Whether youâ€™re paying for your groceries or paying the rent, writing a personal check will usually suffice. However, for much larger purchases, such as a down payment on your dream home or the classic 1950s hot rod that youâ€™ve always wanted, you might be required to pay with a cashierâ€™s check, also known as a tellerâ€™s check.
A cashierâ€™s check â€” now called an official check by many financial institutionsâ€“ is different from a personal check in that the bank or credit union signs it and guarantees the receiver that the funds are available â€” no chance of bouncing a check here! And, because the bank is signing the check, the chance of fraud is significantly reduced.
To get a cashierâ€™s check, first ask your own bank if they offer the service. Most banks do it for their account holders as well as walk-ins; whereas most credit unions offer this service only to their members. You may also obtain a cashierâ€™s check online. For example, Capital One members can order a cashierâ€™s check by signing into their online account, choosing â€śAccount Services and Settingsâ€ť and then â€śCashierâ€™s Checkâ€ť under the Checks tab.
According to MyBankTracker, the average fee for a cashierâ€™s check is $9.10. For bank account holders and credit union members, the fee typically will be lower, or waived altogether. For example, Chase charges its account holders an $8 fee for a cashierâ€™s check, but the fee is waived for those who have a Premier Plus Checking account. At Wells Fargo, the fee for their account holders is slightly higher than average â€” $10, plus an $8 delivery charge â€” but this can vary depending on the type of account the customer has.
Credit unions typically provide cashierâ€™s checks for their members only and the costs can vary. For example, Alliant, a credit union based in Illinois, does not charge its members a fee for a cashierâ€™s check unless the member wants the payment expedited. First Tech Federal Credit Union only provides cashierâ€™s checks for its members and charges a $5 fee.
Unlike a personal check, it is the bank or credit union representative who will be filling out and signing the cashierâ€™s check, not you. You also cannot have a blank cashierâ€™s check. When you order a cashierâ€™s check online, however, you are the one who fills out the information. In both scenarios, you will need the name and address of the person or business you are paying, the amount of the check and, if you are doing the transaction in person, your identification. You also need cash or a debit card to cover the cost of the check. The money must be available in your account, and, importantly, the amount of money you assigned to the check will be frozen until the cashierâ€™s check is cashed.
Say you need a check for $5,000 but a cashierâ€™s check is not possible and you do not want to use your personal checking account. There are other payment options to choose from: