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The Pros And Cons Of Wire Transfers vs. Cashier’s Checks

The Pros And Cons Of Wire Transfers vs. Cashier’s Checks

A cashier’s check is a check from a bank or a business that people use because it is guaranteed by the issuing bank or business. You saunter in and ask the teller for a cashier’s check of a certain amount. They charge your account for the amount on the cashier’s check and a fee. They hand over the cashier’s check which guarantees the recipient that the check will clear. A wire transfer is a direct electronic funds transfer where your digital money is transferred directly from your account to another account without a third or fourth party being involved. Both methods of funds transfer are going to cost you money, so which is the best: Wire Transfers vs. Cashier’s Checks

Pros And Cons Of Wire Transfers

The biggest selling point for wire transfers is that they are fast. There are no third or fourth parties involved in the process. The computer that stores your digital money information connects with the recipient’s bank account and your funds are transmitted directly. Domestic wire transfers take between a minute and two hours, and overseas transfers take between a minute and four days.

You can send money overseas with a wire transfer. There are money networks set up all around the globe, and they are maintained by a number of very interested and keen parties that go all out to maintain the security of their network because they know that one slip can destroy their network. If you need to send money overseas quickly, then an international wire transfer may be your best option.

You may send your wire transfer online. You may walk into a bank or into a business premises and have them wire your hard cash, or you may log in to your transfer company (or bank) and send the wire transfer using your digital funds stored in your bank account.

As mentioned earlier, wire transfers are safe because the networks that transmit the information are very safe. These are very large and very complex networks and the companies that maintain them (some of them are government agencies) have a lot invested in its success, which is why they are so diligent when it comes to security.

A wire transfer allows you to send a lot of money at one time. You are not limited by an amount, whereas some forms of electronic transfer have limits and money orders have limits. You will still be limited by the laws of your land. For example, in the US you may have to gain extra permission if you want to send more than $10,000 out of the country at one time.

You don’t have to show up in person when you send a wire transfer, which is a massive selling point for some people, though the same is true if you use any sort of electronic funds transfer. Plus, unlike hard cash, you get to dictate who your wire transfer goes to, though the same is true for a cashier’s check.

A wire transfer almost always comes with fees. That is not as true as it used to be these days because there are some banks, money companies and credit unions that offer incoming and outgoing wire transfers for free. Some will offer domestic incoming and outgoing wire transfers to certain places for free, such as to and from citizen’s (not business) domestic bank accounts. However, in most cases, you are going to pay a fee for sending your wire transfer and maybe even for receiving one.

You cannot reverse a wire transfer, which is good news for merchants, but may be bad news for buyers. A wire transfer is usually better for sending money to friends and family rather than for buying things. There are plenty of other ways you may buy things without using a wire transfer because it offers so little protection when compared to something such as using a credit card or using an eCheck issued by PayPal (with eligible PayPal buyer protection in place).

Wire transfers are a common tool for scammers. A scammer will often try to convince you to pay with a wire transfer because they know they can take the money and there is very little (if anything) you can do to reverse the transaction. Usually, the scam involves you sending money or buying something that has a time limit. I watched a Judge Judy yesterday where she said she had emails that were supposedly from her family members saying they were stranded and needed a quick wire transfer. She pointed out that she can video chat with her family members in seconds and actually ask the person who supposedly sent the email if he or she is really stranded. Typically, these types of emails that ask for quick, “Rescue me” wire transfers are from scammers who have hijacked a person’s email account.

Wire transfer fraud meme with old lady

Pros And Cons Of Cashier’s Checks

If you wander into a bank and ask for a certified check, the bank teller will probably give you a cashier’s check instead. Certified checks are becoming rarer these days, but that shouldn’t be a problem because whether you are opting for a certified check or a cashier’s check, you still need the funds available in your account before your bank will issue the check for you. Maybe certified checks are becoming rarer because there is a lower chance of a payment dispute with a cashier’s check.

There is no chance your cashier’s check will bounce. There are probably some readers who know that is not true, but it is fair to say that the chances of your cashier’s check bouncing are very remote. You are more likely to crash in an airplane into a swimming pool filled with jello than you are to have your cashier’s check bounce. A merchant or seller will accept your cashier’s check because he/she/they know it is going to clear and not bounce.

A cashier’s check is going to settle faster than a personal check. How long it takes your checks to process and clear has much to do with your bank and the issuer of the check. Nevertheless, your cashier’s check will undergo fraud checks, but it will not undergo any form of payment dispute due diligence.

A cashier’s check helps reassure the merchant. A cashier’s check may be used to convince people to hold an item or secure a deal because the merchant knows that the check is going to cash. For example, if you wander into a car dealership and hand them a personal check that covers the full cost of the car, they may be unwilling to accept it, but they will not think twice about accepting a cashier’s check.

It is easier to reverse or take back than a wire transfer. In other words, if you are using a cashier’s check, then reversing the transaction is a little easier if you can prove some sort of fraud, and you have a longer amount of time to back out of a deal before the funds clear. In addition, unlike hard cash, a cashier’s check may only be cashed by the named recipient.

There is a chance you may lose your cashier’s check. Losing your check is not a terrible thing because many times you are able to return to your bank and pay them your fee again to re-issue the cashier’s check that you lost. However, losing the check is an inconvenience and risk that you do not get with wire transfers.

Cashier’s checks can be forged or counterfeited. Cashier’s checks are becoming less and less popular in the US and developed nations because online transactions are taking over. This means that the chances of your cashier’s checks being forged are significantly lower than they were as few as ten years ago. Nevertheless, cashier’s check fraud and forgery is still a thing, and it is a risk you do not have with wire transfers.

You have to show up in person if you are using cashier’s checks, or you have to post them. A cashier’s check is not something you can send quickly over the Internet. There are times when sending a paper check such as a cashier’s check is preferable to sending an instant wire transfer, but many people would prefer to have their money sent instantly rather than having to show up in person or post to check.

Conclusion – Wire Transfers vs. Cashier’s Checks

Is one better than the other? I like wire transfers when I am sending money to friends, family or even employees, but I get all of my wire transfers for free, and the wire transfer transaction that will cost me a fee are done through PayPal, so I still don’t have to pay. Cashier’s checks are handy when buying from citizens who cannot accept credit cards or PayPal payments, and they are handy when used as a gift that you stuff into a birthday card.

[o] Wire transfers are better for overseas payments
[o] A wire transfer is better for quick payments
[o] Wire transfers may be better for helping out stranded family members

[o] A cashier’s check may be more suitable for a large purchase
[o] Cashier’s checks may be cheaper when making larger purchases
[o] A cashier’s check may make a better gift

In the argument of wire transfers vs. cashier’s checks, I think they both have their uses, but I also think that cashier’s checks will be a thing of the past in a few years.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

1 Comment

  1. Andy hickes

    Wire transfers may use an intermediary bank which can charge higher fees.
    I wired myself 10000$ from a Peruvian bank to my Citibank account. Citibank said they functioned as the intermediary bank and charged me an additional 140$.
    They denied knowing anything about the charge until I researched it and finally they told me about their functioning as an “intermediary” bank.

    I recently deposited a cashiers check for $220000. From a Peruvian bank into my Citibank account. The charge was $680. Again it was an “intermediary” bank charge.


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