How Much Does a Certified Check Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

A certified check is a check that verifies that there is a sufficient amount of funds in the bank account to complete the transaction.  A certified check is commonly used for transactions such as a down payment on a home, a car purchase or a larger purchase where the funds need to be guaranteed, and unlike a normal check, these checks cannot bounce and will ensure the recipient that the cash will be there.  The cost of a certified check will depend on the amount needed and the bank where the transaction is processed.

How much does a certified check cost?

No matter what bank you use, they are more than likely going to have a service that caters to certified checks.  These transactions are commonly done with the bank teller, and on average, plan on spending anywhere from $0 to $15 for a service fee.  It is not uncommon for a bank to give out a certified check for free to its customers, especially if you’re in a higher tiered customer category.  Refer to our table below to see what popular banks are charging for their certified checks, but do keep in mind that based on our research, we had found most banks only issue cashier’s checks and tend to avoid the certified checks.

BankCost
AllyAt this moment, they don't offer certified checks.
Bank of America$10 for all account holders, but if you're a preferred member, it's free. FYI: This is for a cashier's check, not a certified.
BBT$10 (cashier's check only)
BBVA Compass$8 for cashier's checks for customers only. No certified available.
Capital OneCashier's checks only and will be $10 for customers or $20 for overnight shipping for online customers.
Chase BankFree for all customers. Cashier's checks only.
Citizens Bank$3 for customer
Discover BankFree for all customers. Cashier's checks only.
Key BankFree for premium customers
OceanFirst$10
Pentagon Federal Credit UntionFree for all customers.
PNC BankFree for all customers as long as account has certain balance. Else, $10 per check.
State Farm BankFree for standard delivery and $10 for overnight.
SunTrust Bank$8 for customers and $15 for non-customers
TD Bank$8, but fee is waived if customer has Select or Signature Advantage checking account.
U.S. Bank$7 for cashier's check only. Waived for Platinum or Premium checking account members.
Union Bank$10 for customers and $15 for non-customers. Cashier's checks only.
Wells Fargo$10 or free for those with PMA checking.

What is a certified check?

A certified check is going to guarantee the recipient that the funds are available, and this check cannot bounce like a personal check.    This check will be written by the account holder and guaranteed by the bank.  With this type of check, the bank will make sure the account holder has enough funds in his or her account and will also make sure the signature matches up to the one on file.  Also, when the certified check is written, the bank will set this money aside so it can’t be used while the check is active.  The whole point of this check, like a cashier’s check, is to assure the buyer the funds are available.

Under the UCC, the bank and the customer can be held liable for the payment.

Upon some certifications, a bank may impose certain rules such as “void after 60 days.”

How do you get a certified check?  To get a certified check, visit your bank branch in person since most won’t be able to accommodate this request online, although some do.  In person, the bank will certify you have the funds available and will certify the check by stamping the check you wrote out once this and your identity is approved.

What are the extra costs?

If you do not have a bank account with the particular bank you’re looking to get a certified check with, most are going to charge more than those that have a bank account with them.  Be prepared to pay more than those that have an account.

Amounts that are more than $500 are going to have a higher surcharge than those that are less than $500.  The denomination of the check can influence the check fee.

Tips to know

People often wonder what the difference between a certified check and cashier’s check is.  While both are considered an “official check” by the bank and are guaranteed payment, the biggest difference is that with a cashier’s check, the bank will receive the money from the purchaser and then issue a check for that amount, guaranteeing it at face value.  A certified check, on the other hand, will have funds drawn against the bank, not against a personal account, written like a check.  In other words, a cashier’s check is basically paid with cash, while a certified check will hold the funds in an account.

Fraudulent checks are rampant, even with certified checks.  Even though it can be easy to spot some fakes such as grammatical errors or a typo, most criminals can make it very hard to distinguish what’s real and what’s fake.  To make certain, call a bank before cashing or completing a transaction to make sure it’s real, but before you do so, don’t call the number on the check as this can be fake as well.  Instead, obtain the number online and use the official number to play it safe.

Other ways to check for a fake is to match the official bank address with the one on the check, as well as match up to other information such as the phone number and bank spelling.

Banks won’t certify starter checks or line of credit checks.  Be sure to check their policies before proceeding.

How to cash a certified check without a bank account?  If the recipient doesn’t have a bank account to cash this check, they can go to the bank where the check was issued.  As long as they can provide a government I.D. and a thumbprint, the bank will be more than happy to cash it.

How long does it take for a certified check to clear?  Once deposited, it can take up to two days to clear.  According to TD Bank, their policy states the first $5,000 will be available on the first business day.

How can I save money?

Credit Unions are commonly known to have lower rates.

Another place to check for a certified check is the local post office.

Check with your bank before you go to any other bank.  Most banks are more than happy to give you a discounted rate if you are already a customer.


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