Since the issuing bank guarantees the funds, a cashier's check is a more secure payment method often preferred as a cash alternative for large transactions. As long as you have a valid cashier's check, you'll find that you can easily cash it at many places if you bring a photo ID and properly endorse the check. Your various options range from using traditional financial institutions to visiting grocery stores and check-cashing businesses. Since these places differ in terms of fees, rules and convenience, you'll want to explore more about each option to figure out where would work best for cashing your cashier's check.
Knowing Cashier's Check Precautions
Before trying to cash a cashier's check, you'll want to make sure it's legitimate. This means you should know exactly who sent you the check, and it should be for a legitimate transaction you've gone through such as a recent item sale.
If a mysterious person gives you a cashier's check and just tells you to cash it or if someone claims to offer you the cashier's check as part of a job, beware since these are common scams. The same applies if you get a cashier's check with a note claiming you won some foreign lottery or have unclaimed funds. Never cash such checks since this would be fraud and can lead to various financial and legal issues. Instead, consider contacting the authorities.
After you've made sure the check is legitimate, you'll also want to make sure it's still valid, especially if you've held on to the check for a while. See if the check has any expiration date on it and contact the issuing bank if it's past that time. Otherwise, your cashier's check usually stays valid for many months or even indefinitely, but it still helps to check with the issuing bank if it's been more than a few months.
Cashing Through Your Financial Institution
If you want to cash your cashier's check with the least hassle and cost, then consider heading right to the bank or credit union where you already have a savings or checking account. As long as you're a customer and payee on the check, you usually won't have to pay anything to either cash or deposit your check. However, you'll want to find out ahead of time about any limits the bank may set for checks. For example, you might have no issue cashing a smaller check right away, but if you deposit a larger check, it can take a few business days to get access to all the funds in your bank account.
The easiest way to cash your cashier's check and get the cash immediately is to visit a local branch with the check, your account information and a photo ID. You may fill out a deposit slip with the check amount and how much you wish to get back. Once your teller completes the transaction, you should get the cash available, and you'll get notified if there will be a hold on remaining check funds.
When you don't need cash from the check right away, you have more convenient options like using an ATM or your bank's mobile app to simply deposit the cashier's check. This usually gives you access to about $200 of the check amount in your account on the same day or next business day if it's after hours, a weekend or holiday. The rest should become available within two to five business days.
Cashing Through Another Bank
In the case where you don't have a bank account, you can try to cash your cashier's check at a local bank where you're not a customer. However, be aware that this often comes with a fee unless you live near one of the few banks that offer free check-cashing services. For example, as of September 2020, Capital One doesn't charge anything, while Citibank has no fees for checks up to $5,000 and PNC Bank doesn't charge for checks up to $25. On the other hand, U.S. Bank charges $5, Fifth Third Bank charges between $4 and $25 and Wells Fargo charges $7.50.
To prevent fraud, banks can place restrictions on cashing checks for non-customers. For example, you can expect to show multiple forms of ID (such as a passport plus driver's license) when you speak with the teller and present the cashier's check. Also, keep in mind that the bank may only cash certain types of checks and may set limits on the check amount.
Since a certified check is considered more official than a personal check, you may have better luck finding a local bank that will help you, especially if the check isn't for a very large amount, but you should still call ahead to learn about the process. If you have a local branch nearby, you could have the best luck cashing your cashier's check at the issuing bank.
Cashing Through Grocery Stores
Major grocery store chains sometimes have check-cashing services at the service desk. While you'll need to pay a fee and have a cashier's check that falls under whatever limit the retailer has set, this can be a fast way to get cash when you have no bank account or just need the money outside your bank's usual operating hours. For this option, you'll usually need your Social Security number along with your photo ID for security purposes.
A couple of the stores and their requirements include the following:
- Walmart: As long as your cashier's check is $5,000 or less, Walmart can either give you the cash or deposit the check amount onto your Walmart MoneyCard. Fees run $4 for cashier's checks $1,000 or less and $8 for larger checks.
- Kroger: Like Walmart, this grocery chain lets you cash cashier's checks up to $5,000, and you can get the money straight away. You can cash a cashier's check below $2,500 for $4 with a Kroger Plus card and $4.50 without one, while fees for cashing a cashier's check over $2,500 are $7 with a Kroger Plus card and $7.50 without one.
Using Check-Cashing Stores
Special businesses that offer cash advances or payday loans tend to provide check-cashing services as well. However, these places tend to have the most expensive fees that often include both a flat-rate fee and a percentage of your cashier's check amount.
Along with showing your ID, you may need your check to undergo a verification process depending on the store's terms. You may have an option to get a convenient prepaid debit card instead of cash for a small fee.
Some examples of such businesses include Check Into Cash, Ace Cash Express and Community Choice Financial (also known as CheckSmart). Check-cashing services may not be available at all locations, and these retailers don't display their fees on their websites. So, it pays to call ahead and find out what you'd have to pay to cash your cashier's check.
Other Options for Cashier's Checks
While you should be able to cash your check using one of the most common options discussed, you also have other ways available.
For example, you could sign up for an online financial service like PayPal or Ingo Money where you can deposit your cashier's check free online from home and have the money sent to a bank account or special debit card for use. If you travel, you can find stops and centers like TA Petro that will cash checks – sometimes for free – if you make certain purchases or have a membership. You can also find cash cashing services at places like some gas stations and convenience stores.
Learn More: What Happens to a Check After You Cash It?
- The Balance: How to Cash a Check
- Huntington: How Long Is a Check Good for: Do Checks Expire?
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Can I Cash a Check at Any Bank or Credit Union?
- Crediful: Where to Cash a Check
- Capital One: Can I Deposit a Check at an ATM?
- My BankTracker: Fees to Cash a Check for Non-Customers at the Top Banks
- Walmart: Check Cashing
- Kroger: Check Cashing
- Check Into Cash: Check Cashing Get Your Check Cashed Fast!
- Community Choice Financial: Get Cash Fast
- Ace Cash Express: Check Cashing with ACE
- PayPal: What Is the Cash a Check Service in the PayPal App?
- In Go Money: Home
- TA Petro: Check Cashing Services
- NerdWallet: Cashier’s Check: When You Need One, How to Get It
- WalletHub: Cashier’s Check Fraud & Scams: How to Spot a Fake
- Code of Federal Regulation. "12 CFR 229.2(i)." Accessed April 10, 2020.
- U.S. Postal Service. "Sending Money Orders." Accessed April 10, 2020.
- Code of Federal Regulation. "12 CFR 229.2(j)." Accessed April 10, 2020.
- Code of Federal Regulation. "12 CFR 229.2(ll)." Accessed April 10, 2020.
- U.S. Department of the Treasury. "Answers about Cashier's Checks." Accessed April 10, 2020.
Ashley Donohoe has written about business and technology topics since 2010. Having a Master of Business Administration degree, bookkeeping certification and experience running a small business and doing tax returns, she is knowledgeable about the tax issues individuals and businesses face. Other places featuring her business writing include Zacks, JobHero, LoveToKnow, Bizfluent, Chron and Study.com.