What is Certified Check?
A certified check is a check where the bank of the account holder certifies the check and provides assurance with respect to the availability of balance in the holder’s account.
It is a check issued by the account holder with confirmation of the bank for the availability of the bank balance. If a certified check is issued, the bank sets aside the specified balance in the account to honor the payment. Certified Check is predominantly used to check the account holder’s creditworthiness and make sure that the check doesn’t bounce due to the non-availability of balance. In addition, it prevents the risk of non-payment as the amount is parked separately. It is usually issued when the transaction involves a big sum of money. Once a certified check is issued, the stop payment is not possible.
How much-Certified Check costs?
A certified check comes with a cost as the bank makes the transaction secured. In banking terminology, it is called an “Official check”. It comes with the cost of $10-$15, it varies from bank to bank, some bank charges higher than this, and some even provide the check at zero charges. It depends on the bank and customer relationship and the varying bank charges.
How to get it?
To get this, the account holder should check with the bank first to make sure that they provide the service of issuing a certified check. On confirmation from the bank, the account holder should draw a personal check in favor of the recipient and visit the bank to certify the check. On visiting the bank, the bank official will verify the bank balance and mark it certified. This process will involve some fees, as mentioned above.
Why use Certified Check?
A check is not a cash payment; it is an assurance to pay from the bank account. There are always chances for non-availability of funds in the issuer bank account, and the check can bounce. To avoid this risk, it is issued where the specified amount will be parked separately in the account on the issuance of a check. The bank will issue this only after verifying the account balance. It is used when a large value of money transaction happens to secure the payment. (e.g.) Payment for purchase of any asset like house, car, etc., or settlement of any debt.
Avoiding Certified Check Scams
There are a lot of scams happening with checks, one of the common scams with a certified check is issuing fake or duplicate checks for making payment for purchase transactions.
(e.g.) In case of issuing it against purchase made from an unknown vendor. So the recipient party doesn’t know the issuer of the check-in person, so he provides the product and accepts the check. But, when he tries to cash the check, the bank will not accept the same as it could be a fake check. So, in this case, the seller will lose the product without receiving the money, and it would be tough to trace the purchaser too.
In order to avoid these scams, it is better not to accept this check from unknown people, try to get the money through other payment methods. However, in case if they insist on the check and if the recipient is willing to take the money through a certified check, then it’s better to check with the bank once about this check so that it rests assured that the check is original as it is certified by a bank and later the recipient will not lose the money due to any fraudulent activities.
Certified Check vs Cashier’s Check
There are different types of checks in the banking system. One of them is a certified check; similarly, one more type is called a cashier’s check. Both the checks are guaranteed by the bank, and it is more secured than personal checks.
In the case of a cashier check, the bank guarantees the fund as the bank cashier signs the instrument; on the other hand, the certified check is prepared by the issuer, and the bank certifies the same. Both these checks are used in high-value transactions and payments.
Though the bank guarantees both the checks, there are differences in their operational ways. In the case of a cashier check, the funds are immediately withdrawn from the issuer’s bank account, and the bank holds it at its responsibility until the payee cashes the check. Then, the funds are transferred from the issuer account to the bank’s account, and then the cashier’s check is issued.
Whereas in the case of certified checks, the funds will be in the issuer bank account, but the same cannot be withdrawn to the extent a certified check is issued. The money will remain in the account until the payee cashes the check. Thus, it is more like a personal check drawn against the issuer’s bank account; in addition to the issuer’s signature, the bank representative will also sign the check.
Both the check will bring in some changes for the account holder considering the additional secured operation. However, in terms of the operational model, cashier’s check looks even safer as the funds are withdrawn and kept under the bank’s safe custody.
It is one of the secure ways of making payment. It gives a sense of confidence to the recipient of the check as it is signed by a representative of the bank and comes with the bank seal of “certified” or “accepted”. It is needed only in case of any high-value transaction or when the recipient is not sure of the issuer’s creditworthiness. In order to be on the safer side recipient may demand a certified check to make sure the check doesn’t bounce. But considering the fraudulent activities and duplicate checks being prepared, it’s better to cross verify with the bank once we receive these certified checks.
This is a guide to Certified Check. Here we also discuss the definition, cost, and how to get Certified Check along with its use. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –