Bill Would Force Banks to Print Non-negotiable Checks for Households

Banks would be required to issue non-negotiable checks to private account holders, under a bill proposed by MK Fania Kirshenbaum (Israel Beiteinu) and others.

At present only businesses and nonprofits automatically receive checkbooks with non-negotiable checks; individuals have to either request it when ordering checks or strike out the words "le'pekudat" ("to the order of"), and write "le'mutav bilvad" ("to payee only") on each one.

Otherwise the payee can endorse the check to someone else, and if the account-holder later cancels the check he or she can be sued by the third party.

Many consumers find themselves in trouble as a result, Kirshenbaum said. It is particularly problematic for people who don't read Hebrew, she said. They pay for goods or services with a series of postdated (but negotiable) checks, the vender or service provider goes bankrupt and the buyer cancels the checks, only to find themselves being sued by the payee's creditors, to whom the original payee turned over the checks.

The bill is slated to be submitted to the Ministerial Committee for Legisl ation today.