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.


  • +1

    I’ve sold plenty of cars to interstate buyers and this always is a conundrum. Who trusts who! I usually encouraged weekday changeover and asked for cash if weekend was the only option (unless they were willing to transfer clear funds).

    My understanding is Bank Cheques are no longer as good as cash and are still subject to clearance.

    My last property transactions (Jan this year) required cleared funds prior to settlement - no bank cheques!

    There was a case in NZ quite some years ago where a bank cheque was altered from $25.00 to $25,000.00 and used to purchase a car privately. The car was then on sold immediately. By the time the cheque bounced, the car was in the hands of the new owner who had legal title and the original seller had no claim over it (his claim was with the first buyer who paid with a fraudulent cheque).

    Whilst the OPs buyer sounds genuine and trustworthy, what if the car breaks down on the way home (or they get buyers remorse)?

    • +2

      Nothing has changed with Bank Cheques.

      Yes they can forged as cash can be counterfeited.

  • +3

    I like how the OP trusts everything the seller has told them and then is worried about the bank cheque.
    I'm sure I've read about more instances of cash being handed over for a vehicle/laptop etc. and then that person being robbed minutes later.
    Thats a much easier crime to commit with no trail to a bank at all.

    Surely you need to do a transfer of ownership on the rego papers. I'm not sure how every state works but last time i did it it required signatures on the paperwork by both parties, so there is evidence you sold a car for in return for the bankers cheque.
    I'd be asking to see their license and grabbing those details.

    Also if the guy turns up with cash and its all $100 notes would you even be able to tell if they are counterfeit or not?

    The human mind can do strange things like convince yourself something is less safe than something else.

  • Easy, go to their bank when they arrive with them in person.
    Ask them to make a rtts real time telegraphic transfer to your account. It will cost them an additional $30 and funds will be in your account within 15min -2 hrs.

    Offer to pay the $30 as compensation for your paranoia.

  • +6

    Interesting situation. As a buyer if a seller is asking me to arrive with $17k cash I'd be pretty nervous about whether it is a scam whether I'm about to be robbed. Last car I bought privately for more than this was done via a bank cheque with no issues. I actually had a car loan for it and a bank cheque in the sellers name was the only way the bank would advance the funds.

  • That’s the trouble with the banking system. They should have instant transfer within our local banks. That will solve the delays which are too long in between transactions!

    • PayID was meant to solve that issue.

  • You have made the right choice for you, there is an old saying that Cash is King.

  • yikes. you are a little to paranoid I think.

  • Bank Cheque is as good as cash. It's not a personal cheque

  • -1

    I don't think you're listening to much in this thread. A bank cheque is just as safe as cash.

    Very difficult to cancel, and the bank will not cancel it if the car catches fire 100m after they've driven off. They don't cancel them based on them calling up to cancel.

    Just take the cheque and move on in life.

  • -1

    I think u can solve this by a couple of ways. First and foremost, since neither of u are "trustworthy" parties, i would not recommend using a cheque, as it can be bounced if the account have insufficient funds. You can either have him direct debit the funds into your account like with deposit or have him, for a small fee, get a demand draft from the bank.
    A demand draft cannot be dishonored because the full payment has already been made for it unlike a cheque which can be dishonored if the bank account from which the cheque has been issued has insufficient balance

    • is demand draft = rtgs / rtts ?

    • +3

      Bank cheques can't bounce.

  • +1

    I understand that, contrary to popular belief, a bank cheque can be cancelled, so it isn't as good as cash.
    Never trust anyone to do the right thing anymore - when cleared funds hit your account, hand over the transfer, not before.
    Always consider the worst possible scenario - eventually it will happen, even if you get lucky 99% of the time.

    General advice - this is particularly so with irresponsible marketplaces such as Gumtree - who not only seem to have no fraud controls, they also do nothing if things do go wrong.

  • I use ANZ as my primary bank account. You can transfer up to $25000 in one go if you have set up the "ANZ Shield" (2FA app), and increased your limit online. This transfer would be via Osko or SCT, and would be instant to any bank that supports Osko or SCT for incoming payments. This is almost any bank at this point.

    I would suggest your buyer set this all up, and then transfer you all the money at the time. It should be instant.

