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Thread: Cashier's Check or Wire Transfer?

  1. #1
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    Cashier's Check or Wire Transfer?

    Odd scenario... We are in Washington state and will be spending the Christmas holiday with my parents in California. I have been working on my husband's Christmas gift for six months and even posted about it on this board. I'm giving him the cash to restore his 79 TransAm.

    I have a card already made up that shows what his car would look like totally restored and underneath that it says "Dreams Do Come True". Inside that card, I will have approximately $12,000 in cash. Could be a little less, could be a little more, but either way $10,000 is the minimum and I have five more months to save. I do not want to fly with the cash in my purse, and I'm reading online that TSA could have issues with it anyway. It is also a surprise so if they call attention to it at the airport my husband would know what was going on and we can't have that!

    I do NOT want to give my husband a cashier's check unless I absolutely have to. I want to give him cash. It's going to be videotaped by my father, and my husband's reaction to cash while he is counting it and trying to figure out how much is actually there is going to be half the excitement.

    I was going to have a Cashier's Check made out to my father for the total amount and take it with me, then my father could cash it for me in CA. We would then just convert that cash back to a cashier's check before leaving CA so we wouldn't fly with cash again. THEN I go and read online that there have been issues with out of state cashier's checks and there could be a hold put on the funds.

    Dad is going to check with his local credit union to see if they will cash this cashier's check or if I'll need to FedEx it to him a few weeks prior to Christmas so he can wait for the 'hold', then cash it and have that cash waiting for me when we arrive. I was also thinking that a wire transfer might be more secure? Does anyone have experience with a wire transfer of this size? Can a wire transfer be immediately cashed? I can call my bank and find out the particulars, but I thought someone here might know.

    All I want is for my husband to open that card and see CASH on Christmas morning. I will go to any trouble needed to make sure that happens. Whether it's a cashier's check or wire transfer, makes no difference to me. I just want to make it work... but also make it as easy on my parents as possible. Thanks for any advice!
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  2. #2
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    You can go to the service desk at any Walmart to wire the money...I am not sure it there is a limit. The recipient can then go to any WalMart to pick up the money. There is a fee involved and can't remember what the charge would be.

    Also if you go to your local bank and have a Cashier's check drawn. Any transaction over 7500.00 (I think it is) is subject to having the bank fill out papers on you and turned in...has something to do with laundering money, so if you go that route, you may want to have two checks made out on separate days. Why would I do this? I don't like the government knowing any more about my business than I feel that they need to! Doing this would depend upon how you feel about it.

    Good luck!
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  3. #3
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    Sounds like a great idea, but why not just write a personal check to your husband or use monopoly money? You have to be careful when giving money to others since it could be taxed as a gift tax if it's too much (I think it's about 12 or 13 grand these days). Maybe it's me, but I'm just uneasy about that much actual cash being out there.

    ETA - Sorry, I don't mean to rain on your parade, but money is money and he will be thrilled either way whether cash or check.

  4. #4
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    I don't see any reason to use a 3rd party wire entity (Walmart or Western Union) when the recipient party isn't travelling. Have you Dad check with his bank, but I'm pretty sure wire funds are available the next business day, whereas cashier's checks can be held for 7-10 days (which makes no sense to me--what's the point in that case?) Usually there's a modest fee to the recipient for a wire transfer. You could wire the money to your Dad, he can take it out in cash (and yes, he will need to fill out all the forms that IRS uses to track large cash transactions), you can present it to Dave Christmas morning and then reverse the process--deposit the cash in Dad's account, wire back to you, and you withdraw when you're home.

    I totally get wanting the visual and tactile impact of actual cash. Enjoy!
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  5. #5
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    What about just sending your dad a personal check for the money, then having him make a couple of cash withdrawals in the days leading up to Christmas?
    Okay...it's time to pull up your big-girl panties and get on with it. (Seen on a bathroom wall.)

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  6. #6
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    Fun gift for sure!

    However, do you really want to be traveling back home with over 10k cash in pocket?
    Joe

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilgamesh37 View Post
    You could wire the money to your Dad, he can take it out in cash (and yes, he will need to fill out all the forms that IRS uses to track large cash transactions.
    OK, this part worries me... Dad even asked if the IRS would possibly be involved in this. We're only using him as a cashier, we are not actually giving him the money. If he's the one filling out the forms then is the IRS getting a report of this as his income??

    There is a serious part of me that wants to wad this cash up and stick it in my shoe. I totally understand that money is money and if I give him the check he will be totally excited, but you have to know my husband. Any time that I have handed him a wad of cash that I've won at a casino he is literally laughing so hard he's almost choking as he's counting it out. I seriously wanted that on video. A check is ONE GASP but the cash will keep us entertained for five minutes.
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  8. #8
    Does your bank have any branches in California? You could make a couple of withdraws on different days. then make a redeposit. I'd consider opening an account with a local to your parents bank for a few months.

    I think the IRS would not be involved as long as you are below the gift tax amount. I think you could give each of your parents $13k without having to deal with gift taxes.

