Bounced Check Definition

The colloquial term "bounced check" refers to a non-sufficient funds, or NSF, check. In other words, the owner of the checking account has issued a check which cannot be honored at the bank (or cashed) because the checking account does not have sufficient or adequate funds to cover the cashing of the check. Bounced checks may also be known as bad checks, rubber checks, or dishonored checks.

In most states, even after a check has been "bounced" by the bank it remains a negotiable financial instrument. In other words, the recipient can attempt to cash the check a second time. Merchants and financial institutions usually charge hefty fees for bounced checks. In most states, deliberately writing a bad check is a crime. Bounced checks are usually turned over to a department which specializes in collecting funds through fairly aggressive means.