    • I reckon Osko etc could still be reversed if they claim fraudulent/stolen.

      • uhhh no, no it can't. What makes you think that? Go ask any of the people who got scammed on Gumtree…

      • I reckon Osko etc could still be reversed if they claim fraudulent/stolen.

        This is not correct at all.

    • Be warned that just because most banks support Osko these days does not mean they will actually use Osko to process the transaction.

      I had to send a few large sums of funds from one of my Commbank accounts to my new offset account because we refinanced.
      The Osko transactions were instant and the ones which didn't get processed through Osko took between 1-3 days.

      I called Commbank and they said that app payments are generally Osko but netbank transfers through their page sometimes get processed using the old system.

      • Yep im aware of that. But specifically for ANZ this wont be an issue, payments are instant through netbanking and mobile, and to payids or bsb/account number.

  • +1

    I sold a car for $25k. I made it clear to the seller on his test drive that I won't accept anything other than cash. Met up a few days later inside the bank and the transaction went as smooth as silk.

    Also, banks don't just cancel bank cheques without you jumping through hoops. As someone else said, they require a stat dec from you as to why you're cancelling. If you want to lie on a stat dec , what's the worst that could happen.

    • lie on a stat dec , what's the worst that could happen.

      Now I'm curious, someone tell me.

      • I would but my Google is broken :-(

      • +1

        Up to 4 years jail.

        Then possibly more for the fraud.

  • Only 2 times I accepted other form of payment other then cash. One was 40k check from ADF, issued by the govt after buyer took out a loan. Called them up and plain asked them about it but I also had to fill out a form to get the cheque made out in my name. Its basically finance through his employment. Other time was selling a bike to a mate. I have shipped 2 car interstate, always wait for it to clear before shipping. 1 person didnt even call me on the phone, all through email. Other guy was on the phone to for about an hour since there was a decent amount to go through (about the cars mods)

    On the other end, a mate flew to SA and drove back for a car and paid via bank cheque but that may have been on a business account

  • I think it's crazy to ask for $17k in cash. If they put a stop on the bank cheque, you would have EVIDENCE for a NCAT claim. If they or their associate, or a completely unrelated party, bonked you on the head around the corner, you would have no evidence.

    • -1

      bonked you on the head


      • +2

        It’s the sound your head makes when hit with a stick

  • +1

    Has anyone even suggested PayID? PayID is instant so you can hand over the keys at the very same time. Also no risk of having to carry that much cash around.

    • Has anyone even suggested PayID?


      Did you search?

    • Has anyone even suggested PayID?

      Bank transfers can bounce. PayID transactions too.

      Bank Cheques and waiting for it be cleared sounds like a great option.

    • You have confused PayID and Osko. They are two different services.

  • +2

    Accept the bank cheque, it really is your safest option.

    • -1

      How is a bank cheque safer than cash?

      • +5

        You can get robbed or lose cash.

        Also the buyer could get robbed or lose it, or even be concerned that you might rob him etc.

        Not a good idea to walk around with $17k in cash.

        • You can do things to mitigate the chance of getting robbed or losing cash. Don't meet up in a dark alley, for one.

  • +1

    Whats the car details

    Is it a run of the mill falcodore (suspicious) or a desirable car for someone to go to this bother

  • +1

    Try getting a bank cheque for $10 and try cancelling it without the cheque. You will realize its not as easy as it says in ANZ website to cancel/stop a bank cheque!

  • +3

    I'm more surprised you can be bothered to manually count $17k in cash rather than look up how a bank cheque works

  • Yes*

    First side note, a bank cheque is nearly as good as cash, but you've done your research into why there's an off chance it may become void, I am surprised to hear this is possible, IF that text you quote is indeed referring to actual bank cheques

    *My understanding, prior to reading your post, was the great part of a bank cheque was it was an item where it had both the value of a personal cheque, but the assurance of an entire bank versus an individual, therefore, it's guaranteed by the bank and is therefore extremely reliable.

    I am confused why or how a "bank cheque" could be cancelled, other than a bank literally going bust. If not for that, this to me goes against the entire point of a bank cheque (as I understand it) and instead it may be poorly worded on their website, and instead mean a "personal bank cheque", which if the case makes complete sense.

