Is It Unreasonable to Refuse a Bank Cheque?

I've sold my car to someone interstate for ~ $17K. They've deposited $500 into my bank account. They're flying up on Saturday to take the car and want to pay the balance with an ANZ bank cheque. A cursory search of the ANZ site finds this:

You can contact the ANZ Internet Banking team on 13 33 50 (International callers: +61 3 9683 8833) 24 hours a day, seven days a week to request an urgent stop payment on a lost or stolen bank cheque or to cancel a bank cheque you have purchased via ANZ Internet Banking.

This seems to fly in the face of "bank cheques are as good as (or better than) cash", which I've read in lots of places. I can't see any alternative to demanding cash or a bank transfer that's finalised before the weekend. Am I missing something? Is there an alternative?

EDIT: Though there a few who think it is unreasonable, there are quite a few more who think I shouldn't accept a bank cheque. There have been a few alternatives offered, pretty much none of which work easily and/or on the weekend. I've stuck to my guns and the buyers have agreed to bring cash.

Thanks for all the input.

Comments

    • +158 votes

      How, exactly, would I cancel my car after they've taken it?

      • +6 votes

        Reporting it stolen, not quite the same thing and insurance won't pay as you handed over the keys.

        • +10 votes

          And the buyer should have documentation for transfer of ownership

          • -11 votes

            @ESEMCE: Not if the cash is electronically transferred before pickup / handover.

        •  

          I don’t think police can do much if it’s a civil mater, which it would be if the cheque was cancelled, as the owner let them have the car

          • +7 votes

            @pwnd: That wouldn't be a civil matter. It would be fraud.

            • +1 vote

              @DisabledUser130521: This!! Insurance wouldn't touch that claim. Police will not do anything as you handed the keys over. It will be a legal proceeding for Fraud, although seller will have all the proof, it will still be costly and time consuming

      • +5 votes

        did they already deposit you $500 and has that amount gone into your account yet?.
        if you both have osko payments set up, it should be instant via bank deposits.
        The buyer will need increase their daily limit on their bank app and they can pretty much transfer you the remainder on the day instantly, as long as the buyer already has a history of depositing to your account…i.e. $500 deposit.

        • -2 votes

          Any amount over $1000.00 is not transferred instantly and is held for 24 hours unless they have transferred 1000+ to your account earlier.
          I just went through this a week ago. The payment can be cancelled within the 24 hours as well.

          • +2 votes

            @Viper123: Not sure how but I have transferred more than 2500 almost instantly through Osko between Commbank and Westpac

          •  

            @Viper123: must depend on the bank, i transferred 13k for a car with no previous dealings, they had to set up pay id at the time

      • -1 vote

        Reporting a car stolen in this case would border on false reporting (not sure of the technical term).

        •  

          They should change the law so an bad cheque makes the goods stolen.

          Bad cheques are a criminal offence

      •  

        Cashier cheque is your answer. Not get any other cheque to be sure buyer not dodgy.also you will fill legal form to transfer ownership so they would need provide license.

  •  

    or you could wait for the full value to be deposited before handing over the keys.
    As long as you get the signature and transfer papers sorted you should have enough evidence if they choose to do the dodgy.

    If in doubt put a GPS tracker in your car?

    • +3 votes

      I don't think 5-6 days off work, plus accommodation in Sydney will appeal to them.

      • +3 votes

        Well, you are the party that is selling the car so you can dictate the terms.
        It's not your fault that they're interstate.

  • +4 votes

    Hmmm tough one just some ideas, take a photo of his licence and the signed cheque in the same photo to make sure when you write a receipt that his details match the ones on his licence and maybe a friend with you would be better aswell good luck and well for me in this modern day i would expect a bank transfer not a check , so i wouldnt accept it .

  • +32 votes

    Ask the fellow to meet you at a branch of your bank.

    Deposit the cheque together.

    If successful hand him keys.

    • +8 votes

      My bank, Macquarie, has one branch, which isn't open on Saturday, and even if it was, successfully depositing the cheque isn't the issue. The funds won't be available until the cheque clears, so the issue is the cheque not being honoured when it gets back to ANZ, which will be later next week.

      • +2 votes

        I think banks will do an expedited clearance M-F for a fee.
        I dunno about Saurdays…

        • +1 vote

          And if buyer's bank is open Sat, maybe just meet him there to withdraw..

