Different types of bank checks include cashier's checks, certified checks and personal checks, each of which offers different features and requirements for redemption. Some banks also offer traveler's checks and money orders, which simulate the use of other checks and cash without the same requirements or limitations.
A cashier's check is a special type of bank draft wherein the issuing bank certifies the presence of the funds, accepting the money from the customer and storing it in its own account until the recipient cashes it. Most banks charge a fee for cashier's checks, though some may waive the cost for customers with certain accounts at the bank.
A certified check is similar to a cashier's check, as it includes a verification of funds, though the issuing bank is not directly responsible for the funds. Instead, a representative of the bank certifies the presence of the balance at the time of drafting and then holds it until the recipient cashes the check, unable to access the money itself for other purposes.
Personal checks are notes from which an account holder draws against personal funds as available. The issuing bank is not responsible for the funds if the account holder does not maintain the appropriate balance to back the promise.
Traveler's checks allow customers to exchange cash for notes that verify the value of the currency when traveling internationally. Similarly, a money order allows a person to provide a direct payment to a bank in exchange for a note that promises payment on the exact amount, typically for a fee.