    My advice is two things, contact ANZ to confirm if this disclaimer is for personal bank cheques only not actual "bank cheques" and for the seller to provide the bank cheque ahead of time and for you to release the car and paperwork to them once the funds clear (but the latter is assuming it is some sort of personal cheque basically).

    • +2

      Well almost anything can be cancelled if there is crime involved.

      The buyer could potentially claim the check was stolen and try to get it canceled, but this would be a fairly serious crime and easily linked to him.

      Police would be shaking their heads in disbelief as they pop the handcuffs on lol

  • +1

    Houses worth 100x more than your car used to be bought and sold on a daily basis with bank cheques. If there was an issue with bank cheques, they wouldn't have done it for decades.

    Now, imagine if people could just call up and cancel a bank cheque like you've suggested during a settlement…

    • +1

      Well you cant really take a house away with you on the run, unlike a car. If a random interstate buyer turned up with a fake bank cheque and took your car away there is not much you can do to get it back.

  • -1

    bank cheques are similar to cash except its safer than carrying whole lot of cash with you. Meet up with him in your bank and deposit the cheque in your account.

  • +9

    I have tried to cancel a bank cheque in the past because it was stolen.
    The police had the cheque and apprehended the offender so I knew it was stolen and where it was.
    The police wouldn't release the cheque until after the court case for the offender (this took many months).
    If I recall correctly, despite having all this information, I still needed to wait 8 weeks for the bank to cancel / reissue the bank cheque in case it reappeared.
    In summary - a bank cheque is a reasonable degree of protection and stronger than the OP implies.

    • +2

      The biggest idiocy on part of the OP (and a lot of commenters here) is that they read the following:

      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.

      ..and assume that it's guaranteed that a bank cheque can be stopped. The statement doesn't mean "call us and we'll stop it", its more of a "call us and we'll initiate the process and investigations to stop it".

      There is a lot of due-diligence and verification performed before it can be stopped (unless you physically have the cheque with you and have a change of mind).

  • +4

    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.

    Seriously? This is despite people who discredit bank cheques get downvoted to oblivion and people who say it's safe get upvoted?

    Confirmation bias much…

    • +4

      Yeh OP just wants people to confirm he was being reasonable when he wasn't.
      From the buyer perspective, carrying $17,000 is dangerous. In addition, there isn't much stopping the seller from taking the $17,000 and saying "What $17,000?" with no record of the transaction.

  • I was looking to buy a house in 2015. Everything was auction, so you needed a 10% deposit (negotiated to 5%) at the fall of the hammer, so we were talking $150k+.

    In the North Shore of Sydney, all the real estate agents refused to allow electronic transfer, and would only accept cheques (personal cheques were fine).

    It was so weird. I was really interested in one place, and had to spend two weekends negotiating with the real estate agent to accept electronic transfer, with the complication of a maximum of $100k per day, so needed to do two transfers, one Saturday, one Sunday. That really made them nervous for some reason.
    I was blown out of the water on auction day, so it didn’t eventuate.

    I ended up having to get a cheque book like an old idiot.

    • Businesses generally hate dealing with trust accounts in general because of the strict reporting rules. Imagine having to deal with 10+ of them at every auction…. With most of the eventuating to nothing

  • Cash is king

  • If they were to attempt to cancel the bank cheque, which as has been pointed out is not a simple matter. Title exchange of the car would be invalid as the payment would have bounced. It is technically a civil matter as you have handed over the keys and the buyer is driving the car with your permission and knowledge. However it is also fraud and this is criminal. Even if the police did not lay charges ( unlikely at 17K ) you may have the right to have the car repossessed, which requires court action and is not that simple but easier than most other assets.
    You can view their DL, check the photo and record details.
    Assuming the cheque can be verified as real it's a very safe instrument.
    Cash is of course better but many people don't like carrying around tens of thousands in cash.
    Bottom line it's unlikely that a scam will occur with a BC under these circumstances.

  • +1

    I wouldn't be worried about the cheque being cancelled.

    I'd be more worried about it being a counterfeit cheque. Not many people would actually know the difference.
    Ring your bank and discuss what happens when you deposit the bank cheque - are they able to verify it is real?

    • Make them login to their bank account on your phone and show them where the bank drew the cash for the cheque

      • +1

        No way I'd input my banking credentials into someone elses device. even with 2FA.

