Negotiable instrument

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A negotiable instrument is any financial document that directs payment to its holder or a named party.  More specifically, a negotiable instrument must be written, signed by the maker, include an unconditional promise or order to pay a sum of money to the holder or specific party, and be payable any time or on a specific date. 

Examples of negotiable instruments include bank checks, promissory notes, certificates of deposit, and bills of exchange.

The issuance and transfer of negotiable instruments in the United States are governed by Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code, Article 4 of the Uniform Commercial Code, and Article 8 of the Uniform Commercial Code

Further Reading

For more on negotiable instruments, see this St. John's Law Review article, this University of Texas at Austin Law Review article,