Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

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Tamales
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Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by Tamales »

Let's say I have an offer amount in mind for a new car, and will only do the deal at that all-in price.

If I go to my bank in advance and get a cashiers check in that desired amount, made out to the car dealership, and the deal doesn't materialize for whatever reason, how do I get that money re-deposited into my bank account?

Is it simply a matter of returning to the bank with the cashiers check and they cancel it and re-deposit the funds?

Or is there a certain way the "pay to" field of the cashiers check needs to be filled out, to cover this possibility?
Rob1
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by Rob1 »

Last time I purchased a car, the salesperson and I drove in the new car to my bank to get the cashiers check.

BTW, I believe they requested a particular type of cashiers check, or particular wording on the check - I can’t remember. But the dealer will guide you.

EDIT:
After reading replies by others, I seem to recall that I needed the cashiers check because I had frozen my credit. Paying by check would have required a credit check (requiring me to thaw my credit), because they essentially consider it a short term loan.
Last edited by Rob1 on Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
anil686
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by anil686 »

Last two times I purchased a car with cash (2012/2018), they only required a personal check. I was surprised at that in 2012 but the car dealer said they stopped requiring cashier's checks a few years earlier. Dealers were Lexus and Honda respectively - hope that helps...
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by RickBoglehead »

Most reputable dealers will take a personal check.

Taking the manufacturer's financing at full rate, plus rebate, and then paying off days later is usually a better alternative.
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Geologist
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by Geologist »

I have been able to use a personal check to buy a car at a dealership (actually, I think it was a check on my Vanguard Money Market account). They ran a credit check but they took it. Thus, I was able to write the check at the dealership for the exact amount and your question didn't arise.
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by Gill »

My experience is similar. I've always driven away in a new car after tendering nothing but my personal check.
Gill
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Ron
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by Ron »

FWIW, both my wife/me purchased our last few vehicles (new & used) just by writing a personal check. There was no need to have anything special done.

I purchased my last vehicle (new) in 2015 and wrote a check for $40K+; my wife did the same in 2015 and wrote a personal check for $30K+. In jest, I asked the salesman for my car what they would do if the check bounced; he simply replied "we know where you live" :mrgreen: (they could always repossess the car).

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Tamales
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by Tamales »

Just to clarify...today is Saturday. Bank hours are short today.
I need to get the cashiers check in advance, and will go to the dealer later.
But I need to know the cashiers check can be reversed if needed, since the deal is not finalized yet.

And I'm asking if there's a special way to fill out the "pay to" field.
I'm not asking about other options for payment.
sport
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by sport »

I've tried to put a new car purchase on a credit card to get the rebate. The dealer told me that their credit card limit was $1500. So, I charged that much and wrote a check for the balance.
Rob1
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by Rob1 »

After reading replies by others, I seem to recall that I needed the cashiers check because I had frozen my credit. Paying by check would have required a credit check (requiring me to thaw my credit), because they essentially consider it a short term loan.
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whodidntante
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by whodidntante »

sport wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:55 am I've tried to put a new car purchase on a credit card to get the rebate. The dealer told me that their credit card limit was $1500. So, I charged that much and wrote a check for the balance.
Ditto on using a rewards card to the limit the dealer will allow. In my case it was $2,500.
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dm200
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by dm200 »

RickBoglehead wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:48 am Most reputable dealers will take a personal check.
Taking the manufacturer's financing at full rate, plus rebate, and then paying off days later is usually a better alternative.
Yes. A personal check should work just fine. No need to waste money on a cashiers check.

You write the personal check for the amount you are willing to pay, slide it over the desk to the sales guy/gal, and make them hand it back if they reject the offer. If they hand back the check walk out the door.
Rob1
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by Rob1 »

sport wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:55 am I've tried to put a new car purchase on a credit card to get the rebate. The dealer told me that their credit card limit was $1500. So, I charged that much and wrote a check for the balance.
Similar here - credit card amount was limited to $3,000.
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by bubbadog »

Gill wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:52 am My experience is similar. I've always driven away in a new car after tendering nothing but my personal check.
Gill
+1

Personal check, never a problem.
Gill
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by Gill »

Tamales wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:53 am Just to clarify...today is Saturday. Bank hours are short today.
I need to get the cashiers check in advance, and will go to the dealer later.
But I need to know the cashiers check can be reversed if needed, since the deal is not finalized yet.

