A certified check will ensure that you have the funds to pay your dues. These are perfect for business transactions where a traditional bank check is not accepted. Using a certified check ensures that you'll never have a bounced check on your business checking account.
When you issue a certified check, the guarantee that the funds will be in your account when the payee presents the check isn’t coming from you; rather, it is coming from the bank. The banking institution is effectively telling the payee that no matter what time he comes to present the check, he will be paid the full amount written on the check.
How Does a Certified Check Work?
To begin with, the banking institution verifies that the amount on the face of the check is in fact available in your checking account. If it is, then the banking institution will set those funds aside. They are now known as certified funds. Under no circumstances will you be able to withdraw certified funds from your account except when the payee of the check you wrote comes and presents the check to the bank, and the funds are given to her.
It’s a neat solution that leaves the payee with a feeling of security, knowing that she will be paid her dues no matter what. As for you, it leaves you with a positive reputation because more people will be willing to do business with you, knowing that you can pay your dues.
How Do You Write a Certified Check?
The process of writing a certified check isn’t very different from the process for writing a normal check. In fact, you start out by writing a normal check as usual. The process of writing a normal check involves filling in the date on the check and then filling in the name of the payee and the amount of money. You need to fill out both the written and numerical amount fields, of course. You can also fill in a small memo in the memo field if you would like. Finally, you sign the bottom of the check.
Once you’re done writing the check, you take it to the bank where you have a checking account and hand it over to them, telling them that you would like the check to be certified. You will have to pay a small administration fee to get the check certified. This isn’t a large amount of money and will typically be anywhere between $1 and $5.
Once you have paid the fees, you have to give your consent to the bank to verify the funds in your bank account. This will involve checking your account balance. Once the bank determines that you do have the necessary amount to be able to fulfill your obligation on the check, they will set the certified funds on hold so that they cannot be involved in any other transaction except that for which they are intended. The check will be stamped by the bank as “certified,” and it will now be ready to give to the payee.
Other Kinds of Guaranteed Funds
Certified checks are not the only way to guarantee funds in your account when making a payment to a payee. You can also use cashier’s checks and money orders. The major difference between a cashier’s check and a certified check is that there is literally no limit on the amount of money you can write on a certified check. The only limit is the funds in your account. A cashier’s check, on the other hand, is printed by the bank and has both a lower and upper limit. Also, with a cashier’s check, the funds aren’t withdrawn from your account when the check clears; rather, they are withdrawn when you purchase the cashier’s check.
- GOBankingRates: What Is a Certified Bank Check?
- Citizen's Bank: What Is a Cashier’s Check?
- Superpages.com: What Is a Certified Check?
- eCheck.org: What Is A Certified Check?
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "I Deposited a USPS Money Order, Cashier's Check, Certified Check, or Teller's Check. When Can I Access This Money?" Accessed June 14, 2020.
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. "Avoiding Cashier's Check Fraud." Accessed June 13, 2020.
- HelpWithMyBank.gov. "The Bank Placed a Hold on a Cashier's Check That Later Turned Out To Be Fraudulent. Aren't Cashier's Checks Supposed To Be Honored Immediately?" Accessed June 14, 2020.
- Other ways to pay with guaranteed funds include money orders and cashier's checks. The benefit of a certified check is there is no limit on the amount you may write the check for, other than the limit of money in your account; money orders and cashier's checks generally have upper amount limits. Certified checks are often confused with cashier's checks. Both have guaranteed funds and cost a small fee; the difference is that cashier's checks are printed up by the bank, and the funds are withdrawn from your account at the time of purchasing the cashier's check instead of when it clears.
Nicky is a business writer with nearly two decades of hands-on and publishing experience. She's been published in several business publications, including The Employment Times and Business Idea Factory. She also studied business in college.