Cashier’s checks are a secure and efficient way to pay large sums of cash. When you buy a cashier’s check, you pay the bank to front its own funds for the check to eliminate the risk of the check bouncing. Cashing a cashier’s check is very similar to cashing any other type of check, and there are a variety of methods you can choose from.
It’s called a cashier’s check because it’s the bank’s money, issued by a bank cashier (teller) before it becomes yours. There are several options to choose from when it comes to cashing a cashier’s check. So, it’s important to understand what cashier’s checks are and how to cash them.
What is a cashier’s check?
A cashier’s check is equivalent to cash. It represents your money from your bank or credit union, but the funds are backed by the issuing bank. They are then considered the bank’s funds. Another term for cashier’s check is teller’s check because a bank teller (or cashier) can issue these checks. It is a safe and convenient way to transfer money from your bank account to your recipient.
Cashier’s checks are assured by banks or credit unions. Bank customers use their funds to buy the cashier’s check. The bank uses its own funds to assure the validity of the check. Unlike basic personal checks, cashier’s checks rarely bounce. Once cashed, deposits are honored immediately. This risk reduction is appealing to payees.
When to use a cashier’s check
Cashier’s checks are typically used for large or time-sensitive purchases. It may not make sense to bring stacks of cash to pay for large purchases. A cashier’s check solves that issue.
For time-sensitive purchases, the recipient of a cashier’s check will not have to wait for a check to clear. When you get a cashier’s check, the issuing bank releases the funds for immediate use.
In general, a cashier’s check is used when a vendor or merchant requires cash payment but does not accept personal checks. Typically, the checks total $1,000 or more. For example, homebuyers commonly use cashier’s checks for down payments on houses.
If you need to use a cashier’s check, visit your bank or credit union at least 2–3 days before you need it to make sure you get it in time. You will need your ID and bank information to buy a cashier’s check.
Some banks and credit unions also allow you to purchase a cashier’s check online. Check shipping times if you choose this method.
If your situation doesn’t require a cashier’s check
Another way to move your money around when you need to is to write a check to yourself. To take advantage of that option, of course, you’ll need a checking account.
Who can buy a cashier’s check?
Almost anyone who satisfies certain requirements can purchase cashier’s checks. Let’s look at those requirements.
How to qualify to buy a cashier’s check
Here are the requirements you have to meet to be eligible:
- Have enough bank funds in your bank account available to pay to the bank in exchange for the cashier’s check and fees. You can use a traditional checking account to purchase a cashier’s check.
- Have at least one valid form of ID like your driver’s license. You may need a second forms of ID, as well, along with your Social Security number (SSN).
Canceling a cashier’s check
If you buy a cashier’s check and have an issue that comes up, you can’t just void the check yourself. You’ll need to go back to the issuing bank and request to have it canceled and your money returned, minus any applicable fees.
Alternatives to cashier’s checks
Cashier’s checks aren’t always necessary. Here are some alternative payment methods:
- Personal checks: A personal check lacks some of the security, assurance, and efficiency of a cashier’s check. Personal checks come directly from your checking account rather than the bank’s account.
- Certified checks: A certified check is like a personal check. The only difference is that the bank certifies that, when the check is issued, the issuer’s account has enough funds in it to cover the check.
- Money orders: A money order guarantees that funds are available, just like cashier’s checks. Money orders are typically used for smaller payments, and you can save money on fees. You don’t have to go to the bank to buy a money order. Your local Walmart or post office might offer money orders, too.
- Online payment: You have the option to pay with platforms such as PayPal, Google Pay, your bank’s website, and more. These options can be convenient and secure. Make sure the party you are transferring money to or from is trustworthy.
How to cash a cashier’s check
Cashing a cashier’s check is like cashing a normal check. An upside is that a cashier’s check usually clears faster than a normal check. There are a few things you should be aware of about the process of cashing a check.
Who can cash a cashier’s check?
If you have a bank account, you will be able to deposit the check to your account or cash it at your bank, assuming your bank has physical branches. You can also cash a check without a bank account.
When you cash a cashier’s check, be ready to provide at least one form of identification, sometimes two, and possibly your SSN. Financial institutions may charge processing fees when you cash a cashier’s check, so be prepared.
