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What Is a Cashier’s Check and Where Can I Buy One?

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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

What If I Lose 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 your 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 of the lost check 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.

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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:

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.

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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:

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.

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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

  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 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.
  3. 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.
  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.
  5. Finalize. Once payment is made, the teller will prepare the check, sign it and give you a receipt.

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How Much Does a Cashiers Check Cost?

Fees differ across financial institutions.

Bank Name Fee Fees Waived?
Chase Bank $10 Free for Premier Plus, Secure and Sapphire Checking
Bank of America $15 Fee waived for Preferred Rewards
Citi® $10 Fee waived for Citi Priority Account Package and Citigold® Account Package
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

How Can I Avoid Cashier’s Check Fraud?

To avoid cashier’s check fraud, it can help to know about common scams such as the following:

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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. 

Final Take

Here’s a quick recap of how to get a cashier’s check.

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Takeaways

  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.

Cashier's Check FAQ

  • What is a cashier's check and how does it work?
    • 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.
  •  Is a cashier's check the same as a cash?
    • No, a cashier's check is an official check written and guaranteed by a bank. They are typically used when a large sum of money is involved.

Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.

Information is accurate as of Nov. 22, 2022.