And I'm asking if there's a special way to fill out the "pay to" field.
I'm not asking about other options for payment.
Don't worry about it. I'm not sure of the exact procedure but essentially the bank will allow you to deposit the check into your own account. Make the dealer the payee and if you don't use the check just go back to the bank with the check and tell them it wasn't used. To repeat, however, as we've all said, you don't need the bank check in the first place.
Gill
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livesoft
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by livesoft »

Since you are going to the bank, then why not ask the bank? You can even call the ahead of time.

I've never used a cashier's check to buy a car. I have used a cashier's cash once in my life made out to me in order to move money from one bank to another faster than an ACH transfer.
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vested1
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by vested1 »

We just traded in our 19 year old GMC truck for a 2012 Toyota Tacoma V6 4x4. They wouldn't take a personal check at the lot because we had placed a credit freeze on all three major credit bureaus. Rather than temporarily unlocking the freeze I drove 3 blocks to our bank and got a cashier's check made out to the dealer. In fact, after we knew they couldn't take our personal check without a credit check, we negotiated a final deal for $2,500 less than asking, signed the paperwork that detailed the final price including State/local taxes and fees, then left, got the cashiers check, and returned to the lot to complete the transaction.

If I were the OP I would get the best offer in writing, go get the cashier's check, then go back to the lot and hand it to them. I'm sure they could handle the short delay and there would be no issue with redepositing/canceling the check. I can see no purpose in getting a check based on a certain amount that may not be accepted. No need to overthink this.

Were all the fees, registration, and taxes etc figured into that number? Does the Op expect the dealership to absorb legislated fees and taxes to the penny? I have no idea how that would work. It's not like a garage sale where you pay $10 cash for a $10 item without any regulation.
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dm200
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by dm200 »

Has anyone ever had a dealer decline to accept a personal check?
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Tamales
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by Tamales »

livesoft wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:04 am Since you are going to the bank, then why not ask the bank? You can even call the ahead of time.
Good point! Guess I haven't had enough coffee yet this morning.
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by livesoft »

dm200 wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:24 am Has anyone ever had a dealer decline to accept a personal check?
Sort of. I had my checkbook out to pay cash and they convinced me to take a no-money-down 0% loan instead.
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HMdocinPA
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by HMdocinPA »

I paid the maximum on fidelity card they would take ($2500) then paid the rest with a personal check. I showed them my checking account balance on the bank’s iPhone app, with enough $$ to cover the check, and they didn’t need to do any credit check or anything after that.
RetiredArtist
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by RetiredArtist »

dm200 wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:24 am Has anyone ever had a dealer decline to accept a personal check?
Yes!! The dealer claimed they could not take a personal check due to anti money laundering/anti terrorism laws. I schlepped to the bank & got a cashier's check.
The salesman took the check, and said they were waiting for it to clear. I waited for several hours, & then left. I couldn't cancel the sale because they had the check. That evening someone brought the car to my house. It turned out they were stalling me because they couldn't locate the car!
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by whodidntante »

dm200 wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:24 am Has anyone ever had a dealer decline to accept a personal check?
No, but I've had dealers assume that I couldn't afford the car I was looking at because I showed up driving a hooptie and wearing a baseball cap. I guess most people replace their cars before the paint flakes off.
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dm200
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by dm200 »

RetiredArtist wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:41 am
dm200 wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:24 am Has anyone ever had a dealer decline to accept a personal check?
Yes!! The dealer claimed they could not take a personal check due to anti money laundering/anti terrorism laws. I schlepped to the bank & got a cashier's check.
The salesman took the check, and said they were waiting for it to clear. I waited for several hours, & then left. I couldn't cancel the sale because they had the check. That evening someone brought the car to my house. It turned out they were stalling me because they couldn't locate the car!
Interesting. VERY unusual to not take a personal check.
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by welderwannabe »

Tamales wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:27 am
livesoft wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:04 am Since you are going to the bank, then why not ask the bank? You can even call the ahead of time.
Good point! Guess I haven't had enough coffee yet this morning.
I have returned a cashier's check back to the bank and they put the money back in my account. It was 20 years ago probably.
I am not an investment professional, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
student
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by student »

I think what I did before was getting a cashiers check payable to myself and signing the check over to the dealership.
SimonJester
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by SimonJester »

Rob1 wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:58 am After reading replies by others, I seem to recall that I needed the cashiers check because I had frozen my credit. Paying by check would have required a credit check (requiring me to thaw my credit), because they essentially consider it a short term loan.
I have not had to do that with the past three vehicle purchases all done with a personal check, all done with frozen credit. It was non issue. They did get a copy of my drivers license.

