Bank Checks

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Common Questions About Bank Checks

What are bank checks? A bank check is a form of payment also known as an official check, cashier’s check, certified check, bank draft, and teller’s check to name a few. This form of payment is commonly treated as cash due to the fact that like cash, it is sourced from an account and can be withdrawn instantly. Because of this, bank checks are also called guaranteed funds.
Bank checks may not be classified guaranteed funds in the event that they are found to be counterfeit. In this scenario, a bank normally has a window of 2 weeks to cancel the fund transfer and to obtain the check; the holder has to report the issue to the bank. At this point, the funds can be withdrawn with the checking account holder and the cashier signing the check. Below are some common questions regarding bank checks.

• What is the difference between a bank and a personal check?

Unlike a bank check that can be withdrawn the instant you receive it, a personal check also draws funds from a bank account, however, it is not guaranteed since an individual should present it first and wait for the bank’s clearance. Because personal checks are not considered guaranteed funds, there is some risk for the individual receiving it.

A personal check has eight primary parts which include the number of the check, date, contact information, issued amount, payee, account number, routing number, and signature line. It can be utilized for purchasing stuff and paying your bills among many others.

• Are bank checks considered cash?

A bank check is still not considered cash for the simple reason that a check has to be processed even if it categorized as a guaranteed fund. This generally means that once you deposit a check to your account, the funds may not be readily available since availability will still be highly dependent on the policies of the bank. You still have to present the check to the bank issuing the check and this may sometimes take 1 to 2 days, or a week in some instances.

Likewise, because a check is just a form of payment, there is a risk that it can be a fake. Unscrupulous individuals are capable of counterfeiting checks. In this light, it is generally advised that you only accept checks from people you know and always try to verify the information included in the check.

• What is the Stop-Payment Order?

You can request a stop-payment order in the event that you have written a check for paying something or someone but then decide to change your mind. This order may be requested for various reasons so that the check will be invalid but it is very costly. The amount you pay for a stop-payment order will be usually dependent on the area you’re living in. To illustrate, say you live in California, you pay $20 to stop the payment, but if you live in Maryland, the fee can be as much as $30.

Industry experts state that these fees are undoubtedly among the highest charges a bank can impose on you, with the fee very close to that of bouncing checks. The fee is reportedly steep since stopping payment carries with it some risk for the bank and they have to make a huge effort to stop your check before it is cashed out and processed.

In the event that your request didn’t go through as planned because of a fault on your end, you cannot hold the bank responsible once the check is cashed out. This is because it is your responsibility to give the bank adequate time to process your request since stopping payment cannot be completed on a whim. When the bank check has been cashed, you are left to your own devices to get your money back.

• When do I use a personal check vs. a bank check?

Depending on the situation, usually on the payee, some won’t accept a personal check and will solely agree to receive a bank check. Normally, a person won’t accept personal checks as rent money or as down payment on a huge purchase like a car or property. In addition, all landlords actually require that you include a security deposit and your 1st and last month’s rent in the form of a bank check because it is a guaranteed fund as stated earlier.

Bills payments, tax payments, as well as insurance premiums payments will also more often than not require that you use a bank check instead of a personal check. Generally speaking however, when choosing which type of check is suitable as payment, consider if the situation is ordinary, legal, or formal. In the event that the situation is on the legal or formal side, use a bank check, if it is for a daily or ordinary situation like paying for groceries and such, then it is safe to use a personal check.

• How are bank checks cleared?

Once a bank has cleared a check, the funds will be sourced from the issuing end’s checking account and will be directly sent to the bank account of the recipient of the check. The recipient’s bank will make a fund transfer request from the issuing bank of the one who wrote the check and if everything goes well without an issue, the funds will be sent accordingly.

However, make sure that if you have enough funds if you issue a check since you will be charged with a fee if your check bounces. Likewise, if you receive a check that bounced, you’ll be responsible for paying back the money if you’ve already used it.
Keep in mind the above information when using bank checks to avoid any issues with the bank.