A certified check is a secure payment option that is available at banks. The bank verifies that the account has enough money in it to cover any signed check. Essentially, it is a check that is guaranteed to go through without problems. The main purpose of this is to reduce the risk of large transactions. Paying cash during a large transaction isn’t realistic for a lot of people, and sellers might be wary of any check that isn’t guaranteed.
Personal checks vs. bank checks
Personal checks can be easily ordered in large quantities from the bank or other authorized sellers. They tend to be used less frequently with the rise in popularity of credit and debit cards, but they can still have convenient day to day use. They are generally considered trustworthy for small transactions like grocery shopping. However, unlike with a bank check, a seller has no guarantee with a personal check that the money is actually in the buyer’s account. Personal checks run the risk of bouncing. This scenario is bad for the buyer as well as the seller. A bounced check will result in overdraft fees from the bank, and it can result in a damaged credit score. It can even result in criminal charges if the debt owed isn’t paid.
Cashier checks vs. bank checks
At first glance, it might be difficult to determine exactly what makes a bank check different from a cashier’s check, as the two share has many similarities. They can both be obtained from the bank, and they both guarantee payment of the signed amount. There is one major difference between the two, however. A cashier’s check is drawn from the bank’s own funds, whereas a bank check is drawn from a personal account. The total of the cashier’s check is later paid by the customer who took it out. There is generally a small fee for cashier’s checks which can vary from institution.
Considering cashier’s and bank checks have a guarantee for the printed amount, one might think these forms of payment are immune to fraud. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. It is always the seller’s responsibility to verify that a check is genuine. While there can be some obvious warning signs like grammatical errors, it generally isn’t that easy to spot a bad check. With today’s technology, counterfeiters can copy a bank’s watermarks and other identifying features to pass off a fake check, and these are used in a variety of scams.
To ensure you aren’t a victim of check fraud, it’s a good practice to call the bank the check is from to verify it’s genuine. Generally you’ll only need the check number and the name of the buyer. Make sure to get the bank’s number from another source, though. The number on the check could be a fake with a scammer on the other line.
If you need to write checks and you have concerns about legitimacy or any other issues, there are options. Check writing services could be a possible solution. These are typically used by businesses, but they can write individual checks, as well. They don’t just write checks, either. They can print custom checks, validate any kind of check, and process checks in the same day. It’s generally easy to set up an account, and rates are competitive. They typically accept payment data in any file form, and they can even issue tax forms when the time comes.
Whenever you need to write a check, make sure you’ve covered your bases. If using a personal check, ensure that your account has enough money to cover it before handing over the check. If you’re receiving a check from someone you don’t know, immediately verify its authenticity. Stay vigilant, and use the right check for the situation.