What is a Cashier’s Check and How Do I Get One?

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Key Takeaways

Navigating the world of financial transactions can sometimes feel like decoding a secret language. But when it comes to secure payments, one term you might have come across is “cashier’s check.”

Whether you’re making a large purchase, like a car or a down payment on a home, understanding what a cashier’s check is and how to obtain one can make the process smoother. In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about cashier’s checks, including some common questions you might have.

What exactly is a cashier’s check?

A cashier’s check is a form of payment issued by a bank or credit union, guaranteed by the issuing institution.

Unlike personal checks, where the payment is drawn from the account of the individual writing the check, the funds for a cashier’s check come directly from the bank’s own reserves.

This makes cashier’s checks a more secure form of payment, as the recipient can trust that the check will not bounce due to insufficient funds.

How to Obtain a Cashier’s Check

Getting a cashier’s check is relatively straightforward, but it involves going through your bank or credit union. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Visit your bank: You’ll need to go to a branch of your bank or credit union. While some institutions may offer online services, most require you to be physically present.

  2. Bring identification: Have your ID on hand, as you’ll need to verify your identity to the teller.

  3. Provide payment details: You’ll need to know the exact amount of the check and the name of the payee (the person or entity to whom the check is being made out).

  4. Pay the amount: You can use cash or funds from your account to cover the check amount. There might also be a fee, which usually ranges from $5 to $15.

  5. Collect your check: The teller will issue the check, which is now ready to be delivered to the payee.

    Common questions about cashier’s checks

    How secure are cashier’s checks?

    Cashier’s checks are one of the most secure forms of payment. Since the funds are drawn against the bank’s own reserves, the risk of the check bouncing is virtually nonexistent. However, be aware of scams involving fake cashier’s checks. Always obtain checks from reputable institutions and directly hand them to the intended recipient when possible.

    Can I cancel a cashier’s check?

    Canceling a cashier’s check is possible but can be a cumbersome process. If you lose the check or need to cancel it for any reason, you’ll need to report it immediately to the issuing bank. You may have to wait up to 90 days and pay a fee for a replacement or refund.

    How long does it take for a cashier’s check to clear?

    One of the advantages of a cashier’s check is that it typically clears faster than a personal check — often within one business day after the recipient deposits or cashes it. This quick clearance is due to the check being backed by the bank’s funds.

    What’s the difference between a cashier’s check and a money order?

    While both are secure forms of payment, they serve different needs. Cashier’s checks are typically used for larger transactions and are issued by banks, carrying a higher fee. Money orders, on the other hand, are available at many locations like post offices and grocery stores, have lower fees, and are generally used for smaller amounts.


    Cashier’s checks offer a secure and reliable way to conduct significant financial transactions. By understanding what a cashier’s check is, how to obtain one, and addressing common concerns, you can confidently navigate this aspect of your financial journey.

    Remember, while cashier’s checks are secure, always exercise caution to avoid scams. With this knowledge in hand, you’re ready to make informed decisions about using cashier’s checks for your payment needs.

    Whether you’re buying your dream car, making a down payment on a new home, or handling large transactions, cashier’s checks provide peace of mind for both sender and recipient. Now that you know the ins and outs, you’re all set for a smoother, more secure payment process.

    StellarFi (StellarFinance, Inc.) and its affiliates do not provide financial, tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own financial, tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. StellarFi receives a referral fee from the partners mentioned in this article.