New federal regulations designed to speed up check processing go into effect today, essentially eliminating the “float” that many people use to control their accounts. Float is the amount of time it takes for a check to be processed once you write it. In the past, you could write a check and count on that money being in your account for a period of time, often up to a week. Not anymore. These new regulations allow banks to electronically process the checks by merely transferring an image of the check, not the physical item. In many cases, this means that checks could be processed from your account the same day they’re written. You can read more about these changes in this Yahoo! story.