I flat out asked the Finance / paperwork guy at my last purchase what do they do if the check were to not go through. He smiled and said we love that scenario, since we have all your information we call the police and report the vehicle stolen, plus we have the title in our name still. They "reprocess the vehicle" and their lawyers have a field day with addon fees.
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by fourwheelcycle »

dm200 wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:24 am Has anyone ever had a dealer decline to accept a personal check?
Yes. I had always been able to purchase cars locally with personal checks, but ten years ago I purchased a car from a dealer an hour and a half from my home, by phone, and they told me I would need to bring a cashier's check when I picked up the car. I pressed, but they insisted.

Recently I bought another car from the same dealer and they said they would take a personal check. When I went in to pick up the car they took my check and a few minutes later they came back and said I was all set. I did not ask, but my guess is they called my bank to verify my account had sufficient available funds.
quantAndHold
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by quantAndHold »

I’ve always made the deal with the dealer, then asked them how they wanted to be paid. One dealer was fine with a personal check. Another wanted either a cashier’s check or wire transfer, and emailed me a pdf that had the instructions for both. I think in that case, I set up the wire transfer to happen on the day I got the keys, then paid for a couple of aftermarket items with a credit card.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
nolesrule
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by nolesrule »

One time we bought a car 90 minutes from home. We put a down payment on a credit card and they let us take the car home. We mailed them a personal check for the balance the next day.

The other time was at a dealership 5 minutes from my house. They let me drive the new car to my house by myself to get my checkbook.
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by ChrisC »

We purchased a car 3 weeks ago; dealer took a deposit on a credit card ($5K was the most it would take). The balance was paid by personal check; the dealer called an intermediary (check approval company who does the leg work with the financial institution to see if your money is on hand for the check); the intermediary asks you a few questions, and within 30 minutes, it tells the dealer to proceed with the sale, if no problems. The next day our account was debited for the full amount of the check.

The dealer (Lexus) explained that it does not accept cashier's check and it no longer devotes any time to verifying credit worthiness -- it outsources that assessment. Sounds efficient to me, and I rather just cut a personal check than procure a cashier's check; if you lose a cashier's check on your way to the dealer and someone else negotiates/presents the check and obtains payment, I believe you might be up the proverbial creek. And try .getting your money back from a cashier's check you might have lost or misplaced -- the bank will certainly require a pound of documentation and a wait period before it honors your request.
JGoneRiding
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by JGoneRiding »

I don't know about cars but I have had cashiers checks canceled and reissued immediately (needed different wording) without issue. One thing to know if over about 10k they may need a manager sign off so you might want to check ahead.
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by neilpilot »

I know my reply is too late for the OP, and most of the replies above failed to answer the OP's question but instead explained how a cashier's check is not needed.

To the OP: it's likely the bank will have told you to get the cashier's check made out to "Dealer or Tamales" That way the dealer can cash the check, or the OP can cash it as well if the deal doesn't go down.
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Tamales
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

Post by Tamales »

Thanks for the replies. Just to close this out in case someone else has this question in the future: in addition to the cashiers check (made out to the car dealership) you get a receipt (a perforated attachment to the check itself) with all the info from the check, including your name as remitter. Also, the bank has a record of you seeking the check, as a backstop.

The bank teller told me I'd just need to return with both pieces if the deal fell through, and it would be credited back to my account. However, this only applies if you have an account at the bank (probably a bit messier if you don't), and with the right kind of account, no fee for the cashiers check. With no lines at the bank, the whole process of issuing the check took about 3 minutes. Since the deal went thru, I didn't have a chance to test the process.
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Re: Question about Cashiers Check for tentative car purchase

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