Cashier’s checks are often the preferred payment method for large transactions because they are backed by bank or credit union funds and usually clear faster than regular checks. As long as the cashier’s check is authentic, the risk of the check bouncing is nonexistent.
Cashier’s checks are also considered safer than using debit cards or traditional personal checks, as the funds are guaranteed. Learn how much a cashier’s check costs and where to get a cashier’s check.
How to Get a Cashier’s Check
To get a cashier’s check, you will need to take the following items to your bank or credit union:
- Personal identification: Driver’s license or passport and bank account number or ATM card
- Payment: Sufficient funds in your existing account at the financial institution, or funds to open a new account
- Check recipient information: The person or company the bank should make the check payable to
- Money for fee: Payment for the cashier’s check fee as set by your bank
Where to Get a Cashier’s Check
If you have a checking account or savings account at a major bank or credit union, you can get a cashier’s check at a local branch. If you don’t have an account at that financial institution, you might still be able to get a cashier’s check by opening a new account with the necessary funds and paying a cashier’s check fee. Cashier’s checks are only available from financial institutions, unlike money orders, which can be purchased at gas stations, convenience stores and post offices.
How Much Does a Cashier’s Check Cost?
Most banks provide a cashier’s check for a flat fee between $7 and $12, typically $10. If you have a certain balance or type of checking account, cashier’s check fees might be waived.
Unlike inexpensive store or U.S. Postal Service money orders, which have maximum limits of $1,000, cashier’s checks are available from banks in much larger amounts, typically whatever is available in your account. Larger money orders can be convenient for things like automobile purchases, and residential rental or real estate purchase deposits.
Avoid Cashier’s Check Fraud
The Federal Trade Commission has issued many warnings to consumers about scams involving the receipt of counterfeit cashier’s checks. Here are two common types of scams:
- Secret shopper scam: You are “hired” to evaluate the customer service at a money transfer service and given a cashier’s check. You are told to deposit the check at your bank, withdraw the amount in cash and send it to a person in a foreign city. By the time the forgery is discovered, the money is long gone.
- Pay for prize scam: An official-looking notice comes in the mail, saying you won a fabulous prize but must pay taxes, shipping and handling, or processing fees. You might also receive a cashier’s check to deposit, with instructions to wire a portion of the money back.
If you receive a cashier’s check but doubt its authenticity — or the offer seems too good to be true — call the financial institution and verify the account and funds. Even though the bank, account and routing numbers listed might be real, the check could still be counterfeit.