You've probably written numerous personal checks if you have a checking account. But there are many different types of checks. From payroll checks to certified checks, you'll probably handle many types of checks in your lifetime. Understanding how these types of checks work and what they look like is essential so that you know what to use when offering a form of payment to various people.
Types of Checks Offered by Banks and Credit Unions
Although having a checking account is important, you don't have to have one to use many types of checks. A financial institution offers many options. Below is a list of nine check options.
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Personal checks are paper checks found in your checkbook and are connected to your checking account. You handwrite them as the payer to the payee. Personal checks can be used to pay for any item or service that accepts personal checks.
You purchase business checks through your issuing bank and link them to your business's checking account. You are then able to purchase goods or services for business purposes.
A cashier's check is a prepaid check that you can get from your financial institution. The issuer takes the money for the cashier's check out of your bank account. It is made out to the payee. It can be used instead of a personal check. The cashier's check is issued and signed by the financial institution
These are prepaid checks. The money still comes out of your bank account, but the financial institutions don't sign it. Instead, a certified check is signed by you.
Money orders are prepaid checks. They are often used by people who don't have a bank account and instead want to pay with cash. One provider of this type of check is Western Union.
These are prepaid checks that are used like cash when traveling. Traveler's checks are insured so they are safe.
Electronic checks, or e-Checks, are digital checks. You can issue an electronic check by using online banking through your bank account. This is a secure form of payment.
A counter check can only be cashed at a financial institution. Blank counter checks are usually in the bank or credit union lobby. You fill out the check using your account number to withdraw money from your checking account.
A bearer check doesn't have a payee. Instead, whoever is in possession of the check can cash it at a financial institution without the need for endorsement. This is used when there isn't a specific person that you want to write the check to.
The Different Formats of Checks
Some of these types of checks are handwritten, and some of them are printed.
- Handwritten: A personal check is a handwritten check.
- Printed: A certified check is printed. Another printed check is a money order. And money orders must be printed using a laser printer.
- Digital: E-checks are digital.
Other Ways to Transfer Funds
Two ways to transfer funds besides checks is to wire funds or to use Zelle. When you make wire transfers, you go to a third party, like Western Union, and send funds to a payee.
Zelle is an app that allows transfers. It will enable one participating financial institution to communicate with another financial institution. You can directly send funds from your account to the payee's account.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bank Checks
There are many FAQs when it comes to understanding the different types of checks. It's important to your personal finance that you know how to use different types of checks. Two of the most common questions are these.
Do Banks Guarantee Checks?
The two checks a bank will guarantee that they don't have non-sufficient funds (NSF) are a cashier's check and a certified check. Any NSF checks that are written, like a personal check or business check, are the responsibility of the payer. Remember that it's important to have enough funds in your bank account or you may be responsible for any overdraft fees.
Which Type of Check Is the Safest and Least Susceptible to Fraud?
The two safest and most secure types of checks are the cashier's check and the certified check.