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A certified check is a check that has been verified by the bank the funds are drawn on as “good.” An officer of the bank certifies that the check writer had sufficient funds available and that the signature is genuine. As a result, anybody accepting the check can be confident that the check will not bounce or be returned, assuming the check is legitimate and still valid.

Obtaining a check: After verifying that a check is good, banks typically add a stamp and signature to the check, along with any conditions (like limiting the check’s validity for up to 60 days). The bank should then prevent the check writer from using or withdrawing the funds that funded the check.

Funds availability: Because certified checks are “official” checks, a portion of funds should be available within one business day after depositing the check, assuming you deposit the check in-person with a bank employee. In many cases, at least the first $5,000 is available, but banks can place a hold on amounts higher than that.

Certified vs. personal: With a standard personal check, you have no idea if the check writer has enough money in the bank to cover the payment. Even if the money was there at some point, the check writer can spend it before you’re able to deposit or cash the check. As a result, you might not get paid, and you might have to pay fees for depositing a bad check.

Other Forms of Certified Funds

A certified check isn’t the only way to pay with certified funds. Any instrument banks treat as “guaranteed” or “cleared” money might be acceptable. Every seller has their own criteria, but you might also be able to pay with:

1)A wire transfer
2)Money orders
3)A cashier’s check

Example of Certified Check

Rob has purchased a new home and needs to make an advance payment to finalize the deal. The brokerage agency requests a certified check for the payment. Rob makes out a check in favor of the broker and goes to the local branch of his bank. The officials there check available funds in his account and certify the check for a fee.



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