Clark American, a leading check printer, and TeleCheck Services Inc., which provides a check authorization service to retailers, are teaming up to help banks and their merchant customers avoid bad-check losses.

Checks printer by Clark American will be sent to consumers with a notice saying that they can report lost or stolen checks to a 24-hour hot line operated by TeleCheck.

100,000 Merchants

The information is entered into a national data base of bad-check information used by 100,000 merchants across the country when customers pay by check.

Merchants and banks can avoid accepting bad checks that were canceled due to loss or theft.

The service, called Telecheck Alert, is included in the price that banks pay for checks printed by Clark American.

Bad-Check Ratio Burgeons

Dick Corl, director of financial services for TeleCheck, said the two companies are bundling the service because of a rapid rise in losses due to check fraud.

The recession and an increase in check fraud have boosted bad-check losses, Mr. Corl said.

A retail-banking report by the American Bankers Association showed that the ratio of bad checks to total checks deposited rose 19% last year at banks with assets of more than $1 billion.

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