Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
Updated on Thursday, March 4, 2021
A cashier’s check is issued by a bank or credit union and is drawn off of the institution’s funds, unlike a personal check that is drawn off of the funds in your bank account. As a result, this form of payment guarantees to the receiver that the funds are available and good.
When you’re paying your rent or a utility bill, a personal check is often a sufficient form of payment. But when you’re making a major purchase, you usually need a form of guaranteed funds, which is when a cashier’s check may be an option to consider.
- How does a cashier’s check work?
- How to get a cashier’s check
- How to cash a cashier’s check
- Cashier’s check fees
- Alternatives to cashier’s checks
- Cashier’s check: FAQ
How does a cashier’s check work?
Cashier’s checks are often used for large purchases, such as making a down payment on a house or buying a vehicle. The seller wants to ensure the transaction will go through, which is why they will often request this form of payment.
When issuing a cashier’s check, the bank or credit union will withdraw the money from your checking or savings account and transfer it into their account. The cashier’s check is then written under the financial institution’s name.
With a personal check, the payment could bounce if the account has insufficient funds. But since a cashier’s check is drawn off the bank or credit union’s funds, it is considered to be more reliable and trustworthy. The funds are securely held by the bank or credit union until the receiver cashes the check.
How to get a cashier’s check
When you need a cashier’s check, a good first step is to reach out to the institution where you do your banking. Banks and credit unions will often issue cashier’s checks to their account holders.
To get a check, go to a branch and walk up to the teller. You will typically need to provide the following information:
- A government-issued ID, such as your driver’s license or passport
- Your bank account information
- The amount of the cashier’s check
- The name of the recipient
- A memo that needs to be noted on the check
The teller will transfer funds from your account to the bank’s account, and then print the cashier’s check.
You also may be able to get a cashier’s check if you have an account with an online bank. For example, Capital One allows customers to order a cashier’s check through its online banking system. You can have the check sent to your address by mail.
How to cash a cashier’s check
Like any other form of payment, if you receive a cashier’s check, you can deposit or cash it at a bank or credit union where you are an account holder, either in person or through mobile deposits. Another option is to cash the check at the issuing bank, which you can find printed on the check. Simply bring a government-issued form of identification, and the issuing bank will confirm the check is legitimate.
Some retailers that offer check-cashing services will cash your cashier’s check. For example, Walmart will cash a cashier’s check with a limit of $5,000; between January and April, it increases the limit to $7,500. It charges $4 for checks up to $1,000 and $8 for checks up to the current limit.
Cashier’s check fees
In many cases, you will have to pay a service fee in order to get a cashier’s check. While the cost will vary, expect to pay between $8 and $20. Some banks and credit unions will waive the fee for certain types of account holders.
Here is a roundup of fees charged by several major financial institutions:
|Cashier’s Check Fees at Major Banks|
Cashier’s check fee
Is a fee waiver available?
|Bank of America||$15||Yes|
|US Bank||$10||Yes (for military members)|
|Capital One||$10 to $20||No|
Alternatives to cashier’s checks
Cashier’s check vs. money orders
A money order is similar to a check and can be used to pay smaller expenses, such as rent. While you can get a money order at your bank or credit union, they are more widely available than cashier’s checks and can be purchased at the post office, as well as at convenience stores and grocery stores. Money orders usually cost less than $2, but they often have a $1,000 limit.
The difference between cashier’s checks and money orders is that the financial institution guarantees the funds from a cashier’s check. And while cashier’s checks are usually more expensive than money orders, they can be issued for much larger amounts.
Cashier’s check vs. certified check
A certified check is a personal check written on your account. Your bank or credit union certifies that the money is available and that the signature is legitimate, and then sets aside the funds until the check clears.
While cashier’s checks and certified checks are similar, the main difference is that a cashier’s check is guaranteed by and written off of the bank’s account.
Cashier’s check: FAQ
Only in certain situations. If the cashier’s check was lost or stolen, the financial institution may issue a stop payment in compliance with the Uniform Commercial Code.
If you’re not a member of a bank or credit union, you may still be able to obtain a cashier’s check. Some banks will allow walk-in cashier’s check services if the purchaser uses cash as a payment form. Be sure to call before you visit a branch to confirm that the bank will complete the transaction.
If you visit the branch of a bank or credit union, there typically isn’t a limit on the amount. However, some online banks may cap the amount you can receive. For example, Capital One limits its cashier’s checks to a $500,000 daily limit and a $250,000 limit per check.
Yes. Online banks, such as Capital One and Ally, offer cashier’s checks online for their customers. The check will be delivered by mail or overnight courier.
Fake cashier’s check scams are unfortunately common. To verify that the check is real, call or visit the financial institution’s branch on which the check is drawn. However, instead of using the phone number listed on the check, which might be part of the scam, do your research and confirm the correct phone number.