Quoted from vid1900:
PERSONAL CHECKS, CASHIER'S CHECKS, CERTIFIED CHECKS AND MONEY ORDERS ALL TAKE 3-4 WEEKS TO CLEAR YOUR BANK
There is a Federal Law that states that banks have to make deposited funds available to you in 48 hours (with a few exceptions).
That does not mean that the funds have cleared!
Funds Available ≠ Funds Cleared <------- These are two totally different things!!!!!!
Banks don't cash checks directly from other banks.
When you take my check from Bank of America and deposit it in your Chase Bank account, Chase does not get the cash directly from BOA.
Instead, Chase cashes the check through a Clearing House that takes checks from many different banks. The Clearing House gets the money from BOA and then it is placed in a Chase account.
So when scammers put odd routing numbers or international numbers onto fake checks, it can take weeks for the depositing bank to finally get the returned check stamped as the dreaded AIFI - Altered Item / Fictitious Item.
You have probably taken a check from somebody, and then said you would ship the item as soon as the funds clear. Often the person will watch their account like a hawk and email you the moment the money is deducted from their account: "Hey, I just checked and that check cleared at 1pm today. Have you sent my package????".
Just because the money was deducted by the clearing house, does not mean it has been cleared by the Clearing House to your bank, so don't let people rush you.
I had a friend a few months back fall for this exactly, I could not believe he fell for it. There are still plenty of people getting taken by this, which is why they still do it. He sold a machine on craigslist or wherever, the guy sent him the check and enough money to cover the shipper. Told him to pay the guy in person when he got there.
He deposits the check, exactly what you're saying is going on in the background, then a couple days later the guy calls him to tell him that the shipper, unfortunately, wants to be paid in advance, so would he please deposit the extra money into his account? Both my friend's bank account AND the scammer's bank account were with Wells Fargo. He pulls out $1000 or something or the other, and deposits it into the other guy's account, calls the guy, the money is immediately withdrawn and of course the check bounces the next day.
I couldn't believe he fell for that but he seemingly had no clue that was even possible. It even put his account into a negative balance, I tried to tell him he should go down and talk with the bank manager, who has no power but could possibly get him in touch with somebody else.... they should have made the scammer's account have a negative balance instead of his. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that.
Issues like this are why at Wells Fargo, at least, any more you can't deposit cash into someone's account that isn't yours now. Crazy.