Where to cash a cashier’s check
Cashing checks has never been easier. You have a few options when it comes to where to cash a cashier’s check. All of these options are good, so go with what is most convenient and comfortable for you. Here’s how to to take advantage of each:
- Online: Some banks allow you to deposit cashier’s checks online through your mobile app. This process works just as it would for a personal check. You endorse the check on the back, then follow the app’s instructions on inputting the check’s information. Keep in mind that many banks have a mobile deposit limit. You can utilize PayPal and similar online payment platforms to cash checks and have the money sent to your bank account.
- Bank or credit union: The classic option is cashing your check at a bank or credit union. It doesn’t even have to be your bank or credit union. If you do go to a financial institution you are not a customer of, additional fees may apply. For checks greater than $500, your bank may require you to provide your SSN.
- Check-cashing stores: These exist. Check-cashing stores such as Ace Cash Express, Pay-O-Matic, and Money Mart are available to cash your cashier’s check. These come along with fees which vary from store to store. Some grocery stores and retail stores have check cashing services in them too.
- Big box stores: Stores like Walmart often offer check cashing services. Fees and restrictions vary by store.
Watch out for cashier’s check fraud and scams
Cashier’s checks are secure because of the financial institution that backs them. However, this doesn’t mean that they are immune to scams. The most common cashier’s check scam is fake checks. If you suspect your cashier’s check is fake, you can take some measures to investigate.
What if I think my cashier’s check is fake?
When you receive a cashier’s check, you can contact the issuing bank or credit union. Calling the number on their website is the best way to make sure you are contacting the real bank. Ask them to verify the check for you.
Calling the bank is a good idea, but it doesn’t provide 100% certainty of legitimacy. Funds can be revoked within around 2 weeks if your bank recognizes a fake check.
If you are concerned, you can wait a couple of weeks before accessing the money from your cashier’s check.
Spot cashier’s check scams
Technology has made it easier than ever for criminals to create fake cashier’s checks. Here are some other common fake check scams to be aware of:
- Fake sweepstakes or lottery scam: You win a fraudulent contest of sorts and are sent “winnings” in the form of a cashier’s check. You are then asked to deposit the check and pay associated fees. You may also be told you can use a fake cashier’s check at a select location, like a gift card.
- Work-from-home money laundering scam: You get a new job from home. Your employer asks you to deposit fraudulent checks into your account and then forward it to someone else.
- False payment: You receive payment for a good or service via a fake cashier’s check.
Cashier’s checks are less prone to fraud than personal checks, but you should still use caution and use common sense.
- Cashier’s checks are useful tools for large and time-sensitive payments. They are backed by the bank’s funds to ensure a check won’t bounce.
- As long as you have enough money in your bank accounts and two forms of identification, you can buy a cashier’s check.
- You can cash cashier’s checks by visiting your financial institution, check cashing store, big-box store, or online check cashing services. To cash a cashier’s check, make sure you research the identification requirements, deposit limits, and fees that apply wherever you want to deposit.
- Don’t fall victim to common cashier’s check scams. Call your banks and credit unions or select government offices if you believe someone is attempting to scam you with a fake cashier’s check.
How do I cash out a cashier’s check?
You can cash out a cashier’s check by taking the check to any location that cashes checks. Research fees and requirements of depositing checks, and have your ID handy.
Do cashier’s checks clear immediately?
Most cashier’s checks clear immediately or within one day. Contact your financial institution to be sure.
Can anybody cash a cashier’s check?
Anybody can cash a cashier’s check if they meet these three requirements:
- The check is addressed to you or someone you are authorized to cash the check on behalf of
- You have identification verifying the check belongs to you
- You can pay any fees associated with cashing the cashier’s check
Can I cash a cashier’s check at Walmart?
You can cash a cashier’s check at Walmart. Not every Walmart offers cashier’s check cashing, so check with your local Walmart.
View Article Sources
- Avoiding Cashier’s Check Fraud — Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
- Cashier’s Checks — Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
- How To Spot, Avoid, and Report Fake Check Scams — Federal Trade Commission
- Relevant articles from Self, personal finance, and personal banking sites — Various
- Bounced Check: What To Do When You Write Or Get One — SuperMoney
- Can I Use a Check with an Old Address? — SuperMoney
- Can I Write a Check to Myself? — SuperMoney
- How to Void a Check — SuperMoney
- Single vs. Duplicate Checks: What Are the Differences? — SuperMoney
- What is a Counter Check? Definition & Example — SuperMoney
- Where Can I Cash a Check If I Don’t Have a Bank? — SuperMoney