Bank Draft vs Certified Cheque: Which is Right for You?

May 18, 2024
Bank Draft vs Certified Cheque

Bank Draft vs Certified Cheque: Which is Right for You?

Key Highlights

→ Bank drafts, certified cheques, and money orders are all secure payment methods

→ Bank drafts and certified cheques can both be issued by banks, but bank drafts are more common nowadays.

→ Certified cheques may have higher fees compared to bank drafts.


Bank drafts and certified cheques are forms of payment widely used in financial transactions. Understanding their differences and how they work is crucial when deciding which to use. Security features, availability, and processing times play significant roles in making the right choice. Whether it’s for real estate transactions, large purchases, or investments, knowing the key dissimilarities between these payment methods is essential for smooth financial dealings. Choosing the appropriate option based on your needs can streamline your payment processes and safeguard against potential fraud.

Understanding Bank Drafts and Certified Cheques

Bank drafts and certified cheques serve as secure forms of payment. A bank draft is a prepaid amount drawn from the issuing bank, while a certified cheque verifies the payer’s account has sufficient funds for the transaction. Key differences lie in their security features and processing times. Bank drafts are commonly used for significant transactions such as real estate purchases, while certified cheques are suitable for smaller transactions.

Both methods offer a reliable way to transfer large sums of money securely.

Definition and Basic Principles of a Bank Draft

According to National Bank: “A bank draft is a payment instrument that carries a guarantee of funds from your financial institution.”

A bank draft is a form of payment issued by a financial institution, such as a bank or credit union, on behalf of the payer. It guarantees the amount of money stated on the draft, drawing funds directly from the payer’s account or a reserve account. The key feature of a bank draft is its security, often including a unique serial number for tracking. This payment method is commonly used for large purchases, real estate transactions, or in situations requiring guaranteed funds.

Definition and Basic Principles of a Certified Cheque

According to Nerd Wallet: “A certified cheque is a type of cheque that is guaranteed by the issuing financial institution.”

A certified cheque is a type of payment instrument where the issuing bank guarantees the funds are available and earmarked for the recipient. This assurance is often indicated by marking the cheque as “certified” or similar phrasing. The bank ensures that the payer has sufficient funds in their account and then sets aside that amount to cover the cheque. In essence, a certified cheque offers a higher level of security compared to a regular cheque.

Key Differences Between Bank Drafts and Certified Cheques

At first glance, these definitions may sound almost exactly the same! For all intents and purposes, they can pretty much be considered the same. There are only slight differences between a bank draft vs certified cheque.

Bank drafts typically have lower fees compared to certified cheques. The main differences simply lie in availability and fees, which will vary from bank to bank. We recommend evaluating your bank’s specific offers and fees to make your final decision between bank draft vs certified cheque.

How Bank Drafts Work

Bank drafts are secure forms of payment issued by a bank on behalf of the payer. To obtain one, you provide the bank with the necessary funds plus any fees. The bank then debits your account and creates a draft payable to the recipient. Commonly used for large transactions or international payments, bank drafts guarantee payment since they are drawn against the bank’s funds, ensuring the recipient gets the money. The recipient can deposit the draft into their account, and it functions as a reliable payment tool.

Steps to Obtain a Bank Draft

To obtain a bank draft, visit your financial institution or bank. Request a bank draft from a bank representative. Fill out the necessary form with the recipient’s name and the draft amount. Ensure you have enough funds in your account to cover the draft amount and any associated fees. The bank will then issue the bank draft with a unique serial number for tracking purposes. This process guarantees the recipient that the funds are secure and readily available.

Common Uses for Bank Drafts

When making large payments or transactions, bank drafts are commonly used. Bank drafts are commonly used for:

  • Real estate transactions like down payments.
  • Large or uncertain business transactions.
  • Cross-border purchases.

Moreover, bank drafts are preferred in cases where personal or other types of cheques are not accepted due to concerns about insufficient funds.