    Cheryl

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jewel View Post
    There is a serious part of me that wants to wad this cash up and stick it in my shoe. I totally understand that money is money and if I give him the check he will be totally excited, but you have to know my husband. Any time that I have handed him a wad of cash that I've won at a casino he is literally laughing so hard he's almost choking as he's counting it out. I seriously wanted that on video. A check is ONE GASP but the cash will keep us entertained for five minutes.
    LOL - remember you have to remove your shoes at the airport.

    I get that cash is more effective; I just am nervous around a lot of cash. I hope you can make it work.

  10. #10
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    How will you get the cash home? Will you reverse the process?

    Would a giant check be a good substitute?

  11. #11
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    Like someone else said, the bank is going to have to fill out paperwork for that large of a cash transaction, when it's being cashed, and when it's going back in. I hate to rain on your parade too, but in my opinion, there are too many potential issues with what you're wanting to do than it'd be worth for 5 minutes of something caught on tape.

  12. #12
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    Your dad's bank will have to file a CTR (Cash Transaction Report) for any amount for $10k and over. If then, at the end of the trip, you have him redeposit that money and issue another check to you, the CTR would be filed again. Plus, the bank might get suspiscious and file a SAR (Suspicious Activity Report), which is usually triggered by all this back-and-forth with cash and checks, indicating a possible money laundering issue. This will probably depend on how well they know your dad though. Don't even think of splitting up in smaller chunks...red flags all over.

    If you do a wire transfer from your bank, you would only have to carry the cash on your way back. Also, would your bank let you originate an ACH transaction to send the funds to your dad? Usually ACH (well, at least where I work) are free of charge, even though they might take a couple of days to go through.

  13. #13
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    I have not read through all of this so forgive me if I've stated something obvious.

    Fake money to get the visual and then a pre-paid Visa card to actually be able to use it when/where he wants, provided they take visa.
    Since this is for your husband, I don't know if I would want to schlep 10K there and then back. A lot of bad things could happen (yes, I am a cynic).

    Even though the oomph may not be there with real money, the real joy of knowing he can spend it and not lose it is priceless
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  14. #14
    I wouldn't take the risk. Couldn't you just give him the money at home before you leave and video tape your husband's reaction yourself? I think transferring that much money back and forth is just going to cause more headache than it's worth. I am not a paranoid person, but this kind of thing just seems like it would be a red flag to the Feds, in my opinion.

  15. #15
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    That's a lot of sugar for a dime especially since it involves multiple transactions and is across state lines and he won't be needing the money during the holidays anyway.

    IMHO, I would make (or buy) a large, fake, presentation check for amount of $12,000 and write "Dreams Do Come True" on the subject line. I think this would be a better presentation.This can be done easily in Photoshop. I did this a few weeks ago. You could do this at home and email it to a print shop in California or mail it in a tube to California and have it mounted before you get there.

  16. #16
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    Transactions of that amount require the bank to complete a CTR - Currency Transaction Report. Even if your dad broke it up in to a couple deposits/withdrawals, the bank's computers could pick up the pattern.

    Here is a link, and you can also see an actual CTR form - just click on the link on this page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Currenc...saction_report

    I guess my second best thing would be to use monopoly money, maybe even put it in some kind of little suitcase, so it looks more like "cash." You may even be able to buy the cash straps ($10, etc) and wrap that around it.
    Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

  17. #17
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    I love your idea!!!

    You know your dh and what he will respond to the most and it sounds like you don't mind the hassle. I would go for the wire transfer to your dad as long as he doesn't mind doing it knowing there might be some scrutiny. It seems like it would be pretty easy to explain and I assume there isn't a pattern of your dad cashing 5 figure checks.

    What a beautiful thing to do for your dh.
    Barbara

    Nutella is love! - 9yr old ds

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by newtricks View Post
    I love your idea!!!

    You know your dh and what he will respond to the most and it sounds like you don't mind the hassle. I would go for the wire transfer to your dad as long as he doesn't mind doing it knowing there might be some scrutiny. It seems like it would be pretty easy to explain and I assume there isn't a pattern of your dad cashing 5 figure checks.

    What a beautiful thing to do for your dh.
    I agree with this. I would hate to see the gift be less than it could be, because of regulations -- and transporting that much cash is troublesome! Maybe a money belt? If you can't do it, realistic play money with a note that says something like, "trade this in for the real thing at home" should do the trick. You are a jewel, Jewel! What a wonderful gift for your DH!
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  19. #19
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    Thanks for the responses everyone! We actually have found a solution although it involves a little fibbing and just a skooch of hassle... but totally worth it.

    My bank's closest branch to my parent's home is 2.5 hours away. My mother told me today that there is a Bank of America two blocks away. I have a B of A a half mile from my house and we have our Visa cards through that bank as well. Sooo.. I'm going to take the $5000 I have in cash now and open a savings account there this week. As I save/win and earn work bonuses from now until the beginning of December I'm going to deposit the money into that account.

