AdSense Blog Reveals Odd Banking Policy

    August 24, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

An otherwise mild write-up of how Google sends checks to AdSense publishers for their earnings has a strange twist that hints at a relationship with Citibank that defies common banking practices.

AdSense Blog Reveals Odd Banking Policy
AdSense Blog Reveals Odd Banking Policy

Though it has been nearly 20 years since my first real post-college job as a bank teller, I’m pretty surprised to learn just what has changed over that time.

Google’s Vineesha Malkani posted at the AdSense blog some routine advice about AdSense. It almost sounds oriented toward international AdSense publishers, and I’d accept it as that were it not for a strange incident that happened in the US.

Back in July, Mobilejones blogger Debi Jones experienced some unpleasantness in getting some issues with her AdSense account sorted out. It took the intervention of Matt Cutts to get Jones her AdSense check.

But when she traveled to the bank to cash the check, she was told it could not be cashed due to insufficient funds. That statement by the bank sounded strange at the time, as Google certainly employs an accounting department. Why would Google not have enough funds to cash Jones’ AdSense check? It didn’t make sense.

It now sounds like the bank gave Jones incorrect information, based on Malkani’s line in the AdSense blog post about checks and AdSense:

Checks from AdSense are for deposit only; they are not able to be cashed.

  A valid check has some common features: routing and accounting numbers, a bank transit number, and a payee line with the text "Pay to the order of" at the start. These have been in place for years, as any checkbook owner can see.

If a customer comes into a branch with a check drawn on a customer account (this used to be called an ‘on-us check’), the check can be cashed if funds are available. Banks usually require an ID like a driver’s license, while some go farther and ask for thumbprints and even fees to cash an on-us check for a non-account holder.

Google simply cannot tell someone they can’t cash a valid check drawn on their account at Citibank. It sounds more like Google, certainly a large account holder, secured an agreement with Citibank not to honor a check at the teller line.

The insufficient funds line always sounded like bull droppings, and with this latest post from Google I’m convinced. We can’t wait to see the spin on this story.