Personal and Business Checks

If you’re smart, you’ll never accept a check as payment for an auction. Checks can bounce, buyers can stop payment, and most eBay sellers have no way of determining if a check is even valid.

If you must accept checks, ship only after the check has cleared, and the money has been deposited into your account, a process that can take up to two weeks. If you want to accept payments only via postal mail, you’re better off restricting such payments to money orders and cashier’s checks, if for no other reason than to avoid having to remember when to check the status of a deposited check.

Money Orders and Cashier’s Checks

Money orders and cashier’s checks aren’t like personal checks; they don’t bounce and payment can’t be stopped as easily, so in that regard they’re more like cash. You don’t have to wait for them to clear, but there’s still the possibility of fraud, so always have a bank teller inspect the money order or cashier’s check.

If you’re in the U.S., postal money orders have a better track record and, while they’re possible to counterfeit, they can be easily verifed at any post office branch. Probably the safest type of postal-mail payments is BidPay money orders, next.

Western Union Money Order

There are two kinds of Western Union money orders:

The old-fashioned kind.

Never, ever, ever, ever, accept a Western Union payment for an eBay transaction. Ever. Such payments turn out to be fraudulent [Hack #69] about 99.9% of the time.


The exception to this ...

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