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Accepting money orders and checks
12-30-2012, 02:12 PM
Post: #1
Accepting money orders and checks
Not everyone has a credit card or an online payment account (e.g., Propay, Google Checkout, or PayPal). Often the buyer is a college student or teen who may not even have a checking account yet.

How do you accept payment, since it's not safe for the buyer to send cash in the mail?

One of the most common solutions is to take a money order and postal money orders are recommended since there is better protection for fraud.

Almost anyone with cash or a debit card can purchase a money order at the post office, fill it out, and send it to you and you can cash it at the local post office, as well.

Checks can be more problematic.

Cashiers checks are a special form of check that has been issued by the bank. At the time the buyer purchases the cashier's check (there's a small fee), the bank puts a hold on that portion of the funds so that there's no possibility of the check bouncing. In other words, the bank stands behind the cashier's check.

Personal checks are risky. In the past, if a check bounced, it was the sender, the owner of the bank account, who had to pay the bounced-check fee, but that is no longer true in most cases. Now both the sender and the recipient pay fees and it's often a hefty fee, sometimes as much as $35 or $50. So, unless it's someone you know well, it's not advisable to take personal checks. Ask the buyer to get a cashier's check or a money order.

The other advantage to a money order or cashier's check is that the item can be shipped right away. You don't have to wait a couple of weeks for the check to clear before getting the package out the door.
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