  • Question - can he PayID you or is it capped to $5k or similar?

    • I've transferred 15k+ using PayID, def not capped at 5k.

    • Have payid 50k to myself between bank accounts

    • PayID limit is set by your bank. Some banks have a lower limit for fraud prevention. ING is the worst at a measly $1000.

  • Things should be handed over only when payments are received by seller. It should be non negotiable.
    So, just ensure you have money in your account before handing over the vehicle and papers whether it is bank cheque, transfer or paypal.
    Few things you can do to protect yourself in bank cheque is have IDs of buyer which may help police in case of fraud.

  • It's not necessarily unreasonable but you can mitigate the risk by other facts such as having a signed receipt of sale for each party to keep a copy of and exchanging copies of one another's ID (e.g. drivers license) so that if fraud does occur there is enough paperwork to rectify the issue via the legal system.

  • money order is like a cheque, (in physical appearance) but there is no clearing time. its just like cash

  • +1

    I've come to the concluding there is no 100% safe way to transfer a car privately. There is always some risk. For example carrying cash is a risk for the buyer and an additional risk that he has no proof he paid for the car. You can go to the bank together but do you do the car transfer or bank transfer first?

  • Previously when I've sold cars where the buyer has paid with a bank cheque, we went to the bank together and deposited it before I handed over the keys. I'd always take a photo of their licence, and prepare two copies of a receipt that we'd both complete and sign as well.

  • +7

    Another point about "Bank Cheques" (which is a 'special' cheque that is printed at the bank in front of a teller & signed by the Banks Manager), is that the creator actually HAS TO specify the 'Payee's name' & record it with the bank - i.e. you.
    Money is withdrawn immediately from their account and given to the Bank as a temporary 3rd party trust - it's gone from them right there and then.

    If the creator tried to cancel the cheque - it'll be really hard for them to justify 'stolen' or 'misplaced' if:
    1) you have a 'Sale of Contract' signed by both parties specifying the exact purchase amount & saying you've accepted payment via 'Bank Cheque'
    2) AND the bank cheque was deposited into a Bank Account where the Name of the Account MATCHES the 'Payee' they specified when creating the Bank Cheque in the first place - backed up strongly with 100pts of ID when the account was created.

    ALSO - Bank Cheques have some kind of easily verifyable anti-counterfeit technology - in the past I've had thermal ink (i.e. rub this area and the text should disappear). Not perfect, but rules out any dodgy high schooler attempt to fake cheques.

    ALSO - I've seen dealers call up the bank and ask if a cheque is real - not sure if us plebs have access to such functionality without a cost, but worth looking up.

    TLDR: As others have said, a 'Bank Cheque' in Australia is not a 'Personal Cheque'.

  • Ask to be paid via crypto to avoid this 'chargeback' problem

  • -3

    Don't buy into the buyer's bs.. Take instant deposit or cash only

  • -2

    hell no….
    tell him to bring cash/instant xfer or no deal.

  • Do a car bill of sale, with 2 copies and that you both signed. Take photos of this with their ID, and deposit the bank cheque together in branch or use your parents account.

    In your case with a bank only having one branch, doing payID/transfer would be safe too, since a deposit has been done previously. Declaring fraud/wrong transfer will be a stupid move from the seller since everything is traceable.

    If you are 100% risk averse, ask for cash and look for an automatic ATM deposit. Then again don't be too stressed, people buy and sell houses with bank cheques.

  • Just ask for cash simples

  • +1

    I've only ever sold and bought cars with bank cheque. I think you're reading too much into this lmao

  • +3

    I haven’t read the whole thread, but if you are that untrusting of this person (who appears to be doing everything right) why on earth would you want them to give you cash?

    Suddenly they then know you are sitting there as a target with thousands of dollars of cash on them.

    Some big bastard turns up 5 mins after the transaction and threatens you unless you hand over the cash. The buyer is in the clear because the robbery is separate to the car transaction.

    • This is a far more likely and unpleasant scenario. OP doesn't seem to be worried about counterfeit cash either. Don't know why they asked the question when their mind was already made up.

  • +1

    I think a bank cheque is the accepted way to buy a car.
    $17k cash is a ridiculous request.
    Also, what is the cutoff amount for all you who demand cash? Still want cash for a $60k car? $90k? $150k?

