How long do you wait for a check to clear

Hello, I'm selling some equipment for several thousand dollars. I told the buyer that I would take a personal check and send the equipment after it clears. My bank said that they couldn't tell me when it cleared, only if it was returned. They said that in most cases it should be ok in 10 business days. I'm not sure when to ship the equipment Does anyone have any experience with this? Help!!
I use 2 different banks. With 1 I can see on line when it clears and with the other I just have to look at my balance and when it changes. Maybe it's just me but I can't believe the bank can't tell you when it cleared.

That being said I can say I have read right here on AGon where checks and money orders have cleared but later rescinded. They also may have been international transactions.
For that kind of money you should take as long as it takes for your bank to assure you the check is through, and will take full responsibility. Any buyer sending a personal check for thousands of dollars should understand. Don't feel pressured to ship before you are sure. The risk is too great and the buyer placed it all on you.
It does take 6-8 Business days
Why did you not ask for a certified check from him?
as long as the check is in the buyers name and to give it 6to8days to clear. I would go directly down to the bank to talk to a rep and make sure the cash cleared and is in your account.
Check the buyer's feedback. That should give you some level of confidence. If there is no feedback, wait 21 days to play it safe. I once cashed a check at the bank and then deposited the cash. 14 days later, they took the money out of my account and said that the guy that wrote the check placed a stop payment on it. I asked how if I cashed it at the time could they possibly do that. They (Bank of America) said too bad. I was out $3300.
According to the manager of my local Wells Fargo bank, the recommendation is 10 business days for clearance for personal checks; bank money orders; and bank certified checks. All of the preceding can be rescinded during the passage through the money system. Only Postal Money Orders clear immediately.
If the check is from a buyer and bank is in the USA, the seller's address and bank is in the USA... 8 to 10 working days... it's what folks say. (when actually the check will be processed overnight the first evening! But the check might come back.. so you should wait a week.
BUT: it the buyer or seller is in another country!! "danger, Will Robinson, Danger".
A two country check could come back MONTHS later as no good, depending on the countries involved. So no way would i ever use a two country personal check.. Use a bank transfer. (and I ask why did you not do a bank transfer? it is super safe, and all they need is your bank routing number Once the money is transferred, it is yours. period.(check #s and possibly the international bank routing number, which you can ask anyone at your bank for.)
I would assume you felt the buyer was trustworthy enough to just get the check, and send the stuff. Otherwise why would you do it, silly?
I have accepted personal checks from a few folks. But only for small enough things I can live with a bad result.
And.. I would never do it if the buyer asked to do it. That adds a lot of possible fraud risk into the equation. I am the one who says: Hey, just send me a personal check and it is OK.
Bottom line is, folks who elect to send a personal check as payment elect to wait a sufficient amount of time for you the seller to ensure the check has cleared and funds have been deposited. I'd not ship anything for 10 business days minimum. Banks don't want to accept the responsibility for you shipping goods based on a personal check so of course they're not going to advise you when a check is clear. I recently had to wait 12 business days for the clearance of a certified bank check before shipping the item to the buyer. I kept the buyer in the loop with regular updates, which is all anyone can expect of you. Buyer simply has to be patient, for they've elected to do so by sending payment in the form of a personal check. Adhere to the motto 'you'll ship no gear before it's time' and you'll be fine.
Wire transfer is the only safe way according to my bank. Certified and personal checks can both be stopped in 30 days. My bank said send Certified for payments and I can stop payment with a phone call. If the person wants the gear, send back the check and ask for the bank transfer. You have too much to risk and not worth the hastle.
If it's a USA bank, search for a local branch, go to the manager and have it cleared on the spot via computer.

Walk out with cash or bank certified check, either way you can get instant credit in your own account.

I've had success with Wells Fargo, Bank of America and a couple of others. I think it was Chase that refused unless I also had an account.

It's worth a try, saves at least a week.
There was a law passed some years ago that when a check is presented to a bank it is processed immediately, it should clear the next day, mine does. No more check floating for the floaters.
That's exactly right. Go to the bank the check is written on and cash it. Why would a seller agree to a personal check in the first place. Sellers should at least require a Cashier's Check or Money Order, but the risk is equally on both sides in these transactions. I always get a little nervous when FedEx delivers my Cashier's Check and the communication suddenly stops. Fortunately I haven't been burned yet.
As a non-paypal person, 10 business days is the answer, but I ask for real email and verifiable info. With me, I give my law firm email so people can see who I am and also give all my contact info. I would expect the same. Finally, I tell people to hold my check as long as they want. There are laws governing time to accept or refuse a check, but the good laws only apply to instate banks. In general, banks screw you over with impunity.
Call the bank that issued the check and ask them if the check cleared
The problem here is the ability of a bank to "rescind" or recall the $ AFTER the check clears. Does anyone know what the time limit on that is?
12-15-10: Slikric3000
There was a law passed some years ago that when a check is presented to a bank it is processed immediately, it should clear the next day, mine does. No more check floating for the floaters.
Yes, the check may 'clear' for your use of the funds the next business day, BUT that doesn't mean that the funds can't be rescinded from your account many days later.

