A certified check is guaranteed by a bank and essentially proves to the payee that you have enough funds in your account to cover the transaction. Certified checks are common when large down payments are required -- for buying a car or a house, or when putting down a security deposit on a rental property. To get a certified check you must go to your bank and have a teller prepare it for you. Your bank then sets the money aside to ensure the check does not bounce.
Many banks charge a fee for certified check services, although some will provide it for free as a perk to its customers. If the fee is a deal breaker for you, compare certified check pricing and costs at different banks. Look at the following types of institutions to evaluate their fees for certified check services:
- Review the websites of large institutional banks to see how much they charge for certified check services.
- Consider the costs of certified check preparation at smaller, local banks.
- Check out credit unions to see if they will offer customers a break on cashier check services.
Review the fees charged by large banks for certified check services
Large institutional banks charge less than $10 for certified check services. Check with the bank before opening an account to see if the fee may be waived based on the type of bank account you have.
Compare the cost of obtaining a certified check at smaller or local banks
Smaller, local banks appear to be competitive with the larger banks, charging approximately $10 per check. Similar to larger banks, it is not uncommon for them to offer discounts in the fees, so be sure to see if you are eligible.
See if credit unions will discount certified check fees
Credit unions seem to offer the best deal on certified checks. Most offer their members discounts on many services. Shop around for a credit union and see if you can qualify as a member. It may save you some money on a variety of fees down the road.