Cashier’s Check: What Is It and When Should I Use One?
What Is a Cashier’s Check?
A cashier’s check is an official check written and guaranteed by a bank. The person purchasing the cashier’s check pays the bank for the check. The bank then writes the check out to the designated payee.
Benefits of Using a Cashier’s Check
- Only the designated payee can cash the check, making them a very secure method of payment.
- Typically provides a quicker payout.
- Funds are backed by a bank, so the check won’t bounce.
When To Use a Cashier’s Check
Cashier’s checks are the preferred method of payment for many people when a large sum of money is involved. This is typically at least $1,000, but some organizations may require a cashier’s check for anything valued at more than a few hundred dollars.
Many organizations prefer a cashier’s check because it’s a safer payment method since the funds are guaranteed. That means that they don’t have to worry about counterfeit or bounced checks after they have released a purchase to the buyer.
Some common situations that require a cashier’s check include:
- Putting a down payment toward a new vehicle or boat
- Providing a security deposit for an apartment rental
- Making a real estate purchase
Other companies require a cashier’s check if they need funds to settle quickly. This is common when working with brokerage firms.
Good To Know
Even if a company doesn’t require a cashier’s check, there are times it can still benefit you to use one, like making a rent payment quickly to avoid eviction or late fees, for example. If you need to pay something quickly or just want a more secure method of payment, a cashier’s check is the way to go.
Cashier’s Check vs. Money Order
Money orders are another commonly accepted method of payment, and the term is often used interchangeably with cashier’s checks. However, they are different things.
With a money order, the buyer prepays the total amount in exchange for a small piece of paper. It can be given to the payee, who can then deposit it into their account. In this manner, a money order is similar to a cashier’s check.
A money order differs from a cashier’s check in that:
- There’s a limit to the amount of each money order. Western Union is typically limited to $500 a money order while the United States Postal Service is usually $1,000. If you need $2,000 in money orders, you have to purchase several and pay a separate fee for each one.
- The buyer fills out the money order instead of the bank.
- Money orders are not backed by a bank, and they can take longer to settle.
Money Order Benefits vs. Cashier’s Check Benefits
Money orders can be useful in some cases, especially if you are sending a small amount of cash. The fees are often lower than some cashier’s checks, so as long as you are not buying multiple, you can save a little money.
Additionally, you don’t need to have a checking account to purchase a money order. You only need cash or a prepaid card.
While some banks allow you to get a cashier’s check without an account, most don’t. Therefore, if you don’t have a checking account, a money order may be an easier option.
Both money orders and cashier’s checks provide advantages and disadvantages. Choosing between the two will come down to any requirements you must meet and your fees.
Steps To Get a Cashier’s Check
- Determine where to get your cashier’s check. If you have a checking account, call your bank to make sure it provides cashier’s checks for customers. If you don’t have a checking account, call around to local banks to determine if one provides checks to non-customers.
- Choose your method for getting the check. With some banks, the only option is to physically go to a branch and request a check. However, some institutions are now making the process available online. Be aware, though, that this means the cashier’s check will most likely be mailed to the payee, which can be an issue if you need to make a payment quickly.
- Gather your information. As the teller will fill in the information for you, you need to have it all with you when you purchase the cashier’s check. This includes the name of the payee and the exact amount you’re paying. Take your ID with you as well as they will likely request it.
- Make your payment. How you pay will depend on the institution issuing the cashier’s check. If it’s a bank where you have an account, the amount of the check will simply be taken from that account plus any fees. If you’re a non-customer, you’ll likely need to pay cash.
- Finalize. Once payment is made, the teller will prepare the check, sign it, and give you a receipt.
Cashier’s Check Fees
Fees differ across financial institutions.
|Bank Name||Fee||Fees Waived?|
|Chase Bank||$8||Chase cashier’s check is free for Premier Plus, Secure, and Sapphire Checking.|
|Bank of America||$15||Fee waived for Preferred Rewards.|
|U.S. Bank||$10||Free for military customers.|
|PNC||$10||Fee-free for Performance Checking, Virtual Wallet Performance, and other select customers.|
|BBVA||Unlimited cashier’s check for $2 per statement cycle.||N/A|
|Navy Federal||Two free cashier’s checks for members each day. Additional checks are $5 each.||N/A|
|TD Bank||$8||Fee waived for Beyond savings and checking, 60 Plus Checking, and Private Tiered Checking or Savings.|
|Wells Fargo||$10||Free for Primary and Preferred checking customers.|
Here’s a quick recap of how to get a cashier’s check.
- Determine where you will get the cashier’s check.
- Choose between online or in-person services.
- Have your payee’s information and the exact amount available.
- Pay for the cashier’s check and fees either in cash or from your checking account.
- Receive the prepared and signed cashier’s check as well as your receipt.
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- Forbes. 2020. "Everything To Know About Cashier’s Checks."