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Bank Official Checks vs Cashier's Checks
Answer by John Burnett, BOL Guru
Guru Bio

Question:  What is the difference between "Bank Official Check" and Cashier's Check" if any, and which one is the most effective?

Answer:  "Official Check" is a term that is often used to refer to cashier's checks and teller's checks, both of which are defined in both the Uniform Commercial Code and in Regulation CC, but the term "official check" has no legal definition. There's another term, "treasurer's check," that is often used by banks who have a treasurer rather than a cashier. That term has no legal definition in the UCC or in Regulation CC, either.

I imagine that the term "official check" was adopted for use by a bank that issued teller's checks, which are checks drawn by a bank and payable at or through another bank, because "teller's check" didn't sound official enough. The usage has caught on and a lot of banks print "official check" on their cashier's/teller's/treasurer's checks just because the term seems to be accepted well by the public.

Regardless of what label you put on a check issued by a bank, it carries the legal status of a cashier's check or teller's check under the UCC or Regulation CC if it meets the definitions found there. Those definitions make no reference to what the check is called by the bank. The only things that matter are the drawer (a bank) and who the payor bank is. If the check is paid by the drawer bank, it's a cashier's check under the UCC; if the check is payable at or through a different bank, it's a teller's check. The Regulation CC definitions are slightly more restrictive, but not so much to matter to this question.

First published on 12/14/09

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