The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-15-2009, 12:43 PM
CC CC is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: not elsewhere
Posts: 3,834
What's the best way to mail a big check?

Another thread here prompted my question. Say I'm mailing a large check - $10,000, for example. Would I send it certified? But more important, would I insure it? For $10,000? If the check is made out to the recipient - a company - I could always make out another check, so I don't care too much if it gets lost. I just want to be sure it made it there, right?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 10-15-2009, 12:48 PM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
It's an actual personal check? If so, then it's easy to follow up and see if it was cashed or place a stop payment, so regular mail would be fine. You could send it certified if the date it was sent was important, and personally I like FedEx for sending any important document to a live person, but there isn't any reason why it can't go through regular mail.

It gets trickier if you are talking about a cashiers check or a money order.

Last edited by NAF1138; 10-15-2009 at 12:49 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-15-2009, 12:48 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Me I'd mail it like any other check. 39 cent stamp on a plan envelope with the addresses and its good to go. If it was important that you know it was received, you could pay for delivery confirmation.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-15-2009, 12:56 PM
pan1 pan1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
For an amount that big, you might consider having your bank wire the money directly to their bank. The fee is nominal - $15 or so, but there is zero risk of losing track of the money.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-15-2009, 01:03 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 23,374
Quote:
Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
Me I'd mail it like any other check. 39 cent stamp on a plan envelope with the addresses and its good to go.
Yep. Then after it's returned to you for insufficient payment, stick a 5 cent stamp next to it.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-15-2009, 01:07 PM
postcards postcards is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: The other Long Beach.
Posts: 3,061
Quote:
Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
Me I'd mail it like any other check. 39 cent stamp on a plan envelope with the addresses and its good to go. If it was important that you know it was received, you could pay for delivery confirmation.
These days, a 39 cent stamp will only get the envelope returned to you.
__________________
Talking Pictures
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-15-2009, 02:00 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by postcards View Post
These days, a 39 cent stamp will only get the envelope returned to you.
Dam I haven't seen a value on my stamps for a while. G stamps then Forever stamps. So its not 39 cents anymore i guess.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-15-2009, 03:24 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 35,656
I once happened to get a $35,000 check. It came by regular mail and actually sat in my mailbox for several days. The USPS handles millions of letters every year; they don't have the time or inclination to pick out out of the bunch.
__________________
"East is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-15-2009, 03:33 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
I think I would want more details about who this check is going to, what it is for, and your primary concerns about what needs to happen with it.

If you just want to make sure they got it eventually, then just wait for it to be processed in your bank account and don't use anything more than a first-class stamp. $10,000 is enough incentive to deposit it quickly and they won't be in business long if they lose a bunch of those.

If there's a time deadline, like maybe the landlord will evict you if they don't get paid by next week, then use a service like FedEx or UPS. They can not only get a signature and confirmation, but they can offer a guaranteed delivery date and notification of attempted deliveries.

I don't see any reason to insure it either way.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-15-2009, 04:50 PM
postcards postcards is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: The other Long Beach.
Posts: 3,061
Quote:
Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
Dam I haven't seen a value on my stamps for a while. G stamps then Forever stamps. So its not 39 cents anymore i guess.
44 cents, in fact.

Although when I saw the question my first thought was it was one of these.

You'd need extra postage for that.
__________________
Talking Pictures
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-15-2009, 04:59 PM
J Cubed J Cubed is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Actually, if you put the person's name and address in the "Pay to the order of" blank, and found a spot for the stamp, you could probably just mail the check without an envelope. Try it and let us know what happens! If Wired was still running their Return to Sender contest, I'd send in my subscription payment that way.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-15-2009, 05:05 PM
Fubaya Fubaya is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
The best way to mail a big check is in a big envelope.

I can't believe no one had thought of that yet.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-15-2009, 05:36 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
I worked for a company where part of my job was to write, and mail, huge checks in the tens of thousands. They were just mailed out in regular envelopes with regular postage, no special precautions... Harry Winston, the famous jeweler, donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian and he mailed it, registered first class mail, in a cardboard box, sent from NY to Washington DC. Cost of postage was $145.29, of which $2.44 was postage - the remainder was the insurance fee for a million dollars, value of the diamond. He said he mailed all of his jewelry that way.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-15-2009, 05:39 PM
nivlac nivlac is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Golden State
Posts: 2,356
I've mailed personal checks for much larger than $10K by first class mail and it got there just fine. You can always add return receipt if you want confirmation that it was received, but I really don't see the need if you can confirm directly from the recipient that your check has arrived.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-15-2009, 05:58 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Insurers mail out large-denomination checks via regular mail every day. Certified mail doesn't actually do much for you except confirming it was received, and the USPS isn't very good at finding certified letters that go missing anyway (I speak from experience here).

If you'll worry otherwise, I agree with the wire transfer suggestion.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-15-2009, 08:32 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is online now
And Finn The Human
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 19,103
My small business, whose address is my home, gets checks of all amounts all the time in my residential mailbox. We've gotten checks much higher than $10k and I haven't lost one in 10 years.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10-15-2009, 09:21 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Back in Riderville
Posts: 17,704
Alternatively, instead of mailing it, you could just tuck it in your jacket pocket, walk down the street, and hand-deliver it. That's what I did with a cheque for $8,000,000 some years ago.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 10-15-2009 at 09:21 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10-15-2009, 09:27 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Miami, Florida USA
Posts: 6,729
Yeah, but it was 8 million Canadian.




I keed, I keed ...
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10-15-2009, 09:28 PM
Alex_Dubinsky Alex_Dubinsky is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Alternatively, instead of mailing it, you could just tuck it in your jacket pocket, walk down the street, and hand-deliver it. That's what I did with a cheque for $8,000,000 some years ago.
I'd wipe my butt with it then claim it was lost.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10-16-2009, 12:21 AM
PBear42 PBear42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
An important point here, which several posters have alluded to inferentially but not stated explicitly, is that a check can't really be stolen. If it is intercepted by someone not the intended recipient and deposited (not something that happens often), you can get the money back pretty easily. If the crook can't be found, it becomes the problem of the bank which accepted the deposit. All you suffer is the aggravation of sorting out the mess. That's why several folks have said insurance isn't necessary. And they're right. If you want certainty and it's important that the payment be received promptly, wire transfer is the way to go. But it's not necessary to prevent theft. Certified mail, btw, doesn't really help. It just provides a receipt for delivery. Certified mail can be stolen (again, not common) just like regular mail. Your real protection is that a stolen check ain't your problem.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 10-16-2009, 12:47 AM
PBear42 PBear42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
BTW, to be precise, the foregoing analysis assumes we're talking about an ordinary check, where the recipient is identified as the person to be paid (or his order), e.g., John Doe or ABC Corp. If you sent through the mail a check payable to the order of bearer or "cash," such a check can be stolen. I assume, almost trivially, that this isn't the scenario we're discussing.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 10-16-2009, 11:02 AM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Registered mail is the ticket if you're being cautious.
You've got something resembling a chain of custody with it.
But if it's actually made out to a particular individual... send it first class isn't a terrible idea.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 10-16-2009, 06:34 PM
Neptunian Slug Neptunian Slug is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
If you are the State of Pennsylvania you stick it in regular mail. A guy I know hit the lottery for a few hundred thousand dollars and got a check regular mail.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 10-17-2009, 03:02 PM
robcaro robcaro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Just put it in regular mail, but be sure to put on the back of the check: For deposit only.
__________________
A committee is a thing which takes a week to do what one good man can do in an hour. ~Elbert Hubbard
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.