How Comcheks Work

How do Comcheks Work?

Working in the transportation industry you have surely heard of comcheks. But just starting out it may be a bit confusing to figure out how a COMCHEK works and why companies use them. A COMCHEK is a form of payment most frequently used by freight brokers to pay contract carriers, and they work in a similar way to a regular check but with some differences.

Express Codes

A payer (shipper or a broker) that has an account with COMDATA, issues COMCHEKs to drivers for services rendered or as a fuel advance and they do so in a form of an Express Code for a predetermined amount. The Express Codes vary in length, usually from 14 to 18 digits in length, but will always be just numbers not letters.

Once the payee (trucking company) receives their express codes they have several options to redeem their money. Comcheks can be cashed at truck stops or any bank as long as Comchek blank is present.

Comchek Blank Instructions

Comchek Blank

When depositing directly into the bank, the payee must call the toll free phone number provided by COMDATA to get authorization for that Express Code.  The payee cannot cash the COMCHEK until he has called Comdata to get an authorization number, not doing so will cause the check to bounce and cause you to incur insufficient funds fees by your bank. Once COMCHEK blank is filled out it can be used a regular check and even cashed with no fees. Talk to your bank for additional assistance processing COMCHEKs.

COMCHEKs can be cashed at truck stops when buying fuel, however some locations will charge a processing fee if you are not buying any fuel there. Look into GoComchek for locations that accept COMCHEKs.

COMCHEK Phone Number: (800) 266-3282

COMDATA Cards

Trucking companies can also look into making their own accounts with COMDATA to issue COMCHEKs for their drivers. It provides a convenience and flexibility to monitor driver spending. With the COMDATA account a trucking company has the option to issue cards to their drivers that work similarly to an ATM.

Fees

When compared to credit cards, transaction fees for COMCHEKs are much lower. Depending on the account and volume, fees may be as low as $4 per $1000. COMDATA charges a flat fee for COMCHEKs and prices per $1000, meaning it costs the same to issue a $20 COMCHEK as it would for $1000. It is not uncommon for some brokers to mark up the cost of COMCHEKs, most common being $10/$1000 but in some cases as high as $40 for a single COMCHEK.

 

Pro’s and Con’s of COMCHEKs:

  • Comcheks allow truck drivers freedom from carrying large amounts of cash on hand.
  • Comcheks enable to get payment faster and improve cash flow while on the road.
  • Comcheks usually have a processing fee. Fees increase with higher payment amounts.
  • Drivers can get a Comdata account and can deposit their payments into that account as well.

Some of Your Questions About COMCHEKs:

Can you stop payment on a Comchek?

No! Once a comchek is cashed or is deposited to a bank with an authorization number the issuer cannot stop payment on it.

How do I get a comchek?

If you do not already have an account with Comdata – you can call their toll free number and speak with customer service. You can “purchase” a comchek with a credit card but fees will apply.

How long is a typical express code?

Express codes can vary in length, most are are 14 or 18 digits long with no letters.

What does "P" or "L" Fees Mean When Creating a Code?

“P” – means you want the comchek fee added from the final amount

“L” – means you want the comchek fee subtracted from the final amount

example: $1000 comchek with “P” – means that $1004 will be deducted from the account holder – but $1000 will be given to the recipient. $1000 comchek with “L” means that $1000 will be deducted from the account holder – but $996 will be given to the recipient

How is COMCHEK different from a T-Chek?

T-Chek is a competing product to Comchek and is issued by EFS. They work in a similar manner as comcheks. Learn more about T-Cheks here.

So is it COMCHECK or COMCHEK?

These 2 terms are used interchangeably but Comdata corporation holds the trademark to COMCHEK since 1974. Per the US Patent and Trademark Office, COMCHEK is for “ISSUING CHECKS AND AUTHENTICATING THE CASHING OF SUCH CHECKS BY TELEPHONE CONFIRMATION TO PARTICIPATING PARTIES ”

28 replies
    • Alex Marinov
      Alex Marinov says:

      You can make a comchek if you are setup with Comdata. Or you can call (1-800-Comdata) and using a credit card get a comchek – but it is more expensive.

      Reply
  1. joselyn anidite
    joselyn anidite says:

    When depositing a comdata check into a bank account thru the atm do I still have to call the number on the check to verify??

    Reply
    • Alex Marinov
      Alex Marinov says:

      You always need to call COMDATA (800)-266-3282 to verify because their rep will provide you with an authorization code. Without the code the check will bounce.

      Reply
  2. zpat
    zpat says:

    Why is the payee phone number and driver’s license information necessary? Is it the truck driver’s license number or the payee’s license number that is required?

    Reply
    • Alex Marinov
      Alex Marinov says:

      The account holder (company that issued the comchek) is able to see the cash advance history online, however if you are given the comchek the only way to find out if there is money left on it is to call Comdata. Comdata is not obligated to reveal any specific information about where and how the comchek was cashed but they will tell you if there is money left on it assuming it didn’t expire (90 days or so)

      Reply
    • Alex Marinov
      Alex Marinov says:

      If you have an account and you made the comchek, you are able to see who cashed the comchek through the web interface. In some cases the drivers name is not visible however.

      Reply
      • Chris
        Chris says:

        The checks we receive form customers at work, are sometimes issued by a third party. Our customer received a check did not obtain an authorization number, but instead forward it to us. We have never had problems getting authorization numbers and depositing checks, but it makes me wonder how would the party issuing the check keep track of it.

        Reply
  3. Bradshaw Towing
    Bradshaw Towing says:

    We are a trucking company in Wyoming, we have been taking these checks for years. We always call in and get an authorization. Recently I took one to the bank to deposit, the teller said I filled it out wrong and whited it out and called it in again and got a different authorization number. Will the check go through because it does not have the original authorization number? She said not to put the authorization number where we always have, we wanted to deposit the check not cash it.
    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • Alex Marinov
      Alex Marinov says:

      Authorization numbers are attached to a specific check numbers. I’ve seen in the past checks go through without authorization numbers even, but I advise highly against doing that. I imagine if the teller got a new authorization number she had to give them the check number, so my guess is that it should be fine.

      Reply
  4. Charlotte
    Charlotte says:

    Ok I always cash my Comchek at the local truck stop and When i fill it out all the lines on the comchek are filled except the authorization the clerk at the truck stop fuel desk fills that in. My question is If I go to my bank instead of the truck stop do I need to fill in the authorization code too?

    Reply
    • Alex Marinov
      Alex Marinov says:

      Yes you will need the fill in the authorization code – otherwise you risk the check bouncing and being returned – you can easily get the authorization by calling the phone # on the check.

      Reply
  5. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    When calling the automated system to receive an authorization code from a financial institution, it says to either enter the check number or express code. Are the check numbers also tied to the particular account? Also, does an authorization code guarantee funds?

    Reply
    • Alex Marinov
      Alex Marinov says:

      Check # are not tied to any particular accounts – an authorization code, when obtained from Comdata is tied to a specific check and does guarantee funds. Check is then deposited into a bank account.

      Reply
      • Ryan
        Ryan says:

        Thanks for your quick response. How does this guarantee funds if all the automated system requires is to enter a check number and amount, if it doesn’t know what express code or account it’s tied to?

        Reply
        • Alex Marinov
          Alex Marinov says:

          When an authorization number is obtained the amount is put on hold from the issuer, and can no longer be cancelled, at least in my personal experience – I would call comdata to make sure.

          Reply
  6. mario
    mario says:

    If a comeback is issued for fuel can the company see if all of it wasn’t used on fuel can they see how much money was giving bac?

    Reply

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