As many have said, this applies to even 'certified' checks. My local bank branch manager (BoA) told me the same thing...they can't tell you when a check 'clears' because they send it into the banking system black hole and don't hear anything (only if there is a problem) and that is a very variable time.

The best advice posted above was the idea of going to the local branch of the buyer's bank (if there is one) and cashing the check right there, and then with money in hand, deposit it in your bank. Other than that, the answer is just wait.

And the certified bank check business..all it means is that the buyer has the money in his account, but it doesn't mean you are going to get the money any more so than if it was a personal check.

Best methods:
Wire transfer
Postal money order
In person cash transfer
...and good A'gon feedback
If the check is a large enough amount they will put a hold on access to the the funds anyway, been there done that. So the argument that the depositor may access to the funds when the check clears can be misleading.
I only accept paypal from verified address and USPS money orders as I was told by my local banks that they were the safest. But about 3 weeks ago, my shipping center that ships UPS/FedEx for me said there have been some counterfeit USPS money orders surfacing. With the hologram and watermark, I thought that would be impossible, but if someone is smart enough to create a "foolproof" way to avoid counterfeiting, there is also someone smart enough to create the fake. Feedback is still the best way to judge someone. I'm lucky...over 600 transactions on Ebay & Audiogon and I was only burned once when seller never sent the cd box set and I paid by money order. From that time I only paid by paypal.
If the bank is the same it clears the same day as cash.
Other than that always next day clearance. If the bank is major and has all new processing technology it would clear next day. Other than that despite passed local or global laws it may clear longer.
Like a few others have said, go to the issuing bank & have check cashed there. If there are none in your area, call the bank & ask if there are sufficient funds available to cover the check. Some of them will tell you, some will not, although they do have to tell you if the account is active.

You can also ask the issuing bank if you can check to see if that particular check has cleared. Again, some will tell you, some won't but your bank should be able to get that information for you. I would think 10 business days is plenty of time to find out.

Also, like a few have mentioned, usually the persons feedback is a good indicator of whether or not their check is good.

Down the road if there is a problem, let the community know who it is you dealt with, plus you will get more information on what to do next.

Best of luck to you with regards to this transaction.
You will not have any practical remedy if things go bad. It does not matter when it "clears" or what the "hold" period is - your endorsement is a guarantee from you to the bank that you will make good on it if the check bounces, which can happen many weeks later.

cashier's checks are frequently forged by scammers. It is easy to do.

If you are stuck with an out of state check, a pragmatic guesstimate would be to give it at least 15 business days (i.e, three weeks). Do not accept international checks.
Check, paypal, USPS money order, cashiers check, even cash (fake bills) you can get scammed. Even wires can be undone (hard, but doable). Focus on the person first, and then the payment method.

This is why you should deal with people you can identify and trust based on: (i) feedback and on ebay (send seller a message and wait for response to confirm the person is who they say they are); (2) job -- ask for work email address; (3) where they live (google the house you are shipping to -- does the name match and does the check matche and is the house in a nice area where someone would have the money to buy 4k worth of stereo equipment); (4) google search of real name, email address and username -- lots of hits = good.

All that being said, you can check your jurisdiction's UCC and banking laws and find out exactly what your rights are. To get them, you often have to jump through hoops, but they are available.

One last point, think of who YOUR bank or financial institution is. I use a credit union because, in part, their policies are such that once a check clears, they do not permit another bank to issue a stop payment. I know some banks intrabank and interbank, will.
look all I stated was there was a law passed a few years ago, whatever your loopty loop logistics of how the system you think works is your business.
The USPS money order can be taken to a post office and cashed immediately. If they do not have the cash in the place, get a NEW money order for yourself for the difference. Thus you are guaranteed it was a real money order, (the USPO would KNOW straight up) and you get another USPO money order YOU know is legit. I HAVE done this... Just so I could ship the item immediately. Since the $2 for the money orders is so small, I considered it a small price to pay for peace of mind.
So you NEVER have to actually (really) worry about a fake USPO money order if you feel concerned.
Just take it to a post office.
I have actually had sellers ship equipment before receiving my check.
Like I said. As long as it takes for you to be sure.
One of the things not mentioned is that the buyer assumes the risk the seller will that the cash and not send the item or that the item will be defective. It's a two-way street that requires mutual trust.

So far I've been a buyer -- most of the equipment in my racks has come through Audiogon, but I expect to be a seller soon.

I heard that 12 business days is recommended, not 7 or 10, but 12.
Almost each time I hear something bad regarding various issues, it is Chase.