Cashier’s Checks vs. Money Orders

If you need guaranteed funds to pay for a transaction, cashier’s checks and money orders are two options that may be available to you. Even though the two terms often get used interchangeably, these payment methods are actually quite different. Let’s take a closer look at cashier’s checks and money orders so you can choose the right option for your situation.

What is a cashier’s check?

A cashier’s check is an official check issued by a bank or credit union. If you opt for a cashier’s check, a representative will need to sign it. This is because the bank or credit union will take funds directly from your checking or savings account and place the cash in its own account.

Benefits of a cashier’s check

There are a few benefits of using cashier’s checks as your payment method. A cashier’s check is one of the safest ways to make a large payment, so it may be useful if you need to make a security deposit or down payment. A cashier’s check is also much faster than a personal check because it allows the funds to be available as soon as the next day.

What is a money order?

A money order is a paper document that looks like a check and can be used as a form of payment. To purchase a money order, you’ll prepay the amount printed on its face with cash or another type of guaranteed funds. Many stores and other types of organizations like Advance America offer money orders.

Benefits of a money order

Just like cashier’s checks, money orders come with a few notable benefits. Since you’ll have to specify who will receive the money order, and both you and that person must sign it for it to be valid, theft is unlikely to occur. A money order also comes with easy tracking because you’ll receive a tracking number that you can use to ensure the right person received the money order.

Differences between a cashier’s check and a money order

Differences

Cashier’s Check

Money Order

Maximum Amount

Large amounts

Up to $1,000

Issuer

Banks and credit unions

Grocery stores, pharmacies, post offices, convenience stores, etc.

Cost

$10 or more

As low as $1

Credibility

Guaranteed by the bank or credit union

Less secure than cashier’s checks

Maximum amount

The maximum dollar limit is one of the major differences between money orders and cashier’s checks. Limits for money orders usually cap out at $1,000. Cashier’s checks, on the other hand, are available for larger amounts, making them ideal if you’d like to put money down on a car or house.

Issuer

Money orders are typically available at many places including grocery stores, pharmacies, post offices, and convenience stores. Advance America has money orders that you can purchase at a location near you. Cashier’s checks, however, can only be found at banks or credit unions.

Cost

While both options are affordable, money orders tend to be the least expensive. You may be able to buy them for a couple of bucks or even as low as $1. Cashier’s checks cost an average of $10.

Credibility

Since cashier’s checks are drawn against and guaranteed by a bank or credit union, they tend to be more credible than money orders. Some perceive money orders to be riskier since they are available at such a wide variety of places. However, most money orders are safe as long as you purchase them from a reputable organization.

How to get help purchasing a money order or cashier’s check

While you have to go to a bank or credit union for a cashier’s check, you can get a money order from an Advance America location. We offer money orders that you can purchase in-store at any of our locations near you. Make sure to bring cash to cover the money order transfer amount and any additional fees, as cash is the only payment method accepted. You may also use a cashier’s check as collateral for some of our loan products.

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