Bank Checks vs Personal Checks

Purchases can require different payment methods, there are some purchase that require bank checks, others require personal checks.  This is because personal and bank checks are completely different in their meaning.

What is a Bank Check?

A bank check is often referred to by many names. It can be called an official check, teller’s check, cashier’s check and a bank draft among many others. A bank check is often treated as cash because it is drawn upon a bank account and funds are withdrawn immediately. This is why a bank check is guaranteed funds.

The only time a bank check is not guaranteed is when it is found to be fraudulent. In this case, the bank generally has a two week window to revoke the funds from the check.

In order to get a bank check, an account holder has to ask for one inside a bank location. At that time, the funds will be withdrawn and the cashier as well as the account holder will sign the check.

What is a Personal Check?

A personal check is a form of payment that is drawn from an account, but not guaranteed until presented and cleared by the back at that exact time. In other words, a personal check has a level of risk for the person accepting it.

There are 8 main parts to a personal check. These parts include: contact information, date, check number, payee, amount that is issued, signature line, routing number and account number.   A personal check can be used on a daily basis to pay for items such as groceries, clothes, tickets to a show, bills and more. Although they have been declining in use in the past years, they are still a recognizable form of payment. Most research attributes this decline due to the convenience of using a debit card or credit card.

When Do You use a Bank Check vs. a Personal Check?

There are some situations that will only accept a bank check and refuse a personal check. The most common situation this happens in is when you are putting money down on a property, or paying rent.  Additionally, landlords often require security deposit along with first and last month’s rent to be a money order of cashier's check.  The landlord or seller wants to see guaranteed funds.

There are some auto dealer financers that require the final pay-off to be provided as a bank check as well.  If payment for insurance premiums or tax obligations is paid yearly, these establishments might also require a bank check to be sent versus a personal check.

In general, when deciding whether a bank check or a personal check is more appropriate for the situation, ask yourself if it is formal, legal or an everyday occurrence. If it is formal or legal, chances are you will be required to provide a bank check. If it is ordinary and part of an everyday lifestyle, you will more than likely be able to use a personal check.

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