Making a big financial transaction can be stressful, and the last thing either party wants is an issue with the payment. Personal checks can bounce unexpectedly, and even when they don’t, it can take several business days for a check to clear. That’s where cashier’s checks come in.
A cashier’s check is a check that the bank issues and you pay for upfront. It’s used for transactions over $1,000. Cashier’s checks are backed by the bank’s own money, not your personal checking or savings account, so the recipient can access the funds right away and doesn’t have to worry about fraud or fake check scams.
Here’s everything you need to know about how cashier’s checks work, including where to get a cashier’s check without a bank account.
Where to get a cashier’s check without a bank account
Figuring out where to get a cashier’s check without a bank account can be tricky. That’s because many banks only offer them to customers. If you need to get a cashier’s check without a bank account, here are your options.
Open a free checking account
The simplest option is to open an account at a bank or credit union that offers cashier’s checks. Some banks offer free checking accounts with no minimum balance, and you can order a cashier’s check as soon as you’ve put some money into it.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons why you may not have a personal bank account, so this isn’t an option for everyone.
Order a cashier’s check online
If you have a bank account at a local or regional bank, and there aren’t any branches nearby, then you may be able to order a cashier’s check online.
Many banks allow customers to order a cashier’s check online or over the phone. If you can wait a few days for the check to arrive, simply log in to your bank account to order it online. Your bank can either mail it to you or send it directly to the recipient.
Call up your local bank or credit union
Both of these options still require you to have a bank account. Is there anywhere to get a cashier’s check without a bank account at all?
Although most banks only offer cashier’s checks to customers, there are exceptions to the rule. Your best bet is to call up several banks beforehand, that way you don’t show up to get a cashier’s check and go home empty-handed.
Remember, if you don’t have a bank account, you’ll have to pay for the check in cash, the same way you would for a money order.
Can you cash a cashier’s check without a bank account?
If you’ve received a cashier’s check from someone else, you don’t need an account at the issuing bank to cash it. When you endorse the check, you may need to show the issuer a photo ID that matches the name on the check.
Another option is to put it into a deposit account at a different bank. Some banks, such as Chase and U.S. Bank, allow you to deposit a cashier’s check using a mobile phone or an ATM, but there may be limits on the amount you can deposit.
You can also take the check to a check-cashing store, although they may charge a higher fee to cash it.
What if I lose or misplace a cashier’s check?
It’s important to let your issuing bank know as soon as possible if you’ve lost or misplaced a check.
They’ll only be able to cancel it if you can physically bring it back to them. Once it’s out of your possession, there’s no way to void it, so there’s a risk that someone else might find it and try to cash it.
You may need to get an “indemnity bond,” which protects the bank from liability, and you may have to wait one to three months before they’ll issue you a replacement.
What is a cashier’s check?
A cashier’s check is a type of check that’s signed by an employee of the issuing bank, guaranteeing that there are sufficient funds to honor the amount of the check.
This is in contrast to a personal check, which you can fund with your personal checking account. If you spend the money before the recipient cashes the check or if you didn’t have enough in the account to begin with, it’ll bounce. The recipient won’t be able to access their money, and you might have to pay a fee to your financial institution.
When should you use a cashier’s check?
For large purchases, such as a down payment on a house or car, a cashier’s check can be a good option. The seller may not accept debit cards or credit cards, and a cashier’s check is safer than other forms of payment like cash or a regular check.
There’s no upper or lower limit for a cashier’s check, but it’s worth considering for large payments over $1,000, or anything above your credit limit. You can expect to pay a fee of $5-$15 to the issuing bank or credit union. For example, Bank of America charges $15 for cashier’s checks, but waives the fee for some customers.
Alternatives to cashier’s checks
A cashier’s check isn’t your only option for large purchases. You could also consider a money order, a certified check, or a money transfer. Each of these options have their own pros and cons compared to getting a cashier’s check.
A money order is similar to a cashier’s check in that it won’t bounce. But while a cashier’s check is guaranteed by your financial institution, a money order is simply paid for upfront.
You don’t need a bank account to get a money order; you can get them at U.S. Postal Service locations, Walmart, and even at some convenience stores. At the post office, you’ll pay a fee of $1.65-$2.20 and can pay with a debit card or with cash.
The catch is that money orders typically max out at $1,000 or $2,000, depending on where you get them, so they aren’t suitable for large amounts.
Another alternative to a cashier’s check is a certified check. You can pay for a certified check upfront just like you would for a money order, but it may be more convenient to go to a financial institution where you’re already an account holder.
That’s because a bank employee can check your account to make sure that you have sufficient funds, and then hold those funds until the check is cashed. This is different from a cashier’s check, in which the bank guarantees the check with its own funds.
Both options are more secure than a regular check and suitable for large purchases and real estate transactions, so ask the recipient if they prefer one type over the other.
Electronic money transfers allow you to send money directly from one bank account to another, so there’s no need for a cashier’s check at all. Two of the most common types of electronic money transfers are ACH and wire transfers, both which have their own processing speeds and fee structures.
Electronic transfers are simplest if both parties have a bank account, but you can wire money without a bank account at some financial institutions.
Money transfer apps
Another option is to use a money transfer app like Venmo (in the U.S.) or Remitly (for international transfers). Many money transfer apps don’t require you to have a bank account and have lower fees than traditional bank transfers.
You can fund your transfer with a debit card or credit card, and send the money directly to the recipient’s bank account or to their digital wallet.
Save money with an online transfer
Cashier’s checks are a safe and secure way to transfer money, but they can be hard to get without a bank account and can’t be used internationally. If you need to send money overseas, try a money transfer app like Remitly instead.
Remitly makes it easy to send money around the world with fast transfer speeds and transparent, affordable fees. And if your recipient doesn’t have a bank account, they may be able to access the money at a cash pickup location instead depending where your recipient is located.
Download the app today to get started!