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I am selling a car and am considering receiving payment either in cashier's check or money order. I would like to receive the payment right at the moment of transaction. Would either of these two methods guarantee the safe and swift receipt of money? Does in both cases, the issuing bank, rather than the buyer of eiter the cashier's check or the money order, assumes the responsibility of and provides the guarantee of paying the said fund? Is there a difference in safety between the two instruments?

Is it safer to deposit the cashier's check or money order in person at my bank or using my bank app on the iPhone scanning the said instrument?

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  • Do you have a local bank, or will you have to deposit it using your phone’s bank app? If the bank app, then it’s restrictions may make the question moot.
    – RonJohn
    Feb 18, 2023 at 21:44
  • @RonJohn: I just added the question regarding the phone bank app to my original question. Can you elaborate on why the app would render the question moot?
    – Hans
    Feb 18, 2023 at 22:25
  • Your bank’s app might not allow deposit of money orders.
    – RonJohn
    Feb 19, 2023 at 1:51
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    My bank app does not allow deposit of either money orders or cashiers' checks. I guess they want to see the various security guarantees up front, or alternatively the signature-checking algorithms for personal checks don't know what to do with them. They wouldn't credit my cash deposits either no matter how many times I uploaded photos of the bills. 😜 Feb 19, 2023 at 6:41
  • @AndrewLazarus as opposed to cash, checks and money orders are processed as facsimile, the originals are no longer being shipped around the country for verification. That includes cashier's checks. So while your bank may want to see the security features - they don't have to, and I personally have been able to deposit both cashier's checks and money orders through apps with no issues on multiple occasions.
    – littleadv
    Feb 19, 2023 at 6:52

2 Answers 2

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Money orders, cashier's checks, certified checks, draft orders - these are different things that are, in essence, the same for you. You can deposit them all just as you would any other check.

Money orders are issued by postal agencies (USPS, Western Union, Moneygram - the most common). Cashier's checks are issued by banks. Certified checks are issued by credit unions. Drafts are issued by government agencies.

In all these cases the issuer is on the hook, not the person giving them to you. For that reason they are sold for cash or some other way of guaranteed funds, and in any case the sale of the instrument is the transaction between the issuer and the buyer, not you.

The risk is with fraudulent checks. This is a very common scam over the internet - someone mails you a cashier's check and then asks for refund or money back under some pretense. It takes a while for the fraudulent checks to be identified as such and bounced, it may take weeks or even months.

This scam would rarely work in an in-person transaction using a traceable and easily retrievable asset like a car. If someone gives you a forged check for a car - they'd be pretty easy to find.

To be on the safe side you can agree with the buyer to meet at the bank and watch them buy the cashier's check that they'd then give to you in exchange for the title. I've actually done that once as a seller.

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The person buying the CC or MO has given the money to the issuing organization (bank, post office, grocery store, etc), so that organization must pony up the money.

What other purpose is there for buying such an instrument?

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    Im sure the OP knows nothing of these matters, and is hence asking the questions.
    – Fattie
    Feb 19, 2023 at 16:17

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