Updated on Monday, November 30, 2020
When comparing a money order versus a cashierâ€™s check, the main differences are the maximum amount allowed for purchase, the associated fees and the locations at which they are available. While both money orders and cashierâ€™s checks offer a secure way for you to make payments, cashierâ€™s checks are typically considered more secure than money orders.
Hereâ€™s what you need to know about money orders and cashierâ€™s checks.
There are more ways to secure a money order than to get a cashierâ€™s check. Money orders also typically boast lower fees than cashierâ€™s checks. Additionally, you donâ€™t have to provide any personal information, such as a bank account number, to get a money order.
Cashierâ€™s checks must be purchased at a financial institution â€” such as a bank or credit union â€” and they may include your personal bank account information. You can get a cashierâ€™s check for a much higher amount than a money order, however, to pay for expenses such as a down payment on a car or closing costs on a home purchase.
|Money Order vs. Cashierâ€™s Check|
|Money order||Cashierâ€™s check|
|Cost||Up to $2||Up to $10|
|Where to get one||Convenience stores, big box retailers, grocery stores, post office, check-cashing stores||Bank or credit union|
|Amount maximum||Usually up to $1,000 domestically and $700 internationally||Any maximums are set by the individual financial institution|
|Bank account required?||No||Depends on the financial institution|
With a money order, the cost for purchase is based on the amount of the money order and the location from which you purchase it. For instance, Walmart charges a max fee of $0.88 for a money order, while the U.S. Post Office (USPS) bases its fees on the money order dollar amount. At the USPS, the fee is $1.25 for money orders up to $500; for amounts between $500.01 and $1,000, the fee is $1.75. For postal military money orders issued by military facilities, the fee is $0.45.
Banks also charge varying fees for cashierâ€™s checks, and many may waive those fees for current bank customers.
There are multiple businesses where you can buy money orders, including grocery stores, big box retailers, convenience stores, check-cashing stores and the post office. In contrast, getting a cashierâ€™s check is limited to financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions.
With money orders, if you need to pay more than $1,000 for an item, you typically must purchase more than one money order, which could lead to hefty fees. To purchase a cashierâ€™s check, you may be required to have an account with the financial institution from which you get it. And, unless you are purchasing a cashierâ€™s check for a particularly large amount, the fees could exceed what you would pay to get a money order.
Money orders are handy if you want to pay a bill and donâ€™t have a bank account. Even if you do have a bank account, using a money order is an option if you donâ€™t want to share your banking information with the person to whom you are sending money. If the person you are paying doesnâ€™t have a bank account, a money order could be easier for them to cash.
Money orders also are a secure way to send money through the mail, as it Is far safer than sending cash, which cannot be traced if your mail is lost. In addition, when you buy a money order, you have a receipt for that purchase in the event of a lost money order. You can cancel the money order or ask for a refund, although you may have to pay a fee for doing so.
Cashierâ€™s checks can be a good choice when you need to make a large payment and the recipient requires guaranteed funds. You may use a cashierâ€™s check to make a down payment on a car, to cover for closing costs when purchasing a home or to pay a security deposit on an apartment.
Unlike a personal check, a cashierâ€™s check is guaranteed by the financial institution that issues it, so the funds are available immediately. Cashierâ€™s checks also are considered more secure than money orders, because a cashierâ€™s check contains more security features than found on a money order. For example, these may include a watermark or signatures from two employees with the issuing financial institution.
However, using cashierâ€™s checks can be costly because of their hefty fees. Using a personal check or making online transfers from your bank account or via a payment app can be a free or low-cost alternative for making payments without the hassle or fees of purchasing a cashierâ€™s check.
Both money orders and cashierâ€™s checks offer secure ways to make payments, but there are other options that may be a better fit for your financial needs. This includes: