Trick question - find the trick

Let’s say a check writer forgot what year was leap year and put the date of Feb.29 on a check. Would that check be acceptable leagal tender?

No, checks do not fall under the definition of “legal tender.”

Plus there’s no such thing as leagel tender. Or should I assume that your poor spelling ability isn’t part of the trick?

Checks arent validated by the date, believe it or not, as I asked my bank why some idiot cashed a check of mine that was dated into the future too months. They said take it up with the person I wrote the check to.

I don’t know. Send me a $1000 dollar check dated Feb 29, 2001 and let’s find out.

First, a ‘check’ writer has nothing to do with legal tender. A ‘check’ writer is someone who writes checks (akin to ‘verifications’) of something. To involve money, he’d need to be a ‘cheque-writer’ (at least where I come from).

Second, cheques are not legal tender. They are an agreement to “Pay to the order of” a second party a given amont of money. An alternative to giving money to someone with a cheque is to give it using government-issued legal tender, commonly called ‘cash’ or ‘money’ (which it isn’t). Legal means ‘lawful’. Tender means ‘give’ as a verb, or ‘that which is given’ as a noun. So, the papers with the faces on them are not actually valuable, they are simply symbols of the transfer of financial capital that has occurred. In the same way, a cheque is not ‘Legal tender’, but an agreement to transfer capital to a second party.

Are these the tricks you wanted, or is there something else?


Was it a leap year? Your question just says he forgot which year was a leap year.

“Check” is the preferred American spelling.

You’re on to something.

The trick is there is more than one trick. There’s a “typo”, there’s a missing fact about which year it is/was, and then there’s the definition of legal tender.

And among you, you got them all.

Regardless of the riddle, the bank will cash it.

Banks will cash anything with a “for deposit only” stamp on the back of it.

A few months ago I mixed up a $50 check and a $200 check in my bills. Guess what? Visa deposited a $50 Sprint check against a large balance and Sprint cashed a $200 Visa check against a $50 balance! :eek:

The banks attitude was basically: well, we’re sorry you don’t know how to get the right check in the envelope.

The only reason I didn’t make a big stink about it was because Visa didn’t penalize me for short paying the minimum. I’m sure it wasn’t legal.

[sub]Sorry for the hijack…[/sub]

I saw a special on something, Discovery Channel maybe, that claimed that you can write a check on anything, as long as your name, the name of the bank, your signature, and the amount are on it. Thus, the IRS gets several instances of checks written on shirts (the shirt off my back). Normal people can refuse this, but the government accepts all legal checks.

Confirmation anyone? I’d do it myself, but I’m lazy and its only MPSMS.

I know, Connor, you love me.

The Master Answers Your Question.

Connor, this is more likely than not another urban legend, but I remember hearing about a shipwrecked individual who wrote a check on the side of a piece of aluminum boat hull which was later honored by that person’s estate.

First, dates on cheques.

In the UK, the bank I work for will pay a post dated cheque. I have been told (as part of the training we did) that post dating a cheque is actually illegal (I’m afraid I don’t know that this is true, I have never found a law about it). If it is banked, and everything else is ok, it will be paid and it is the account holders bad luck if it goes out at the wrong time or bounces due to insufficient funds.

Second, cheques on other than paper.

Again from training we were given, we were told that as long as the cheque is crossed “Accout Payee” and the details of the account, date, amount and signature are there, anything can be used. By “crossed” it means two lines either || or \ crossing the line where you write your name and the one where you write the amount in words. There was a story of a farmer who owed some money to the government, so he sent a cow with the cheque details on it. And they accepted it. The large cheques people use for presentations can be legal if they are crossed.

I will admit, this is all from the memory of my training (and obviously working at the bank), so please forgive me if some of this stuff is slightly inaccurate.


If you read the Straight Dope column posted by our friend Gazoo, you will find out that poster matt_mcl from the SDMB corrected Cecil Adams on that. The story of the cheque on a cow is phony.