How Do You Purchase a Certified Check?

You can purchase a certified check by visiting a bank that holds the your financial accounts, seeing a bank teller or other bank official, filling out a certified check form, showing identification, signing the check and paying a transaction fee. Some banks no longer offer certified checks, opting to offer cashier's checks instead, and each bank has its own procedures and fees associated with the purchase.

A certified check is a check drawn on a customer's bank account where the bank guarantees that the customer's signature is genuine and the funds are available in the account for payment. The check is signed by both the customer and the bank. The recipient of a valid certified check is guaranteed payment by either the customer or the bank, virtually eliminating the risk of nonpayment in business transactions.

Purchasing a certified check is usually a simple matter of an account holder making the request at a bank that offers the service and paying the appropriate fee. However, many banks have stopped offering to certify checks because of the risk of misidentifying the account holder, which makes the customer's signature a forgery. Instead, banks offer the purchase of cashier's checks, where the customer transfers funds to the bank in exchange for a guaranteed check drawn on the bank's account that only requires the bank's signature.