When the recipient of a payment wants reassurance that a check is valid and will not bounce — especially in large transactions like a car purchase or a down payment on a house — a cashier’s check can be a good solution. In fact, in some financial transactions, a cashier’s check is required.
If you need a cashier’s check but don’t have a bank account, you will likely have to put some time and effort into getting the form of payment you need. You might open an account ASAP, find a financial institution that will issue a cashier’s check to those who aren’t account holders, or else consider using a money order.
The reason why cashier’s checks can be so restrictive and desirable is that they are a very secure form of payment, issued against a financial institution’s own funds. That is why they are not given out casually.
If you don’t have a bank account but need a cashier’s check, this guide will walk you through your options and answer such questions as:
• What is a cashier’s check?
• How does a cashier’s check work?
• Where can you get a cashier’s check without a bank account?
• What are alternatives to a cashier’s check?
What Is a Cashier’s Check and How Does It Work?
A cashier’s check is a type of check that is issued by a bank from its own account and signed by a representative of the financial institution. Because the funds are guaranteed by the bank as opposed to the check writer, recipients of a cashier’s check can be assured of its security. They can feel confident that it won’t bounce.
(This is assuming, of course, that it’s not a fake or forged document — not even cashier’s checks are immune to fraud, which is why it’s important to verify a check.)
When a consumer buys a cashier’s check, the bank will typically withdraw funds from that person’s checking or savings account and then deposit them into its own account. From there, the bank will write the cashier’s check from its own account.
You may wonder what the difference is between a cashier’s vs. a certified check. With a certified check, the money is withdrawn from an account holder’s check and then certified by the bank. This certification indicates that there are enough funds in the account to cover the check and verifies that the account’s owner’s identity was confirmed by the bank. However, the money is not placed into the bank’s own account as an interim step.
Procedures involving checks, like ordering checks or having a cashier’s check prepared, often involve a fee. For cashier’s checks, this could be a flat fee of $10 or $15 or sometimes a percentage of the check’s amount. The fee may be waived for clients who have premium accounts.
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Can You Get a Cashier’s Check Without a Bank Account?
Bank policies can vary, but it can be more challenging to get a cashier’s check without an account. Credit unions may be more willing to offer this service than banks, but it’s important to check with an individual institution to find out whether they’ll offer a cashier’s check without an account.
Keep in mind that you can only get a cashier’s check through a financial institution like a bank or credit union. You cannot purchase one at, say, the post office or Western Union.
If you do find a financial institution that will issue a cashier’s check to non-customers, the rest of the process will be largely the same as it is for customers — except that you will need to pay in cash because the funds can’t be withdrawn from an account.
The steps will likely involve:
• Providing proper identification
• Giving the financial institution the cash to deposit into its account
• Letting the bank employee know the amount of the check you’ll need
• Supplying the correct spelling of the recipient’s (payee’s) name
• The bank prints all of the information; this means you can’t make any changes or handwritten corrections
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Where to Get a Cashier’s Check Without a Bank Account
As far as where to get a cashier’s check without a bank account, most financial institutions won’t accommodate this request. You will likely have to do a bit of research to find one that does. You might try smaller local banks and credit unions in your area to see if they will accommodate this request.
Here is another work-around:
Opening and Closing an Account
If you know you’ll need to have a cashier’s check in the near future, opening a checking account now can position you for this financial transaction. To do so, you will typically need to provide information confirming your identity and choose which type of account you wish to open. From there, you can fill out an application and make an opening deposit, if required.
Then, once the account is up and running, you can request a cashier’s check. Make sure not to get one too far in advance of when it’s needed, because how long a check is good for is typically six months.
When you’re ready to close the account, be sure to transfer funds and move automatic transactions over to a new one, if that’s your plan, or to find other ways to handle these matters.
Can You Get a Cashier’s Check at Any Bank?
Virtually all financial institutions (traditional and online banks, credit unions) will issue cashier’s checks. The challenge can be that they typically only create these financial instruments for account holders.
If you just walk into or contact a bank where you do not have an account, they may not be willing to issue a cashier’s check for you. That’s true even if you have enough cash on you to cover the amount of the check you’re seeking.
Is There a Maximum Amount for a Cashier’s Check?
There is typically no upper limit for cashier’s checks, though policies may vary from one financial institution to the next.
The fact that there isn’t usually a maximum amount for cashier’s checks makes them particularly useful for larger purchases. For example, when undertaking a real estate transaction or buying a car, a cashier’s check may be a preferred form of payment for both parties involved.
Money Order: An Alternative to a Cashier’s Check
If you’re struggling to get a cashier’s check without a bank account or are simply curious what alternatives there may be, you may consider a money order. A money order is a type of paper check that can’t bounce because it’s been prepaid by the sender. Typically, there’s a limit to these, a maximum of $1,000. One big advantage of them is that you don’t need a bank account to get one. This can make it an important option for unbanked people.
For instance, you can go to the post office and do the following:
• Purchase money orders using cash, a traveler’s check, or a debit card (though not a credit card)
• Pay the face value of the money order, plus a fee of a couple of dollars (for a domestic money order)
• Fill out the money order to the payee and complete the transaction
Many banks and credit unions also sell money orders for a small fee of $50 or $10, which may be waived for certain customers.
Money orders are also available at some retail locations, such as pharmacies, convenience stores, Western Union, Moneygram, and more. While fees may vary from location to location, they are usually no more than a few dollars.
Another Options to a Cashier’s Check
If a money order isn’t the right vehicle for you, there may be another way to move money if you cannot access a cashier’s check. You might be able to use a P2P app to transfer funds, such as PayPal or Venmo. These services can have transaction limits and fees, so do your research first.
A cashier’s check is a form of payment that must be issued by a financial institution. Typically, funds are taken out of a customer’s savings or checking account and deposited into the bank’s account. Then the check is issued from the bank’s account, which provides a significant amount of security.
As far as the answer to this question, “Where can I get a cashier’s check without an account?,” some banks or credit unions may allow you to buy a cashier’s check even if you are not a customer, but you may need to call around to determine where this is available. Money orders, meanwhile, can be purchased at the post office and some retail and convenience stores.
Still, the easiest way to get a cashier’s check is to open a bank account. If you’re looking to open an online bank account, see what SoFi has to offer. Our Checking and Savings account offers a competitive annual percentage yield (APY) and charges you absolutely no account fees. Those two features can help your money grow faster. Plus, you’ll enjoy the convenience of spending and saving in one place, and qualifying accounts can get paycheck access up to two days early.
Can you get a cashier’s check without a bank account?
Many financial institutions do require a bank account to issue a cashier’s check. You may be able to get one without an account, perhaps through a credit union. It’s likely easier to buy a money order if that form of payment is acceptable to the recipient. This type of check is more widely available, including at the post office and some retail and convenience stores.
Can I get a cashier’s check somewhere other than a bank?
No. By definition, a cashier’s check comes directly from a bank’s account. You can, however, get a money order from a variety of establishments, including the post office and some stores.
Can I use a money order instead of a cashier’s check?
That depends upon the recipient. Both forms of payment are considered safer than a personal check, but you’ll need to verify that your payee will accept a money order instead of a cashier’s check if that’s what they requested.
Can you get a cashier’s check at the post office?
Only a financial institution can issue a cashier’s check because it comes directly from the bank’s or credit union’s own account. Thus, you cannot get a money order at the post office. The post office does issue money orders, however. If your recipient will accept a money order, you can buy that at a post office location.
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