What Is a Cashier’s Check and How Can I Get One?

A caucasian adult woman customer doing a transaction with a bank teller clerk working behind the bank counter in a retail bank.
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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 for security. Either way, when using this form of payment, it is important to understand the fundamentals.

What Is a Cashier’s Check?

Unlike a personal check, a cashier’s check is an official form of payment where the check is written and guaranteed by a bank to have funds to cover the amount. You, as the account holder would purchase the cashier’s check from the bank. The bank or credit union then writes the check out from their funds to the designated payee.

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. 

How To Get a Cashier’s Check: 5 Steps

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. Here is a step-by-step guide to buying a cashier’s check:

  1. 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.
  2. Choose your method for getting the check. With some banks, the only option is to physically go to a branch and request one. However, some institutions may offer them online. Be aware, though, that this means that it will most likely be mailed through the post office to the payee. This could be an issue if you need to make a payment quickly.
  3. Gather your information. As the teller will fill in the information for you, you need to have it all with you when you make your purchase. 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.
  4. 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, credit card or debit card. 
  5. Finalize. Once payment is made, the teller will prepare the check, sign it and give you a receipt.
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Limits and Restrictions of a Cashier’s Check

If you happen to lose a cashier’s check, you might think you can ask the bank that issued it to place a “stop payment” order. Unfortunately, because the check is drawn on the bank that issued the check — not from your account funds — the bank generally must pay the check once it’s presented. However, you still need to notify the issuing bank if you lose a cashier’s check.

Additionally, if you want the bank to issue a new cashier’s check, the bank will require you to purchase an indemnity bond for the same amount as the lost check. This needs to happen before it will issue you a new cashier’s check. An indemnity bond ensures that you will be liable for any losses that occur — instead of the bank — if the original cashier’s check is presented for payment. 

Some insurance companies sell indemnity bonds, but they can be difficult to obtain. Plus, after purchasing an indemnity bond, you might still have to wait up to 90 days before the bank will issue a replacement cashier’s check.

How Much Does a Cashier’s Check Cost?

Fees for cashier’s checks differ across financial institutions.

Bank Fee Fees Waived?
Chase Bank $10 Free for Premier Plus, Secure and Sapphire Checking
Bank of America, Member FDIC $15 Fee waived for Preferred Rewards
Citi® $10 Fee waived for Citi Priority Account and Citigold® Account
U.S. Bank $10 Free for military customers who have a U.S. Bank Smartly Checking Account
PNC $5 – $10 Fee-free for Performance Select Checking® and Foundation Checking®
KeyBank $8 N/A
Navy Federal Two free cashier’s checks for members each day; Additional checks are $5 each N/A
Ally Bank $0 N/A
TD Bank $8 Fee waived for Beyond Checking, 60 Plus Checking, Signature Savings, Private Tiered Checking and Private Tiered Savings
Wells Fargo $10 N/A
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Is a Cashier’s Check Safe From Fraud?

If money is involved, there can be fraud. To avoid cashier’s check fraud, it can help to know about common scams such as the following.

Work-From-Home Scam

Scammers “hire” someone to work from home as a check processor. The processor unknowingly receives fake cashier’s checks and is instructed to deposit them into his or her account and then forward the money to a third party.

Rental Property Scam

An out-of-state scammer contacts you and asks to rent your property, claiming he is in the process of moving to start a new job. He sends you the first and last month’s rent and a security deposit in the form of a fraudulent cashier’s check. Soon after you’ve received the funds, the scammer calls and says the job fell through and he won’t be moving after all. He says you can keep the security deposit but asks you to refund the first and last month’s rent. You do so and later find out the cashier’s check was no good.

How To Avoid Scams and Fraud

Unfortunately, after you deposit a cashier’s check, it can take weeks to discover that it is fraudulent, such as when the check returns unpaid by the “issuing” bank. Once this happens, your bank will likely reverse the amount of the deposit from the fraudulent cashier’s check and hold you liable for the funds. Here are some tips to avoid cashier’s check fraud. 

  • Use caution when accepting a cashier’s check from someone you don’t know.
  • Contact the financial institution that the cashier’s check was issued from to find out if it’s valid. Do your own research to find contact information; don’t rely on the phone number printed on the check.
  • Never accept a cashier’s check that’s written for more than the amount you asked for.
  • Ask your bank when funds from the check will be made available to you and consider not spending any of those funds until the check has fully cleared.
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Final Take To GO

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, this may be the way to go.

Cashier's Check FAQ

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about cashier's checks.
  • What's the difference between a cashier's check and a money order?
    • Money orders and cashier's checks are very similar. 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, however, here are some key differences:
      • -There's a limit to the amount of each money order, which is typically $1,000. So 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.
  • What are the benefits of a cashier's check?
    • There are many benefits of cashier's checks such as:
      • -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.
  • How do you pay for a cashier's check?
    • Here are some steps you can take to pay for a cashier's check:
      • 1. Determine where you will get the cashier's check.
      • 2. Choose between online or in-person services.
      • 3. Have your payee's information and the exact amount available.
      • 4. Pay for the cashier's check and fees either in cash or from your checking account.
      • 5. Receive the prepared and signed cashier's check as well as your receipt.

Cynthia Measom and Caitlyn Moorhead contributed to the reporting for this article.

Data is accurate as of May 18, 2023, and is subject to change.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.


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