Definitions

treasurer's check

Cashier's check

A cashier's check (also known as a cashier's cheque, bank check, official check, teller's check, bank draft or treasurer's check) is a check guaranteed by a bank. They are usually treated as cash since most banks clear them instantly. However, banks are permitted to take back money from a "cleared" check one or two weeks later if subsequent processing finds it to be fraudulent. Because customers believe the checks have been found valid and have been converted to cash in hand, customers are readily defrauded by schemes which ask them to part with goods or a portion of the money if it is cleared in a timely manner.

Characteristics

Cashier's checks feature the name of the issuing bank in a prominent location, usually the upper left-hand corner or upper center of the check. In addition, they are generally produced with enhanced security features, including watermarks, security thread, color-shifting ink, and special bond paper. These are designed to decrease the vulnerability to counterfeit items. In order to be recognized as a cashier's check, words to that effect must be included in a prominent place on the front of the item.

The payee's name, the written and amount to be tendered, the remitter's information, and other tracking information (such as the branch of issue), are printed on the front of the check. The check is generally signed by one or two bank employees or officers; however, some banks issue cashier's checks featuring a facsimile signature of the bank's chief executive officer or other senior official.

Some banks contract out the maintenance of their cashier's check accounts and check issuing. One leading contractor is Integrated Payment Systems, which issues cashier's checks and coordinates redemption of the items for many banks, in addition to issuing money orders and other payment instruments. In theory, teller's checks are checks issued by a financial institution but drawn on another institution, as is often the case with credit unions.

Due to an increase in fraudulent activities in 2006 many banks insist upon waiting for a cashier's check to clear the originating institution. Personal checks will thus have the same utility in such transactions.

Legal definition

In the United States, under Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code, a cashier's check is effective as a note of the bank. Also, according to Regulation CC (Reg CC) of the Federal Reserve, cashier's checks are recognized as "guaranteed funds" and amounts under $5000 are not subject to deposit holds. The length of a hold varies (2 days to 2 weeks) depending on the bank. It is not clear what length of time may pass before a bank can be held responsible for accepting a bad cashier's check.

Alternatives and risks

Money orders are a popular alternative to cashier's checks and are considered safer than personal bank checks. However, they are generally not recognized as "guaranteed funds" under Reg CC, and are limited to a specified maximum amount ($1,000 or less under U.S. law for domestic postal money orders).

Because of regulatory requirements associated with the Patriot Act and the Bank Secrecy Act due to updated concerns over money laundering, most insurance and brokerage firms will no longer accept Money Orders as payment for insurance premiums or as deposits into brokerage accounts.

Counterfeit Money Orders and Cashier's checks have been used in certain scams to steal from those who sell their goods online on sites such as eBay and craigslist.

See also

Notes

  1. New Scam Uses Counterfeit Checks. ConsumerAffairs.com. .
  2. Understanding a bank draft. British Bankers Association. .

External links

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