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What is a cashier’s check?

Use this option for large purchases or sales, but beware of scams.

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Cashier’s checks are often used when making large purchases, such as buying a home. As long as you have enough money in your account, getting a check from your bank isn’t difficult. Here’s what you can expect from a cashier’s check, its common uses and requirements.

What is a cashier’s check?

A cashier’s check is guaranteed by the financial institution that issues it. While it may look like a traditional check, it’s actually more like paying with cash. This is because the bank has to verify that you have enough money in your account to cover the amount.

Requirements

Every bank is different, so you might want to call ahead to make sure you have all the requirements. In general, make sure you have the following information on hand:

  • Name of the payee. You need the exact name of the person or business you’re paying. Your bank won’t issue the check with this field blank. And if you misspell the name, the payee can’t cash it.
  • Amount. Make sure you know the exact amount that you’ll need. If you add the incorrect amount, you’ll have to pay to issue another cashier’s check.
  • Form of identification. You’ll need a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport and your account number.
  • Memo text. Because a cashier’s check is a legal document, it’s a good idea to indicate what the check is for in the memo.

Common uses

Cashier’s checks are typically issued to make a major purchase or large payment, such as buying a car or a home or making a down payment on a loan. But you can also use one when a payment needs to settle quickly, because cashier’s checks don’t need time to clear like a traditional check.

How much does a cashier’s check cost?

The fee to issue a cashier’s check is usually between $7 and $10, but some online banks issue them for free. We’ve compared the fees charged by the 10 largest banks below:

BankFee
JP Morgan Chase$8
Bank of America$15
Citigroup$10
Wells Fargo$10
U.S. Bank$8
Ally Bank$0
PNC Bank$10
Capital One$20 if purchased online with overnight shipping;
$10 if purchased at the branch
Citizens Bank$10
HSBC North America$12

Compare the 10 largest banks

Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Chase Premier Plus Checking
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
Get a $300 signup bonus as a new Chase checking customer when you open a Chase Premier Plus Checking account and set up direct deposit. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Chase Total Checking
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit within 60 days of opening your account. Chase's simplest checking account is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
HSBC Advance Checking
$0
Surcharge-free HSBC ATMs nationally and internationally, plus up to four rebates a month for using non-HSBC ATMs in all US states except New York
Get up to $270 (max. $50 per month) for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Advance checking account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
HSBC Premier Checking
$1
Free to use at all ATMs in the US
$0
Get a 3% cash bonus, up to $600 (max. $100 per month) during first six months after account opening. Must open HSBC Premier checking account through offer page by September 30, 2020, and set up qualifying direct deposits into the new account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
Chase Private Client
$250,000
$2,000 welcome bonus when you join and transfer a total of $250,000 or more in the first 45 days in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible personal checking, savings and/or investment accounts, (excludes any You Invest, J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs), and maintain that balance for 90 days. Offer available to existing Chase customers only.
Chase Sapphire Checking
$0
Free to use anywhere worldwide
$0
Get a $1000 welcome bonus when you join Sapphire Banking by October 14, 2020. Within 45 days of joining, transfer a total of $75,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible checking, savings and/or investment accounts (excludes any J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs), and maintain the balance for at least 90 days.
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Are cashier’s checks safe?

The bank’s guarantee makes a cashier’s check safe. But it can be forged just like any financial document. Some of the most prevalent cashier’s check scams include:

How to spot a fake cashier’s check

Use the following tips to avoid accepting a fake cashier’s check:

  • Payee’s name. A cashier’s check will always have a named payee. If yours is blank, it’s probably a fake.
  • Amount. If the amount on the check is for more than you’re expecting it may be fake. Make sure you don’t return the difference in cash.
  • Name of the bank. Some fakes have legitimate banks displayed on the check. Be wary if you’ve never heard of the bank or if the bank is overseas.
  • Phone number. If there’s no phone number for the bank displayed, you are probably holding a fake cashier’s check. If there’s a phone number, verify it online.
  • Verify the check. Always verify a cashier’s check with the bank of origin.
  • Security features. Most fraudulent checks won’t have common security features like watermarks, security thread or microprints . And if they do have those features, they’re usually low quality.

Can I cancel a cashier’s check?

You can put a stop payment on a cashier’s check, but it typically costs more than when you stop payment on a traditional check. After the stop payment, you may not have access to your funds for anywhere from 30 to 90 days, depending on your bank’s policy.

How cashier’s checks compare to other guaranteed forms of payment

Using a cashier’s check isn’t the only way to pay for something securely. You can also purchase a money order, certify a check or use a wire transfer to send money, but each of these methods have different costs and uses:

Cashier’s CheckMoney OrderCertified CheckWire Transfer
Best forLarge purchasesPurchases under $1,000Large purchasesSending money overseas
Drawn fromYour personal accountCash or your personal accountPersonal accountPersonal account
Average cost$10-20$1-2 at retail locations

$5-10 at banks

$5-$15$20-$30 domestic

$35-$65 international

Where to issue/purchase
  • Bank
  • Credit union
  • Bank
  • Credit union
  • Convenience store
  • Post office
  • Pharmacy
  • Wire service
  • Grocery store
  • Bank
  • Credit union
  • Bank
  • Credit union
  • Wire service

Bottom line

Cashier’s checks are the preferred currency for real estate and other high-dollar transactions, because the funds are guaranteed by your bank. If you tend to make large purchases requiring a cashier’s check and pay a hefty fee for each one, you might want to consider looking at other checking accounts at other banks.

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