How Certified Cheques Work

Certified cheques function as a secure payment tool, often used for large payments. The bank validates the availability of funds in your account, then issues a certified check in the payee’s name. This paper document guarantees payment as the bank sets aside the cheque amount in your account. When the payee deposits it, the bank verifies the signature and ensures sufficient funds before releasing the payment.

Steps to Obtain a Certified Cheque

To obtain a certified cheque, you would first need to visit a financial institution where you hold a bank account. Next, request a certified cheque from a bank employee. You will have to provide the exact amount of money needed for the certified cheque. The bank will then deduct this amount from your account and issue the certified cheque in the payee’s name. It is crucial to ensure that your account has sufficient funds to cover the certified cheque amount.

Common Uses for Certified Cheques

Certified cheques are commonly used for real estate transactions where large sums of money are involved, ensuring the recipient that the payer has enough funds. They are also favoured in professional relationships, acting as a secure payment method.

In the case of large payments, certified cheques provide assurance to the payee and are often preferred over regular cheques due to the guarantee of funds being available at the payer’s account.

Pros and Cons of Using Bank Drafts

Bank drafts offer heightened security and are ideal for large transactions where verification is crucial. However, these drafts come with the risk of loss or theft and should be treated the same way as cash. A bank draft cannot be stopped or cancelled, so it’s important to ensure it gets safely delivered to the recipient.

Pros and Cons of Using Certified Cheques

Certified cheques also have similar pros and cons compared to bank drafts. On the positive side, certified cheques offer a guaranteed availability of funds. Certified cheques also provide a level of fraud prevention, as they require verification and certification by the bank or financial institution. This makes them a suitable payment option for large transactions and provides peace of mind for both the payer and the recipient.

However, there are some downsides to using certified cheques, like the risk of losing it, inability to cancel the cheque, and high fees that banks may charge.

Making the Right Choice for Your Transactions

When it comes to deciding between a bank draft and a certified cheque for your financial transactions, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, the amount of the transaction is an important consideration. Bank drafts are often used for larger transactions, such as buying a car or real estate, while certified cheques are suitable for a wide range of transactions, including paying suppliers or making business transactions.

Be sure to check with your specific bank, as fees and bank preferences vary. It’s likely that a wire transfer or E-transfer could even be a cheaper or quicker option for your transaction.

Preventing Fraud with Bank Drafts and Certified Cheques

Preventing fraud is an important consideration when using bank drafts and certified cheques. Both payment methods offer security features that help protect against fraud. These security features may include watermarks, holograms, or special paper that make it difficult to counterfeit the payment instrument.

It is important to ensure that the bank draft or certified cheque is obtained from a reputable financial institution. This can help prevent fraudulent payment instruments from being used in transactions. Additionally, it is important to verify the authenticity of the payment instrument before accepting it as a form of payment.

Since it’s a physical document, always take a moment to inspect it and look for any errors, typos, or other signs that it may not be real.

What to Do If You Suspect Fraud

If you suspect fraud when using bank drafts or certified cheques, it is important to take immediate action. The first step is to contact the financial institution that issued the payment instrument. They can provide guidance on what steps to take next, such as reporting the suspected fraud to the appropriate authorities.

It is important to provide as much information as possible when reporting the suspected fraud, including details about the transaction, the payment instrument, and any individuals involved. This will help the financial institution and the authorities investigate the matter more effectively.


In conclusion, understanding the differences between bank drafts vs. certified cheques can help you make a clear decision for your transaction. Each has its unique features, but these 2 payment instruments are very similar.

Evaluate your bank’s fees, recommendations, and even other options before making a decision between bank draft vs. certified cheque.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Stop Payment on a Bank Draft or Certified Cheque?

No, once a bank draft or certified cheque is issued, it cannot be stopped. This means that once the payment instrument is in the possession of the recipient, they can deposit or cash it, and the funds will be released.

How Long Are Bank Drafts and Certified Cheques Valid?

The validity period of a bank draft or certified cheque varies depending on the issuing financial institution. It is important to check with the issuing institution to determine the specific expiration date or validity period of the payment instrument.