Certified bank checks are issued by an account holder’s financial institution. The check is considered certified because the bank and customer are certifying there are funds available in the account and the check is authentic. However, fraudulent certified bank checks have been a large problem in recent years. To protect yourself from receiving a frequent check, learn how to trace a certified bank check.
Contact the bank that issued the check. Before accepting a certified bank check, you should do some investigative work. Contact the bank and ask to speak with someone who can assist in tracing a certified bank check. Provide the bank with the account holders name and check information so they can verify they issued the check.
Make sure to verify funds with the bank. Ask if the account holder’s balance is sufficient to cover the check. Although the bank can’t disclose the balance information, they can verify the check will be honored.
Double verify the check. It’s always a good idea to verify a certified bank check with two different employees. This will ensure the check is traced accurately.
Read the fine print on the check. Many banks include stipulations on the back of the check. For example, some checks must be cashed within 60 days of being issued. Make sure to understand these conditions to ensure the check will be honored.
Check the signature on the check. The last step in the process is checking the account holder’s signature. This will safeguard you against possible fraud. Ask to look at the account holder’s drivers license and compare the signature to the certified bank check.
Request a cashier’s check or wire transfer. There are fewer cases of forgery with these two options. When dealing with a buyer you don’t know, it may be wise not to accept a certified bank check.
If payment isn’t available on a certified bank check, you may be able to take legal action under UCC Sec. 3409.
- 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.
- Request a cashier's check or wire transfer. There are fewer cases of forgery with these two options. When dealing with a buyer you don't know, it may be wise not to accept a certified bank check.
- If payment isn't available on a certified bank check, you may be able to take legal action under UCC Sec. 3409.
Nicki Howell started her professional writing career in 2002, specializing in areas such as health, fitness and personal finance. She has been published at health care websites, such as HealthTree, and is a ghostwriter for a variety of small health care organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Portland State University.