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When purchasing something more expensive or important (for example, a house or a car that requires a title exchange), you may be asked to pay with a certified check. However, other forms of certified funds could also be accepted as payments. Find out more about the variety of Certified Funds available with this review.

What is a Certified Check?

A certified exam is a check that has been verified (the bank is drawing funds on) as "good". An officer at the bank certifies that the check writer had enough cash and that the signature is authentic.

As a result, anyone who accepts the check can be assured that the check will not bounce off or be returned - provided the check is legitimate and still valid. After verifying that a check is good, the bank usually adds a stamp and signature to the check, as well as terms and conditions (like the Check Well for up to 60 days). The bank should then prevent the check writer from using or withdrawing funds reserved for that check.

Since certified checks are "official" controls, funds from a certified check are usually available within a company the day after the check is deposited, provided you deposit the check-in person with a bank clerk (at least the first $ 5,000 should be available but banks can have an impact on amounts higher than that).

Compare a certified check to a standard personal check. With a personal check, you have no idea whether the check writer has enough money in the bank to cover the payment.

Even if the money has been there at some point, it may be spent before you have a chance to file or pay the check (meaning you cannot get paid and you may have to pay bad check deposit fees). In many cases, banks only have the first $ 200 available if you leave a personal check, and they wait several business days to provide the rest (and you may want to wait even longer if there is any doubt about the check) .

How to get a Certified Check

To pay with a certified check, visit a bank branch where a bank clerk can verify that you are the account holder and that you have funds available in your account. Before you write the check, ask what the requirements are.

In many cases, youll just write the check like you normally would, and bank tellers will add the certification. As an alternative, you can just check a cashier.

Certified Checks vs. Cashier's Checks

Cashier's checks are very similar to certified checks, and they might be easier to find when you need to pay with certified funds.

With a certified check, the account holder (a person - could you) writes a check and the bank certifies the check. Funds will come out of your account when the check may be deposited or cashed.

A cashier's check essentially pays the bank (by handing cash or using the funds transferred from your account) and the bank creates a check that is written to your payee. When the check is finally paid, the money will come from the bank's account - not yours.

To anyone receiving payment, the differences between a cashier's check and a certified check probably don't make sense - they're both forms of guaranteed funds.

Everything can be faked

Certified funds are a favorite tool for scammers. People believe there is no risk in getting payments that are instantly clear, so they are happy to send goods - or money - after receiving a counterfeit check. Banks often give you the benefit of the doubt and make the first $ 5,000 available immediately, leaving you thinking the check has cleared. After the scam is discovered, your bank will hold you responsible for any money you have spent or withdrawn.

When it comes to being demolished, there are several ways you can reduce your risk:

Insist on a Wire: Paying by wire transfer is more secure than a certified exam. The funds must actually come from another bank before they show up in your available balance. That’s harder to pull off, and there’s a better paper trail (but wire scams exist too).

Verify the funds: contact the bank that verifies the check and verify that the verification is legitimate. Be sure to use a phone number that you know is legitimate - not a number that will be printed on the check (because a fake check has an incorrect phone number). Some banks won't help you, but it's worth a shot.

Cash the check: take the check on a branch of the same bank that the funds come in and try to get cash right away. The cashier will quickly be able to tell if anything is wrong.

Trust your gut: if something seems wrong, it probably is. Look for common red flags, like transactions, where you are supposed to leave a check and then send some of the money to someone else (especially if you are supposed to send with a wire transfer or Western Union). When you're starting out on the phone and don't add things up - especially when the obvious signs like misspellings and poor print quality are there - it's best to stick with your paperback.

Other forms of certified funds

A certified exam isn't the only way to pay with certified funds. Any instrument that is treated as "guaranteed" or "cleared" money can do the trick. Each seller has their own set of criteria, but you may also be able to pay using:

  • A transfer
  • Money orders
  • A cashier's check
  • Cash