A cashier's check, also known as a bank check, treasury check, and teller check, is often required as a means of payment in circumstances where the transaction needs to be more secure than with a personal check. A cashier's check is purchased ahead of time, so the recipient of the check knows that the funds are guaranteed by the issuing institution, unlike a personal check, where the recipient must trust that the issuer indeed has the funds in a personal account to cover the check.
1. Make Sure It's Real BEFORE You Accept It for Payment
The number of fraudulent cashier's checks are on the rise. In order to protect yourself, before you accept this form of payment call the issuing bank directly to ensure that it is legal. Find the phone number through your telephone directory. Part of the scam of a fraudulent cashier's check is to place a bogus bank phone number that is actually directed to a person involved in the scam. This person will answer the phone and very convincingly verify the check information.
2. Endorse and Bring Identification
You must endorse the check and will be required to produce adequate identification before you will be allowed to cash a cashier's check. Do not sign the check until you are standing in front of the teller.
3. Cash at the Issuing Institution
Though not always possible due to location, the best option is to cash a cashier's check at the issuing institution. This institution will be able to release funds for a genuine cashier's check immediately. OR
4. Cash at an Institution Where You Hold an Account
If you are unable to cash a cashier's check at the issuing bank, you can cash it at your own. The drawback to this option is that you must have available funds to cover the check in the case that it is returned by the issuing bank. This can take up to several weeks to clear.
For your protection, the US Department of Treasury advises only purchasing or accepting cashier's checks from banks, savings and loans, and credit unions.