NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that Certegy Check Services will pay $3.5 million to settle allegations it failed to make sure its reports about consumers' finances were correct.

The FTC said Certegy did not do enough to make sure its reports to retailers were accurate. The agency also said Certegy didn't do enough to review information when it was disputed by customers whose checks were rejected. When it did perform reviews, it often did so slowly, did not tell consumers of their results or left incorrect information in consumers' files. That would make it harder for people to pay for goods using checks.

Certegy, of St. Petersburg, Fla., compiles consumers' personal information and sells it to retailers, who use it to help decide whether they will accept a consumer's checks. The FTC says consumers have the right to dispute the report if their checks are turned down. The reviews have to be completed within a set period of time, usually 30 days, and companies like Certegy have to notify consumers of the result of the review.

The agency said Certegy's actions were particularly damaging to older consumers and people who don't have access to credit cards or means of payment other than checks.

Certegy is required to make improvements as part of the settlement. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FTC was investigating Certegy for possible violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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