    We're arriving in California on Saturday the 24th and I obviously can't get to the bank until Monday the 26th (still have to find out if they're oen that day?! ). So my mother is going to announce to the two of us when we arrive on Saturday that the "something special she got the two of us for Christmas won't be there until Monday, so does anyone mind if we just Do Christmas on Monday evening?" I'll act surprised, the hubs will say something like "You don't need to do anything special for us, but of course we don't mind" and we'll be good to go.

    I was told by my bank this morning on the phone that since banks don't generally have this kind of cash on hand I will need to 'order' the cash about 3 weeks ahead of time and they will give me an order number. I'll walk in that day and give them my order number and withdraw the cash. The next day, I can go back to that bank and deposit the cash back into my account.

    I understand I'm incurring some extra hassle here, but ask me if I care? This is way too important to me and I know it will make a huge difference to the actual moment. We all know that most of the fun of giving a gift, especially a very special gift, is that person's reaction. I can't spend almost a year planning something and then shortchange the actual event without moving every mountain I have to move.

    In this way I can get the cash for the event and not involve my parents in the transaction. Yes, it means paperwork on both ends, but I'm OK with that.
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  20. #20
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    Jewel:

    Your latest idea sounds like the smoothest way to go to give actual cash. Yes, some paper work might be processed, but it won't be as much of a red flag since it is not changing accounts like you proposed with your dad.

    The only glitch may be that banks are closed on December 26, since the 25th is a Sunday.

    Could you possibly make that savings account joint with your mom or dad, and then they can take the money out prior to the 24th?
    Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BucknellAlum View Post

    Could you possibly make that savings account joint with your mom or dad, and then they can take the money out prior to the 24th?
    I was going to suggest this, too.

    Great idea, btw
    Lori

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  22. #22
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    I haven't read all the posts, so excuse me
    If this is a repeat, but do your parents have quick access, to that much money? Could you ask them if you could just "borrow" it for the day? They could take the money out of the bank and give it to you, to give to him? The effect of opening cash would be there, the next day you could explain that HIS money is actually at home and explain the hassle of traveling with a lot of $. And your parents could return the money to their bank.

    Great gift!!

  23. #23
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    I was also going to suggest opening the account in yours and your parents' names so they could get the money in advance. The only drawback I can think of is that, god forbid, they were sued, you could potentially lose the money. My mother had my name on her bank accounts for several reasons and I asked her to change that, just thinking that what if something happened that wasn't covered by my insurance?
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  24. #24
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    I love the sentiment, and the logistics can be worked out a number of ways (I do think opening your own account and not having to involve your parents is much cleaner and better). I hate to be a wet blanket, but I would really be worried about carrying that much cash back and forth, especially at the holidays. It would be risky at anytime, but it seems holidays are worse than average and that there have been more stories (here at least) about people being watched leaving banks after making withdrawals or heading to a bank with deposits. Risking the money would be hard for me, but risking the dream as well just wouldn't be worth it.

    I understand that a single check or play money don't have the same impact, but I think you can keep your money safe and still have some fun with the gifting. I'd try to keep the suspense/drama and cut the risk -- maybe doing something like having $100 in cash (lots of $1s, maybe a couple of larger bills and some change), put it in a container, crumples and scattered -- maybe something he has to dig, shake and work a bit to get it all out to keep the suspense up, and then have a note that says something like "I love you 100% -- and 100 times more. And 100 times more is what's waiting at home for you to make this dream come true."

    The container could be a wine or beer bottle that he has to smash to get everything out. A beer bottle could be fun to tuck into a six pack where the other 5 are full of beer, but a wine bottle could be put in a bag that could cover the bottle for smashing purposes. It could be a Mason jar or a piggy bank with a note around his neck or a tag across his back. You'll think of something that fits the two of you, but I'd be much more comfortable with something that doesn't put the whole dream at risk.

    Something to at least consider? I'd hate to see you work so hard and even take a chance on it.

  25. #25
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    Sounds like you've got it *almost* worked out! Having your own account, or one with your parents jointly, sounds like the least hassle way to go, and you won't be carrying the money! Hope it works out for you -- your gift is such a neat idea!
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BucknellAlum View Post
    The only glitch may be that banks are closed on December 26, since the 25th is a Sunday.

    Could you possibly make that savings account joint with your mom or dad, and then they can take the money out prior to the 24th?
    Great idea... thank you! I will call my mother today and get her details and permission and she can withdraw the cash on Friday. We won't have a late Christmas that way either!

    And I hear you Beth on the security issue... that's why my mother and I both would be accompanied by my father the retired cop who's still packin'.
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  27. #27
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    the retired cop who's still packin'.
    .....Love that!
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  28. #28
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    I don't have any productive input, but I just have to say that I love your idea and enthusiasm, Jewel! I almost can't wait for Christmas, just so I can get an update on how this plays out!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by KristaMB View Post
    I don't have any productive input, but I just have to say that I love your idea and enthusiasm, Jewel! I almost can't wait for Christmas, just so I can get an update on how this plays out!
    Thanks Krista! I seriously can't wait either. I have had this card that I had made online since April!! I pull it out every once in awhile and just stare at it.
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

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