How to Replace a Cashier's Check

A cashier's check is an obligation of the bank.
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Replacing a misprinted or damaged cashier's check is simple enough and can be done by making a visit to your local bank, but replacing a lost check is much more problematic. Technically, banks can't refuse to honor cashier's checks, meaning you can't stop a lost check being cashed. However, if you're prepared to wait, you can eventually get a replacement.


Cashier's Checks

A regular bank check is a promise to pay, but there are no guarantees that the check writer has funds in her account. In contrast, a cashier's check is an obligation of the issuing bank. You have to pay for it with cash, and the bank then funds the check from its own holdings. You can get a replacement for an erroneously printed check by exchanging it for a new check at the issuing bank.


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Uniform Commercial Code

State banking laws are based in part on contract laws found in the Uniform Commercial Code. Within the UCC, cashier's checks are categorized as bank drafts. The UCC states that a bank cannot refuse to negotiate a bank draft. This means a bank can't place a stop payment on a cashier's check, because doing so would prevent its negotiation. In fact, a check payee can sue an issuing bank for damages if that bank refuses to honor a cashier's check.


Check Replacement

Despite the prohibition on stop payments, the UCC includes a provision for check replacement. You can get a replacement if the original has never been negotiated and at least 90 days have passed since the issue date. You must provide your bank with the payee and the check number, as well as other information as needed. If you don't have this handy, your bank may be able to locate the check information based on the amount or date of issuance. Outstanding cashier's checks are subject to abandoned property laws that exist in most states. If several years have passed since you bought the check, your bank may have turned over your cash and records of the check to the state. You then can contact the state to reclaim your money.


Indemnity Agreement

You have to sign an indemnity agreement when you get a replacement cashier's check. Through the agreement, you assume liability for any losses incurred by the bank in the event someone cashes the lost check. This could prove costly, especially for a large check. Alternatively, you can buy a bond which passes liability onto an insurance company. You pay a small fee, and the insurance company cover the bank's losses if the missing check is ever cashed.