          I think banks will do an expedited clearance M-F for a fee.

          didn't know that …

          • +1 vote

            @capslock janitor: it's not guaranteed sadly…there's a cut off time and generally its before 2pm on a weekday. Unless there's another process (source: personal experience, paid for $20 special clearance and still took 3 days -.-)

      • -4 votes

        The funds won't be available until the cheque clears

        Pretty sure that's not how bank cheques work

        • +10 votes

          It is how they work. Usually still takes 3 working days for the cleared funds to be available in your account.

          • +34 votes

            @djkelly69: Pretty sure a bank cheque means then money is held in escrow by the bank, when you make the cheque, the funds in your bank are taken and applied to the cheque, it's as good as cash. What you actually want to do is go to the bank with the guy when he makes the cheque so you know it's legit, then you can deposit it. If it takes a few days to appear in your account that may be the case, but you'll get your money.

            I know this because I paid for my last car that way, the seller insisted

            It seems most people here don't know the difference between a cheque from a chequing account and a bank check. The bank cheque is secured by the bank. The bank won't let you cancel a cheque without being able to produce the cheque itselfz or creating a case for fraud. If it turns out you are creating a fraud case to defraud the bank or a car seller, it's an offence

        • +11 votes

          I like how people who don't know how bank cheques work are downvoting you.

          • +2 votes

            @caitsith01: I only just noticed this :) oh well, you can only try

            Haha, they downvoted you too

            •  

              @Jackson: It's incredible how people on the internet act like authorities on issues when they are just flat out wrong. Anyway…

      • +17 votes

        The funds won't be available until the cheque clears, so the issue is the cheque not being honoured when it gets back to ANZ, which will be later next week.

        The buyer has paid for this financial instrument which is backed by the issuing bank.

        The bank has the funds, not the private account within the bank per personal cheques.

      • -1 vote
        • +2 votes

          Except you have to deal with AusPost bureaucracy. I have seen MO go wrong, then you have to fill an enquiry form and then it is a blackhole. Even the AusPost staff don't really know what exactly happens they just send the form to one of their offices and then ask you to wait for them to contact you.

        •  

          Voted for this. At least this works in Op's case. You cant cancel the MO straight away. You have to fill out the form and it takes around 10 working days. When deposit a MO to your bank, money is cleared instantly, plus you can do it in the weekend. The downside is that the buyer has to buy 4 MOs which costs $44 all up

      • +5 votes

        The funds won't be available

        Simple! Do not part with your asset until you have cleared funds in your bank account. Not a screenshot, not a cheque — $$$ showing up correctly within your account.

        Anything less, you risk falling prey to a scammer.

      •  

        Just an FYI, you can sign the cheque over to someone else. My partner is with Macquarie too and when she got a cheque we went into CBA and signed it into my account.

        •  

          Depends on the cheque and whether it is negotiable. Bank cheques are typically not.

    •  

      i like this one

    •  

      the other advantage of meeting at a bank is that they have CCTV everywhere if anything goes dodge.

  • -1 vote

    If your buyer is happy with the Car and the ID etc checks (lol) out, drive them down to the ATM of your choice and deposit the Cheque and keep the receipt which is date/time stamped.

    That way you have a time and a date. Any report of lost or stolen cheque after that time is going to
    seem quite suspect.

    • +17 votes

      Sure, it'll seem suspect. Meanwhile, they have my car interstate and I'm stuck hassling my bank to hassle their bank to get the money. No thanks.

      Plus, they could report the cheque lost before they come and give it to me.

      • +21 votes

        As the seller you have 100% choice of who you sell to. If you don't like a cheque, ask for cash. If they dont bring cash, no sale.

  • +8 votes

    Cash is the best alternative to a bank cheque.

    • +1 vote

      Would it not be better for the funds to be transferred—and have cleared—into my account? Or are you saying better for both of us, because neither can scam the other?

      • +3 votes

        Correct, less risk for both parties if the buyer brings cash. I've sold a couple of cars between 10-20k and the buyers were happy to bring cash. Also you can deposit it any time using a smart ATM if you have an account with one of the big 4 banks.

