What was the FW advice on how long to wait for a cashiers check to clear?

I read all the time where someone gets a cashiers check and deposits it in the bank and it is available the next day. That doesn’t mean it’s cleared. It can come back weeks later. What was the recommended wait time before turning over the goods to protect against fake or forged checks? This was a Fatwallet post at one time.

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From a dubious source? It could be up to three weeks. I wouldn’t accept it at all unless you trust the person or have easy recourse if it bounces. From some internet transaction? No way.

My partner has 7,000 reasons why one should never accept a cashiers check from a stranger :frowning:


Yes of course.

Three weeks? I thought it was two… especially now with ACH clearning multiple times per day.

I don’t think it has anything to do with the ach funds clearing. The issuing bank can come back later and claim it’s counterfeit or stolen out of someone’s account after the fact and reverse it. I don’t think there’s any period, after which, it’s irrevocable if it’s a fake check.

Do we have any bank managers here?


The safest thing has always been to redeem a check for cash at the issuing bank, making them decide on the spot to accept or reject it without longer term clawback issues. Online resources on scams suggest fake checks will be accepted and made available in days but take weeks to bounce and then cause you headaches.



Not possible if someone is coming from 1000 miles away.

I went through this when I sold a car to a guy in, of all places, Brooklyn. As agreed in advance, he sent me the check and I held onto the car and all paperwork until I was certain the funds were good. But how?

I went to my small, rural, bank and asked what they needed to guarantee the funds. This in order to avoid any possibility of later clawback. They charged me (I think it was) $25 for the guarantee and took roughly three weeks before they would agree to release guaranteed money into my account.

At first I thought they were charging me for the work involved in contacting the large NYC bank to ascertain the check was good. Nope. Got that wrong. All they ever did was to allow the passage of time, lots of time. Nothing else. When sufficient time had passed they became convinced the check was good and credited my account. Once my account had finally been credited I mailed the guy in Brooklyn his paperwork, released the car to the transport service he had hired, and we parted company on friendly terms.


Your post makes me wonder if there is a market opportunity to offer low-cost escrow services for small deals like a private party automobile sale. If I were in your buyer’s situation, I’d be nervous letting you hold onto my cash for three weeks… there are just so many scammers out there that would walk away with the cash and the car. A neutral third party would help a lot here.

I see a few services are indeed offered online, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as it could/should be.


They have or had something like it on Ebay. As a seller I would never go for anything like that. Buyer finds a real or imagined defect on a 10 or 20 year old car that has been shipped 2000 miles away, and then what? Agree to take $2000 off the price or no deal?

Include an “as is” provision? I feel like that’s pretty standard… it’s how real estate generally works and you will rarely (if ever?) see escrow companies go after a seller because the roof starts leaking a week after you take possession.

Require the cashiers check to be issued by bank with branches at the destination.

Escrow.com. It’s almost as old as eBay, was used by a few eBay sellers back in the day before paypal, and is apparently used by eBay for auto sales now.


I took a check from a guy years ago on a car, but I had him execute a sales agreement giving me the lien on it. Not that I would repo a $2500 car, but it’s better than nothing I guess.

I’m not quite sure why people are so afraid of just bringing cash when they’re appearing in person to get a car. Especially for amounts under 10k. I guess your average naive buyer is simultaneously afraid of cash and incorrectly trusting of cashiers checks…

Escrow is probably the thing to do when neither side trusts each other.

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Agree with the caution of accepting cashier’s check from an unknown party. There is a still a lot of fraud in this area. Had a relative last week almost get taken by a fraudster doing the old I overpaid you, just return the over payment to me. Fortunately, the relative was skeptical and asked for advice.


There are some pretty good counterfeits out there. The escrow companies that have a long, active history are pretty decent, but there are the occasional fake escrow companies.