Cashier’s Check vs Money Order: How to Decide

Money order vs cashier’s check. How does this match up pan out? The answer is it depends on what you are trying and the cost you are prepared to pay.

Both money orders and cashier’s orders are guaranteed forms of payment. Trusted third parties guarantee both of these.

In the case of money orders, they are backed up by the Postal services or banks while Cashier’s check is almost always issued by banks and credit unions.

They are both required form of payment for some suppliers who may not want to risk it by accepting personal checks. Personal checks can bounce as we all know.

There are however times where a payer himself may decide to use these methods for security purposes.

Not a long time ago parents would send pocket money to their children in the form of money orders.

With the development of various online payment methods, money orders are now going out of fashion.

Even cashier’s checks are not as popular as they were before.

Before we go on to mention the differences let’s define these forms of payment first.

What is a money order?

A money order is a certificate or in other words, a printed document for a pre-specified amount of money and is issued by a Post Office or financial institution that the stated payee can use to receive cash.

While they look similar to checks they are different in that when you buy a money order you are prepaying the amount printed on it.

You pay for it in cash, credit card or debit card. The fact that the funds are prepaid for the amount shown on it makes money orders a guaranteed and trusted way of paying for things.

There is a maximum limit of $1,000 for money orders.

Therefore if you want to purchase more than $1000 you will need to purchase multiple money orders.

money order

What is a cashier’s check?

A cashier check is another guaranteed form of payment and is a check which is issued by a bank or credit union and signed by a cashier or teller.

The banks will immediately withdraw the funds plus the fees from the purchaser’s account to their account.

The funds, therefore, are drawn on the bank’s own funds rather than from the purchaser.

It is mainly used to make large payments.

This is definitely a much better form of payment for any seller or payee than a personal cheque that can bounce.

cashier's check

Differences between a Money Order and a Cashier’s check

While both money orders and cashier’s checks are guaranteed funds payment they have a few differences which will be discussed in the following paragraphs.

Difference in cost

The major difference between a money order and a cashier’s check is the cost of purchasing them.

Money orders are sold in smaller amounts and compared to cashier’s checks they are cheaper in cost.

The U.S Post Office charges $1.25 for money orders up to $500. For those up to $100 be prepared to pay $1.70.

They are even cheaper if you buy them from Western Union where they cost up to $1 for money order up to $1,000.

However, if you are purchasing a cashier’s check be prepared to pay fees of around $10.

Some banks and credit unions can waive fees on cashier’s checks for customers with premium accounts.

Difference in places where they are bought

One can buy money orders at many different locations. You can get them from Post offices, banks, credit unions, retailers such as Walmart, groceries, gas stations, etc.

However, you can only buy Cashier’s checks from banks and credit unions.

Limits

Currently, money orders have a limit of $1,000 in some places like the Post Office. Some places might have a different limit.

For the cashier’s checks, the amounts you can use are much much higher and depend on how deep your pockets are.

Trust

While both Cashier’s checks and money orders are all guaranteed forms of payment some people view them differently.

Because Cashier’s checks are issued by banks almost all organizations and people perceive them to be more secure than money orders which are issued by various types of organizations.

People trust banks more than other organizations when it comes to money.

Cash Availability

If you deposited some money orders today you can have the first $200 within one working day.

It takes a bit more time for money orders to clear the bank as compared to Cashier’s checks. However, money orders issued by the United States Postal Services fair much better and can take the same time to clear as Cashier’s checks.

For Cashier’s checks, the first $5,000 is usually available with one working day.

Similarities between money orders and cashier’s checks

There are a few similarities between money orders and cashier’s checks.

  • They both look like normal checks we are all used to. They actually have the same features as a check where you have space to fill the payee, the amount, date, etc. Just like personal checks, you can deposit both into a bank account or you can cash them too if the bank allows it.
  • Both are trusted by sellers. Most sellers who would turn down personal checks will have no problem accepting money orders or cashier’s checks. This is because both are guaranteed by third parties. Personal checks can bounce but a properly issued cashier’s order or money order will not.
  • Good option for those who don’t want to reveal their bank account details. If you are in this group then you might not want to issue personal checks that have your account number printed on them, etc.
  • They are both a nuisance to cancel. If something happened to them and you wanted to cancel them, it takes some time to have them stopped for payment by the institutions that issued it. If they are already cashed then it would be too late.

What’s better money order or cashier’s check?

It all depends on the type of payment you want to make. If you want to make a small payment of under $1,000 then I would suggest that a money order is a better option than a cashier’s cheque.

On the other hand, if you are making a big payment then the best option is a cashier’s check.

Otherwise, if you opted for a money order you may have to buy enough money orders to meet the amount you want as they have a limit of $1,000.

For example, if you wanted to make a payment for $100,000 you may need 100 $1,000 money orders.

Conclusion

I hope you have made your choice in this matchup of Cashier’s Check vs Money Order. If you are looking to make a payment of less than $1,000 then money orders are the better option in some situations. However, f you are making a huge payment then Cashier’s checks will be more convenient.

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