    • Perfectly legal to have a $150k transaction in cash, and it just will be tracked, and but a car won't be a concern at all

      • Oh I wasn't questioning the legality of it, just the sanity of it.

        • How is it any more insane than spending $150k on a car?

    • -1

      It's perfectly reasonable on a Monday if you can go the bank together.

      It's completely unreasonable as a take-it-or-leave-it on a Saturday when it can't be cashed for two days.

      Bankers cheques are to protect your money when you need to physically transport it because you can cancel them. They're not in any way equivalent to cash and they don't do anything for the seller when handed over, because they can be easily forged or cancelled.

  • -3

    if the cheque works and the money lands, then hand the keys over.

    Just like a bank transfer, you wait until you have the money.

    Otherwise tell them to take a hike

  • OP has ghosted.

  • Any advantage to opening an ANZ account and doing the transfer at an open branch as that's where the bank cheque is being issued from?

  • +1

    The most common fraud with bank cheques is using counterfeit ones not cancelling them after hand over.

    You really have to make a judgement based on the person's appearance and behaviour.

    • You really have to make a judgement based on the person's appearance and behaviour.

      Playing Russian Roulette with tens of thousands of dollars.

  • If you can find an ANZ branch that's open on Saturdays, you can go with them to watch the teller transfer the funds from their account to yours (you provide them the details). If it's a big four bank, then it should be immediate or close enough. And by doing it through a teller they won't be able to cancel the payment.

  • Cash is king for a reason.

  • This is the absolute definition of how a good con trick works.

    Place the Patsy in the position of buying a reasonable sounding story and take then far enough down the road that they don't want to seem rude or unreasonable when the 'hitch' (I've got a bankers cheque and it's a Saturday) is presented, then take the prize.

    How would you even know if the bankers cheque is real? It's just paper.

    I wouldn't touch this setup with a barge pole.

    Frankly, I very much doubt that your buyer is even flying in. Sounds completely Sus to me.

  • This bank cheque has your name on it.

    You think they might make the cheque in your name, then ring ANZ to stop the cheque saying it is lost.

    I would think ANZ would not stop it without contacting you first (as your name is on it). Maybe ring ANZ and ask them.

    Also, I guess you and the buyer could find an ANZ bank which is open on Saturday and ask ANZ to verify theIr own bank cheque. (Counterfeit check is the concern… I mean do you know what one looks like?).

    Broadway ANZ is open Saturday 10am to 2pm.
    But I’m not sure how helpful they will be….

    “ Saturday Sales only - no telling services ATMs only”

    ….whatever that means.

    Also, I think the seller is crazy to bring that much cash. You wait… he will low-ball you and say “I could only could get $9000 in cash. Sign the car over so I can drive it back I’ll pay you the rest tomorrow”…. or some such scam.

  • Bank Cheques are perfectly safe. The purchaser would have paid the funds to the bank to get the bank cheque. To cancel they will need to return the cheque, which they obviously can't do should you have it. They can report it lost or stolen, however the bank would not immediately refund the purchaser, but would open an investigation. Given you'd have correspondence with the buyer and proof of title transfer, again when the bank queried why you've presented it, you can prove rightful claim.

    They are very common in settlement of property for significantly greater value than a used car.

  • Any update? Or are they collecting Sunday..

  • Lot of people suggest here that bank won't cancel the cheque without valid reason and they would have full KYC

    Well good luck if the cheque was issued by NAB(I know it's ANZ in this case) as it appears they don't complete KYC lol

    • That situation isnt even similar. The guy did a bank transfer and no mention of bank cheque.

      • My point was just around KYC if things go wrong.

  • Yes, there is a risk that after someone hands you a bank cheque, and before you can deposit, they can tell the bank it was stolen or lost, and cancel it. But in that case you having the transfer ownership paperwork for a vehicle would mean they could and would be charged with fraud, and ownership of the vehicle would revert to you.

    There is some risk if you accept a bank cheque for something that doesn't need to be registered in any way officially, and so could have been bought under a false name. But a vehicle has to registered and the owner's name and address known, so they can't give you a bank cheque for a car, cancel it, and just disappear.

  • Some of the comments in this thread are hilarious.

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