      • +9 votes

        I would actually think a verified bank cheque is safer than a funds transfer, funds transfers can easily be reversed if declared as fraudulent or use of a stolen account. a bank cheque means he has had to purchase the cheque from the bank and they have the funds and you can verify with them that the cheque is valid. Personally no way in hell would I be travelling somewhere with 17k in cash, but perhaps others are less risk adverse.

        •  

          funds transfers can easily be reversed if declared as fraudulent or use of a stolen account.

          Source please?

          • +2 votes

            @John Kimble: If the scammer uses a stolen account you will be legally required to return the money. People have been caught out with car payments in such a manner (my mate from uni being one).

          • -1 vote

            @John Kimble: I don't have a source, cause I cbf, but banks can definitely reverse fraudulent transactions - it's not difficult to look this up.

            Using stolen accounts is a common way to scam people.

            • -1 vote

              @Harold Halfprice:

              Using stolen accounts is a common way to scam people

              Yeah, but it usually doesn't involve flying interstate to buy a car off somone with it…way too much effort and risk involved…why bother with all that when you can scam from the comfort of your own home (possibly in Nigeria).

              • +2 votes

                @John Kimble:

                but it usually doesn't involve flying interstate to buy a car off somone with it

                That's a different argument though… and the same applies to a transaction made with cash or a bank cheque.

                You were questioning whether bank transfers can be reversed if declared fraudulent - the answer is yes. Definitely. A bank transfer is by far the least secure method of paying.

    • -10 votes

      I wouldn't carry 17k in cash around Sydney. People are killed over much less than that in the gangland capital of Australia.

  • +46 votes

    Theoretically they could try to cancel the bank cheque after giving it to you, but it is not as simple as just saying you lost it and the money appears back in your account. I believe there are a range of things required, usually including giving a stat dec to say it hasn't been handed over or presented, etc.

    Even if someone was to commit fraud in this way, you/the bank/police would have a lot of details about the person/s who did it.

    While bank cheques are not perfect, they are easily the best option. Think about how many threads there are on here about bank transfer scams (many), and how many about bank cheque scams (zero AFAIK).

    • +20 votes

      Exactly, you can't just cancel the cheque if it's not in your possession. You need to report it as lost or stolen. And you have to do that with a bank, who likely know exactly who you are.

      Then when whoever you gave it to goes to cash it in, the bank is going to know, and they're going to start asking questions. It has to be the worst method of trying to scam someone because it's traceable.

      I reckon you're more likely to get counterfeit bills or have your cash stolen than having someone try cancel their bank cheque on you.

      • +1 vote

        But if they've already deposited $500 directly into the account, why can't they do that with the rest of the money?

        • +4 votes

          Because it's a much larger amount and the risk is therefore proportionately higher.

          Every car I've sold I've been happy to take a bank transfer as a deposit.

          But the remainder in either cash or bank cheque. My preference is bank cheque simply due to the inconvenience of counting, checking and carrying 10s of thousands of dollars.

    • +41 votes

      This is complete crap. They are still used for millions or billions of dollars worth of property settlements every day.

      • +2 votes

        Are lawyers/trusts involved with selling cars worth less than millions?

        •  

          and vehicles

        • +1 vote

          Are lawyers/trusts involved with selling cars worth less than millions?

          Pretty sure they are. I mean lawyers drive cars and presumably sell them second-hand too.

          Also pretty sure there are a decent number of cars that have been transferred to trusts following a person's death.

          So the answer to your question is a definite "yes". If only now the question made some sort of sense in the first place.

        • +1 vote

          Of course -

          Mining Trucks and other vehicles,
          Construction vehicles,
          Road work vehicles,
          Work vehicles,
          Fleet vehicles,

          Insolvency lawyers deal with this stuff all the time.
          Funds could be deposited into their trust account, etc.

      • +1 vote

        I think that is because when you are dealing with such large amounts of money, it's harder to scam. Especially considering the property is stationary and you can't move it away lol.

      • +4 votes

        A bit harder to re-birth a building compared to a car.

        • +1 vote

          I understand your point (and above points), but this reply was to someone saying bank cheques are not worth a cracker now, which is clearly wrong.

          But regarding your points - on the couple of occasions I have purchased a new car from a dealer, it was using a bank cheque (if fact one was a credit union corporate cheque). The dealer had no hesitation in accepting them.

