Can You Stop Payment on a Cashier’s Check?

Written By Matthew Thompson
Last updated July 12, 2021

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Personal Finance
July 9, 2021

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Businesses and individuals often require cashier’s checks when accepting large payments or payments from people with low credit scores. They prefer cashier’s checks because the money does not come directly from the payer’s account. Instead, it comes from the bank’s account. Because of this, you might find yourself in a difficult situation when you ask, “Can you stop payment on a cashier’s check?”

Before exploring whether you can stop payment on a cashier’s check, take some time to learn about how the payment option works. Some people confuse money orders and cashier’s checks. While the two payment options share some traits, they do not function in precisely the same way.

Features of a Cashier’s Check

  • You get them from a bank or credit union.
  • They offer certified funds that ensure only the right person or organization gets paid.
  • Cashier’s checks protect your private information, such as your checking account number.
  • You can order a cashier’s check in any amount, as long as you have enough funds to cover the amount.
  • Most financial institutions charge about $10 to issue cashier’s checks.
  • Money from the cashier’s check comes from the bank’s account instead of your checking account.
  • Since financial institutions guarantee the payments, most businesses prefer cashier’s checks over money orders.

Features of a Money Order

  • Many gas stations, grocery stores, and other businesses sell money orders.
  • You can expect to pay about $5 to buy a money order.
  • Most sellers will not issue money orders for more than $1,000.
  • Only the person or business named on the money order can cash the payment.

When you get a cashier’s check, you will need to go to your financial institution to make the purchase. Most issuers will only write cashier’s checks for their account holders, although some will provide cashier’s checks to non-members in exchange for higher fees.

The clerk will give you a document to list the important details, such as the name of the recipient and the amount of money you want.

You can either give the clerk cash or have the money transferred from an existing checking account with the bank or credit union. If you do not have a checking account, you can either transfer money from a savings account or request a money order instead.

The clerk will give you a cashier’s check that includes the name of the recipient and the amount of money you requested.

Can you stop payment on a cashier’s check after this point? That largely depends on the institution.

You can cancel a personal check rather easily as long as you don’t mind paying a fee for the service. Stopping payment on a cashier’s check, however, takes a lot more effort.

Perhaps you want to know whether you can stop payment on a cashier’s check because you have:

  • Decided not to purchase an item.
  • Lost the cashier’s check.
  • Missed the opportunity to lease an apartment, car, or other high-value property.

Now, you have a cashier’s check that you cannot use. Can you stop payment on a cashier’s check to get your money back? The financial institution that wrote the check gets to make that decision. Even if the bank agrees to stop payment, you will need to follow several steps and pay some extra fees.

If you absolutely need to stop payment on a cashier’s check, contact your financial institution to ask about stopping the payment. Assuming that they have a process in place, expect to:

  • Complete a “declaration of loss” form.
  • Wait between 30 to 90 days for the bank to make sure no one cashes the cashier’s check.
  • Buy an indemnity bond that ensures repayment of the amount on the cashier’s check.
  • Pay the financial institution a fee—typically about $30—to cancel the check.

Keep in mind that your bank can refuse to stop payment on the check.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have run out of options, though. The bank manager might change their mind when you threaten to withdraw your funds and close all of your accounts, including your credit card accounts.

Do not threaten to leave, though, unless you can follow through with the plan. Your words will carry more weight when you have enough money in your checking account to repay your entire credit card debt. If you have a high credit card balance and very little money in your checking account, the bank might call your bluff.

Nearly everyone needs a cashier’s check at one point or another. Perhaps you want to buy a new car. The dealership will not accept cash because keeping that much money on location creates risk. The dealership will either require a cashier’s check or for you to rely on financing.

There are times, though, when you can avoid cashier’s checks. If you want to rent an apartment, the landlord will look into your credit history to determine your level of risk. People with exceptional credit histories can often use regular checks to pay their deposits. If you have poor credit, the landlord might ask for a cashier’s check because it offers secured funds.

Some of the simplest ways to improve your credit rating and make cashier’s checks less necessary include:

  • Paying all of your bills on time.
  • Keeping accounts open, even if you never use them.
  • Getting copies of your credit report so you can look for inaccurate information.
  • Maintaining low balances on your credit cards and other lines of credit.

Ideally, you will never need to stop payment on a cashier’s check. If you do, it helps to have a financial history that shows you represent very little risk and use money wisely.

About the Author

Matthew Thompson

With more than two decades of writing and optimization experience, I know how to keep readers engaged, mimic brand voices, and get first-page rankings on search engine results. I have written for companies in diverse industries, including emerging technologies, wellness, consumer apps, enterprise software, UI/UX, outsourcing, and education.

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