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What is a Cashier’s Check

What is a Cashier’s Check?

To understand what a cashier’s check is and how it is used, it helps to start at the beginning. If you have ever written a personal check to pay for an item or service, you are likely familiar with the concept: Paying with a special slip of paper imprinted with your account number, routing number, personal information, payment information, and signature.

The Difference Between Personal and Cashier’s Checks

In certain cases, personal checks may not be appropriate. High dollar items may need the bank to assist in the transaction, by taking the money from the customer, verifying its existence, and issuing their own promise to pay in the form of a cashier’s check.

The differences between personal and cashier’s checks:

  • A personal check is drawn on your account, but a cashier’s check is drawn on the banks' account.
  • A personal check has some security features, but a cashier’s check typically has more advanced features, such as watermarks or color-changing ink.
  • A personal check written for unusually large sums may be subject to additional scrutiny to prevent fraud, but a cashier’s check is generally accepted at face value once authenticity is determined.

Difference Between Money Orders and Cashier’s Checks

Money orders are similar to cashier’s checks in their function and can act as a prepaid personal check alternative. While, cashier’s checks and money orders share a number of similarities, the major differences are:

  • A money order can be purchased in a variety of places, including grocery stores and post offices, where a cashier’s check must be issued by a financial institution.
  • A money order typically needs to be deposited in a bank account to be redeemed and may take up to a week to clear funds. A cashier’s check can be redeemed at the issuing bank – and, potentially, other venues as well – virtually instantaneously.
  • A money order has an upper limit, such as the $1,000 maximum value imposed by US Postal Service money orders. A cashier’s check generally has no upper limit, and can be issued for hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases.
  • A money order must be paid for with funds furnished at the buying counter. A cashier’s check can be paid for with your bank account, provided your bank is the one issuing the check.

How Do I Get a Cashier’s Check?

Here’s a few things you’ll need to take with you to the bank when getting a cashier’s check:

  • You will need to prove who you are with two forms of identification.
  • You will need the payee’s information.
  • You will need to pay a small fee to process the cashier’s check.

How Do I Cash a Cashier’s Check?

What should you do if you are on the other end of the equation – if you are receiving payment via cashier’s check? Believe it or not, one of the best ways to handle a cashier’s check is to have patience.

Once deposited a cashier’s check will “clear” your account much faster than a personal check or money order, giving you fast access to funds.

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Santander Bank does not provide financial, tax or legal advice and the information contained in this article does not constitute tax, legal or financial advice. Santander Bank does not make any claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax advisors regarding any financial strategies mentioned in this article. These materials are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of Santander Bank.

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