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If the Creditor Didn’t Apply My Payment Do I Have to Pay for a Stop Payment?

Written by Steve Rhode

“Dear Steve,

I’ve been writing checks for my elderly mother in the nursing home to cover her co-payment for the last 4-5 years.

In November I hand delivered a check payment to the home and got a note with the last bill stating that deposit was not shown although I made the payment would I check the account.

I did and it has not cleared. Am I going to have to pay the fees to put a hold on the check and write another check or are they responsible?


Dear Judy,

Technically a payment is not received by the creditor until it is deposited or you have proof of delivery or a receipt. For example, if you send a payment to a creditor in the mail but it never arrives, the payment is not considered to have been made.

I understand why you probably did not get a receipt for the payment. You’ve made these payments the same way for so long and it has never been a problem.

To avoid any late fee by the nursing home, it might make perfect sense to go ahead and pay the stop payment fee and reissue the check. Otherwise, if you just wrote a new check and the old one magically appeared again and was deposited it might cause you some grief when it was taken out of the account unexpectedly.

One idea is to approach the home with the situation and ask for a credit on the bill for half the cost of the stop payment. You can split the stop payment charge.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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