteristics. One-on-one interviews with the consumers were held in Atlanta, Chicago and Boston in May of 2008. GAO interviewers asked participants questions about their experiences with and opinions of different check return practices. The data collected through our structured consumer interviews are subject to certain limitations. For example, the data cannot be generalized to the entire U.S. population of bank consumers. Additionally, the self-reported data we obtained are based on their opinions and memories, which may be subject to error and may not predict their future behavior. While the wording of the questions in this e-supplement is very similar to the questions we administered in our structured interview, not all introductory or interviewer instruction text is reproduced, and for ease of presentation the format of this e-supplement differs markedly from the actual interviewer-administered paper instrument. For brevity, individual answers to short-answer text questions and some numeric questions are not displayed. We conducted all of our work in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. A more detailed discussion of our scope and methodology, and a discussion of our results, is contained in our report "CHECK 21 ACT: Most Consumers have Accepted and Banks are Progressing Toward Full Adoption of Check Truncation," GAO-09-8 (Washington, D.C.: October, 2008).

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