Over the years, there has been a gradual shift in the method consumers use to make their payments. In the beginning, the only option was cash, followed by a shift to checks for the added security of the money that people had. In more recent years, there has been a transition to debit and credit cards as the primary payment option. Still, checks are used as a form of payment for many and also in bill pay options. Occasionally, an automatic check payment is mailed directly from the bank.
As a payment is scheduled in advance, the account owner may potentially forget that a deduction will occur and by the time the check is withdrawn from the account, there is simply not enough money to cover the funds requested. If this happens even once, the bank will sometimes make the payment and charge additional fees for the inconvenience. Although, consistently writing bad checks can result in significant legal trouble.
A consumer may write a check to a bank for money they do not have in the account and also a company can write a bad check to an individual, such as an employee. To knowingly do so is considered to be a deceptive practice, which is illegal. Although the first offense can be prosecuted, evidence of prior knowledge is indeed accumulated by the second and third offenses.