704 - Policy on Distribution of Checks for Goods and Services


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Finance Policy 704 - Policy on Distribution of Checks for Goods and Services



As the University generates a large volume of checks, proper review of information is necessary to safeguard against potential check fraud. This policy is established to allow for review of information. Suspicious checks will be scrutinized and decisions rendering a "pay" or "no-pay".


Policy Statement

Checks are managed via US Mail, as another method of reducing the potential for check fraud.

University checks are mailed via US Mail to the Payee at the address indicated on the voucher request. All checks are released the same business day as the date printed.


Checks for Petty Cash vouchers and vouchers for the US Department of Homeland Security are generally held in Accounts Payable for pick up. Departments may also request to pick up checks for other vouchers if need be.

If a check has been issued and no payment is due to the Payee, checks may be returned to Accounts Payable. The check will be voided and the funds returned to the account. A check issued but never delivered to the Payee will fall under the State policy for Escheat. After a prescribed amount of time has elapsed, these funds will not be returned to the account but sent to the Office of the State Treasurer, where the Payee may claim such payment.

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What if I discover a check was mailed to an incorrect address?
A: Contact Accounts Payable via email. Checks marked 'undeliverable' are returned by the US Postal Service and logged. Disbursement Services will contact the document creator to confirm the address, request a correct address to forward or hold for pick up by the Department, if requested.

Q: Whom do I contact if a vendor wants to know if a check has cleared?
A: Contact Accounting Services. If a Department advises that a check has not been received, the next process is a Stop Payment/Reissue. Those requests may be directed to Accounting Services, 10 business days from the payment date. Accounts Payable will then be notified to reissue.

Q: What information appears on the check to help the vendor/payee identify the purpose of the payment?
A: The vendor invoice number and date appear on the check stub. Payments to an individual include the payment voucher number beginning with a 5, and a brief description of the payment. Travel reimbursements will include the T# and trip date in the invoice number field.

Q: Wouldn't it save the University money if all checks were returned via campus mail to the department instead of mailing them via US Mail?
A: Returning checks to a department is considered an audit risk and a violation of established internal control procedures. Checks requested to be sent back to a department will have the option to hold for pick up, request of Accounts Payable to mail with the supporting documentation or simply send via US Mail. The cost of mailing checks is nominal compared to the costs/delays incurred to stop payment on lost checks and reissue them.

Q: Can I receive a Cash Advance or Petty Cash as a direct deposit?
A: Cash Advances must be paid to a Payee's residence unless that individual is not home and/or out of the Country. A Cash Advance may not be paid to a Campus Box location either. A Petty Cash reimbursement can be addressed to the payee's home or held for pickup.

Q: Can we send checks to Foreign Vendors?
A: Generally, foreign vendors must be paid via Wire Transfers to mitigate the potential for lost checks and check fraud. If a Vendor has an established domestic bank account, payment may also be rendered as an ACH. Checks paid to foreign vendors will require the document creator to pick up the check and to take responsibility to ensure proper delivery. There are exceptions to this requirement though. We often do send checks to Canada. When in doubt, please ask.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contact
Subject Contact Telephone Fax E-Mail
Check Distribution Accounts Payable and Vendor Services 919-843-5098 919-962-2356 accountspayable@unc.edu
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Article ID: 131535
Thu 4/8/21 9:11 PM
Mon 1/24/22 1:14 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Finance and Budget
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Director, Accounts Payable and Vendor Services
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
09/15/2023 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
09/15/2021 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
10/14/2019 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
09/15/2021 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
03/01/1998 12:00 AM