          • +1 vote

            @djkelly69: I wouldn't hesitate to accept a bank cheque either but of course will verify the buyer.

          •  

            @djkelly69: Middle of buying a car atm. The dealership accepts bank cheques but won't hand possession of the car to me until the bank cheque clears into their account.

            They said the best method for me to get the car on Friday is bank transfer into their account.

            • +1 vote

              @Name: That's a bit peculiar. When we bought our car a few years ago, we drove off the lot after handing over a bank cheque. It was very much acceptable by the dealership - and it was for a sum significantly higher than the one in question here.

              • +1 vote

                @ThadtheChad: Yup same. Ours was for $61k at a BMW dealership. I originally asked to pay by bank cheque and the person said sure but needs to wait to clear.

                It might just be depending on whether a dealership has been stung by it in the past or not.

      • -13 votes

        Bank Cheques were supposed to be like cash,but they're not anymore. When I got divorced, my ex and I sorted out our funds amicably and I had some $ks still to give her. I sold some land and was paid with bank cheque which I paid in to my account at Suncorp. Then I wrote a personal Cheque for the amount owing and gave it to my ex. She went shopping and a couple of days later complained that my cheque had bounced.
        I went to Suncorp to find out what was going on and was told, "Oh, cheques take 3 working days to clear". Hello !!! Bank Cheque like cash, says I. "Oh no, all cheques take 3 days.". So I closed my account immediately, still copped te $50 fine, and opened a new account elsewhere.
        No more Bank Cheques thank you.

        • +5 votes

          I have been dealing with bank cheques daily for the last 20 years, and they have always taken 3 working days to clear. Some banks offer special clearances or similar to get the funds earlier, but even then they don't guarantee how much faster it will. Can't speak for further back than that.

          Bank cheques are like cash in some ways (eg. that they are as good as it), but not in that they clear instantaneously.

  • -1 vote

    Paypal?
    What about a Square Credit card reader?
    Yes there are fees which would amount to @$340 plus the $60 cost, but I'll rather have $16600 in my account than zero $.
    They will probably request a lower sale amount on the documentation, to reduce Rego cost/stamp duty etc which is quite standard, so have a separate letter/receipt, acknowledging they are paying $17000 to you.

    • +2 votes

      Or use an Escrow service like https://www.escrow.com/
      Sure there are fees involved, always are.

      •  

        Whabbout in Crypto

        • +2 votes

          No problems to verifiably transact in crypto.

          But if the buyer is not familiar enough (likely), would be better to say cash only.

    • +2 votes

      Chargebacks…

    • +1 vote

      What is wrong with good old cash?

      • -1 vote

        Anything more than 10k needs forms filled out for Anti Money laundering doesn't it ??

        • -1 vote

          Probably when you go to deposit it, you can just say it was from selling a car, surely? Who cares if you go on an AML/CTF list.. they will quickly realise you're not money laundering. Especially if there's a +17k cash deposit roughly the same time as a new car purchase, perhaps to a dealership or other person…

        •  

          The bank files a report and AUSTRAC looks for evidence of other transactions you may be making.

          A single transaction of $17k is highly unlikely to result in any enquiries whatsoever.

          I have deposited cash amounts in excess of $10k on one or two occasions, no questions asked.

          •  

            @Seraphin7: Actually they won't question you, the transaction just gets put in the AUSTRAC system/database.

            •  

              @IHatePeople: Indeed. My point is, no one has questioned me. Not AUSTRAC, not anyone. A couple of one off transactions doesn't turn up on any action lists.

  •  

    If you can do a bank check, you should be able to do a bank transfer as it means you got the funds. Usually , a bank transfer with a big amount will take 72hrs to clear as they usually withhold the money to make sure it s not a mistake or fraudulent. I would recommend you to do a 100 pt check ( 3 valid document with same name on it: driver licence, medicare, bank card,…) . Take a video of when everything is exchange. Do it in front of a justice peace or even ask them to get the bank check at any ANZ branch here with you as it will be hard for them to say it was stolen afterwards if the transaction happen directly in front of the teller…there are lot of scammer out there. So always good to take some extra precautions.

    • +1 vote

      there are lot of scammer out there.

      Buyer of the car would be foolish to transfer money, before taking possession of car.

      ask them to get the bank check at any ANZ branch here

      However -

      They're flying up on Saturday