How to Get a Cashier’s Check: A Step-by-Step Guide

Updated on March 5, 2024

If you ever need to make a large payment securely, you may want to get your hands on a cashier’s check. But what exactly is a cashier’s check? And how do you get one? This step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

What Is a Cashier’s Check?

A cashier’s check is a check that is drawn against a bank’s funds rather than your personal funds. So when you get a cashier’s check, the money doesn’t come from your personal checking account – it comes directly from the bank.

Essentially, it’s almost as good as cash because the bank guarantees the funds. As Investopedia explains, there is very little risk that a cashier’s check will “bounce” (be returned unpaid). This makes cashier’s checks perfect for large purchases where the payee wants extra assurance.

For example, you may need a cashier’s check for:

  • Down payment on a home
  • Closing costs for a mortgage
  • Buying a car, boat, or piece of land
  • Any transaction over a few thousand dollars

The name “cashier’s check” refers to the bank teller, also called a cashier, who issues the check to you. The cashier basically certifies that the check is backed by the bank’s funds. While both banks and credit unions can provide cashier’s checks, some may call them “official checks.”

Step 1: Determine Where to Get a Cashier’s Check

You have a few options when it comes to getting your hands on a cashier’s check:

Your Own Bank or Credit Union

The easiest option is to head to your own bank or credit union branch and talk to a teller about getting a cashier’s check. Most banks and credit unions provide cashier’s checks, but they typically only offer them to existing customers.

So if you already have a checking or savings account, this will likely be the quickest and simplest route.

Other Banks

If you don’t have your own bank account, not all hope is lost. Some banks will provide cashier’s checks to non-customers. You may just need to call around.

The catch is that as a non-customer, you’ll probably need to show up with the cash in hand to pay for the full amount of the cashier’s check.

Online Banks

A few banks now let you order cashier’s checks online. However, this process tends to take 1-2 weeks for delivery. So if you need the check right away, heading to a local branch is better. But for non-urgent situations, an online bank could work.

Step 2: Gather the Necessary Information

Before you request a cashier’s check, make sure you have all the key details ready to provide the bank teller or input online:

  • Exact name of the payee: This is whoever you intend to pay with the cashier’s check. You’ll need to provide their precise legal name.
  • Exact check amount: Know exactly how much you need the cashier’s check to be made out for. You can’t leave this blank or estimate.
  • Your ID: Bring a valid government-issued photo ID like a driver’s license or passport. Banks need to verify your identity.
  • Account number (if applicable): If you’re an existing customer getting funds pulled from your account, have your account number ready to provide.
  • Any notes: If you want any notes printed on the memo line of the check, like “security deposit” or “down payment,” determine those ahead of time.

Step 3: Request the Cashier’s Check

Now comes the fun part: actually getting your hands on the cashier’s check!

If you’re visiting a bank branch, just head to the teller window. Let them know you need a cashier’s check and provide all those key details you prepared.

Double check that everything like the payee name, amount, and notes are correct before the teller prints and cuts the check. Once it’s printed, changes can’t be made.

If you don’t already have sufficient funds in your account to cover the check, you’ll need to deposit cash or transfer funds at this point. If you’re a non-customer without an account, be prepared to pay cash for the full check amount.

And if you opted to order a cashier’s check online, carefully enter in all the check details when prompted by your bank’s website. Just note that online checks tend to take 1-2 weeks to actually receive, either via mail or for pick-up.

Step 4: Pay Any Applicable Fees

While it may pain you to hear, cashier’s checks aren’t free. Most banks charge a fee for providing a cashier’s check, usually around $10 or less. Some banks even charge higher fees for online orders than in-person checks.

For example, here are cashier’s check costs at some top national banks:

  • Chase – $10 per check
  • Bank of America – $15 per check
  • Citibank – $10 per check
  • Wells Fargo – $10 per check
  • Capital One – $10 for branch check, $20 for online check

Luckily, you can avoid fees by holding certain premium checking accounts that provide complimentary cashier’s checks. Do your research to see if any bank checking accounts waive this fee.

You’ll be asked to pay your cashier’s check fee when you request one from a teller. And online check orders will simply add the fee to your total automatically.

Step 5: Deposit or Deliver the Check

Now comes the important part – properly delivering the cashier’s check to the intended recipient.

You’ll typically want to deposit or deliver the check in-person whenever possible. This ensures the payee receives the funds quickly to avoid any issues. Encourage them to cash or deposit the check ASAP as some cashier’s checks expire after 60-90 days.

If you must mail the check, use certified mail or a delivery service with tracking. And let the payee know the check is coming so they can promptly cash it.

No matter how you get the check to its destination, save your receipt or confirmation of payment as your proof. Should anything happen to the check, you may need that documentation.

Key Things to Know About Cashier’s Checks

Now that you know how to get a cashier’s check from start to finish – here are some other key things to remember:

  • Unlike personal checks, you cannot stop payment on a cashier’s check once it’s issued. Banks must honor them.
  • If a cashier’s check gets lost, stolen, or destroyed, you can request a replacement. But expect hassles like wait times and fees.
  • Fraudsters often use fake cashier’s checks for scams, knowing banks must honor them initially. Verify legitimacy before accepting any check.
  • While certified checks are also backed by a bank, they’re still drawn on your account rather than the bank’s account like a cashier’s check.

Cashier’s Check FAQs

If you still have some lingering questions about using cashier’s checks, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

1. Why would someone use a cashier’s check instead of a personal check?

Cashier’s checks offer more security than personal checks since they are backed by the bank’s money. The payee can rest assured the check is risk-free and will easily clear.

2. Where can I cash a cashier’s check?

You can cash a cashier’s check at any brick-and-mortar location of the issuing bank. Many banks also allow cashing checks at partner institutions like grocery stores. Some online banks don’t offer cashing options though.

3. How long do cashier’s checks last?

Cashier’s checks are usually valid anywhere from 60 days to a few years depending on both state laws and individual bank policies. The check may indicate a “void after” expiration date – if not, confirm with the issuing bank.

4. Can I get a cashier’s check without a bank account?

Yes, it is possible to get a cashier’s check without having a bank account. But you’ll need to take cash to a bank branch to exchange for the check. Non-account holders usually can’t order checks online.

5. Are old cashier’s checks still valid?

If a cashier’s check has expired according to the “void after” date, the bank may reject it. Very old uncashed checks do still have value though. To claim the funds, you must contact the issuing bank to verify the status and your options.

6. Can I write on a cashier’s check?

You should not write anything additional on a cashier’s check after it’s printed, other than signing the back if you’re the payee cashing it. Any markings could potentially invalidate the check.

7. What happens if I lose a cashier’s check?

If you lose an unsigned cashier’s check, immediately contact the issuing bank to report it lost. You can request a replacement check but may need to purchase an indemnity bond and wait 30-90 days for the reissued check.

8. How do I track a cashier’s check?

Unfortunately tracking options for cashier’s checks are limited. Once you hand off the check to the payee, it is their responsibility. Consider requiring signature confirmation if mailing a large check to have confirmation of delivery.

9. Can I cancel a cashier’s check?

Cashier’s check cancellation is very difficult but may be allowed in cases of loss, theft, or fraud. You’ll likely need to file paperwork asserting the check was lost or stolen before the bank reissues the funds to you, which may take weeks.

10. Is a cashier’s check the same as a teller’s check?

Yes, a cashier’s check and a teller’s check are the same thing. Both refer to checks drawn on the bank’s funds and presented to the teller for issuance – hence the two names. Credit unions may also call them “official checks.”

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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