Once they’re printed, neither the amount nor the name on a cashier’s check can be changed.
However, in some circumstances, a cashier’s check can be replaced or written over to someone else.
This may occur if a mistake is made on the check, the check expires, or the funds need to be transferred to someone else.
But you never want to rip up and throw away a cashier’s check and replace it with a new one.
If you do this, you risk losing the designated funds completely. Cashier’s checks are not like a regular check you write yourself.
In these cases, they need to be handled differently.
What is a cashier’s check?
Unlike a check you write yourself from your own account, a cashier’s check is a printed check from the bank where they draw on their funds and guarantee their availability.
Banks usually charge a fee of $10-15 to issue one. After the request is made, the funds are taken from your checking or savings account and given to the bank. The bank then issues the cashier’s check from its own funds.
For this reason, a cashier’s check is regarded as the equivalent of cash. Since the funds are guaranteed, there is a never a chance that the check will bounce.
But just like losing cash, if you receive one and then lose it, the funds may be unrecoverable, since they have already been drawn out of the requester’s bank account.
When are cashier’s checks used?
Cashier’s checks may be issued to refund money upon closing of an escrow account.
For example, landlords often do this in the event that a tenant moves out at the end of a lease.
They are also frequently used in real estate transactions or in the distribution of proceeds from a brokerage account.
When you put a down payment on a house, for instance, it usually has to be paid with a cashier’s check.
In general, cashier’s checks are often required when the amount of a large check must be guaranteed. These are cases where the recipient can’t take any risk at all with the check bouncing.
Do cashier’s checks expire?
There are no set rules that govern when cashier’s checks expire.
A notice to “void after X days” may or may not be printed on the front of the cashier’s check, designating an expiration date.
This is typically different to other types of checks, including personal, business, and payroll, which are good for 180 days (Certain banks have a choice regarding whether they are willing to cash them later than that).
In the event that a cashier’s check has expired or has been lost or stolen, a bank may be willing to disregard it and issue a new one, however this isn’t always guaranteed as some banks refuse to do this.
If you are the issuer, you will need to visit your local branch in person to request a stop payment and ask for a new cashier’s check to be issued.
If they agree to do so, you will be charged a fee for the new cashier’s check just as you would with a new one, in addition to a fee for the stop payment, which is often around $20-30.
If a cashier’s check has not been cashed for a considerable amount of time, according to the statute of limitations, the bank will be required to send the unclaimed funds to the state.
This is called escheating, which is the right of the government to take ownership of unclaimed property (in this case, money).
When this happens, the bank will no longer honor the cashier’s check, because they have already given the designated funds away. And it will prove rather difficult should you wish to retrieve it.
Can you write on a cashier’s check?
While you may be able to make a small correction or cross out and initial it on a personal check, you can’t do the same on a cashier’s check.
It is forbidden to write anything on the front of a cashier’s check. Doing so will invalidate it.
If you have been issued a cashier’s check and it is made out to the wrong person, you can return to the bank and have it re-issued to the correct person.
You can do this by simply handing over the first check and asking for a new one. A fee to re-issue will likely apply.
What if a cashier’s check is made out to the wrong name?
If the name on the check was inadvertently misspelled, it is likely that it can still be cashed, as stated in The Uniform Commercial Code.
In this case, the payee would simply need to sign the back of the check with both the misspelled name and the correct name before cashing it.
A small misspelling usually would not warrant the need to issue a new check. However, it’s important, before endorsing the check, to confirm with your bank that they have no issues cashing it.
In rare cases though where the misspelling is beyond acceptable as to make the intended recipient unrecognizable, then you may need to request that the issuer gets a new check printed.
To prevent this from happening, be sure to check the spelling of your name immediately upon receipt of a cashier’s check.
How do I transfer a cashier’s check to someone else?
If a cashier’s check has been made out to you, you can write it over to another person as a third-party check, just like you can a regular check.
You do this by signing the back of the check and writing “Pay to the order of [the name of the person you wish to give it to].”
But before doing this, you might want to confirm your bank’s requirements for third-party checks as sometimes both parties may need to be present.
It is important to note that most banks will only cash them if you are already an account holder.
Can anyone cash a cashier’s check?
Although a cashier’s check is considered the equivalent of cash, it does not mean that just anyone will be able to cash them.
Legally, unless it is signed over to a third party, only the payee on a cashier’s check will be able to cash it.
But like any other check, this does not mean that they can’t be stolen and consequently cashed by those willing to commit identity fraud.
For this reason, if you receive a cashier’s check, it’s always best to cash or deposit it in your account right away to avoid the possibility of theft.