Never Write a Post Dated Check to your Landlord

In today's issue of Money with Meow: Poverty Finance, I'd like to quickly warn you about postdating checks.

Lots of people write postdated checks, especially to their landlords for rent.

What does it mean to postdate a check?

Postdating a check is when you write a later date on the check than the day you actually wrote it. So when you're writing out a check on the 15th, but write the 17th on the check, that's postdating.

This is letting the person know not to deposit the check until the date written on the check.

Landlords CAN deposit a postdated check

Many people think that the bank will not accept a check until the date on the check.

This is only true in Canada. In the United States, the bank doesn't really care about postdated checks and will happily overdraft you.

Postdated checks can get your account flagged for fraud

Some banks see postdated checks as a form of check kiting. Check kiting is a form of check fraud, involving taking advantage of the float to make use of non-existent funds in a checking or other bank account. This is basically a DIY line of credit which is completely unauthorized- and illegal.

Worst case scenario, the bank will decide that your post dated check is illegal and your account will be flagged for fraud. For a person in poverty, getting their bank account frozen even for a short time is a life-ruining scenario. Not worth the risk!

What can I do, then?

See if your landlord will accept some kind of online payments. If you're a landlord, I don't recommend accepting Venmo and Paypal because it gives you less control of payments you accept. Accepting even partial rent can halt the eviction of a bad tenant and re-set the whole process, so don't be upset if your landlord is not willing to do direct deposit, Venmo, PayPal, or Zelle. Landlords have a lot to lose this way.

However, There are more controlled payment acceptance systems like Hemlane that landlords can use to receive tenant payments electronically. Maybe you can convince your landlord to accept one of those!

1 comment: