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What is the Difference Between a Cashier's Check, a Money Order and Certified Check?
by Mary Beth Guard

Question: What is the difference between a cashier's check, a money order and certified check? What are their functions?

Answer: Certified checks are rarely used in today's banking world. They formerly signified that a bank was certifying that the funds represented by the customer's check were actually in the account. They are so uncommon that I've had a handful of bankers call me over the last ten years asking about the procedure for creating a certified check! They had never had the occasion to certify one before.

A cashier's check is a check drawn by a bank on an account maintained at the same bank.

A money order can be a one-shot checking account, or can be the equivalent of a cashier's check, depending on how it is made up, who the drawer is, what it is drawn on.

The original version appeared in the July/August 2003 edition of the Oklahoma Bankers Association Compliance Informer.

First published on 12/8/03

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