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Bearer Cheque vs. Order Cheque: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 20, 2023
A bearer cheque is payable to anyone possessing it, while an order cheque is payable only to the named payee or their endorsee.

Key Differences

A bearer cheque and an order cheque represent two distinct types of cheques utilized in financial transactions. A bearer cheque, as its name suggests, is payable to the individual or "bearer" holding it. This means that anyone in possession of the cheque can cash or deposit it. On the flip side, an order cheque is specifically addressed to a particular individual or entity and can only be cashed or deposited by the named payee or someone they legally endorse.
To delve deeper, the primary distinguishing factor between a bearer cheque and an order cheque rests in their inherent security features. Since a bearer cheque does not specify a particular recipient, it lacks the security measures found in an order cheque. If a bearer cheque is lost or stolen, anyone finding it can cash it. Conversely, an order cheque offers an additional layer of protection because it requires identification matching the name mentioned on the cheque for it to be cashed.
Furthermore, the flexibility associated with a bearer cheque is both its strength and its weakness. While it can be easily transferred without the need for endorsement, this ease makes it susceptible to misuse. Order cheques, given their specificity, require endorsement for transfer, ensuring a traceable chain of custody and adding an element of accountability to the process.
In many banking scenarios, when issuing a cheque, if the word "bearer" at the end is not struck out, the cheque is treated as a bearer cheque. To make it an order cheque, one needs to strike out the word "bearer" and preferably mention "or order" on the cheque.
In conclusion, while both bearer cheques and order cheques facilitate financial transactions, they cater to different needs and risk appetites. Bearer cheques prioritize ease and flexibility, whereas order cheques emphasize security and specificity.

Comparison Chart

Payee Specificity

Non-specific; payable to the holder.
Specific; payable only to the named payee or their endorsee.


Less secure; can be cashed by anyone holding it.
More secure; requires matching identification.


Easily transferable without endorsement.
Requires endorsement for transfer.

Risk of Misuse

Higher, due to its non-specific nature.
Lower, due to its specificity and endorsement requirement.

Modification for Conversion

Can be converted to an order cheque by striking out "bearer".
Can be made a bearer cheque by removing "or order" and not striking "bearer".

Bearer Cheque and Order Cheque Definitions

Bearer Cheque

A cheque payable to the person holding it.
He lost the bearer cheque, making it accessible to anyone who found it.

Order Cheque

A cheque that offers traceability through its specific payee requirement.
Due to its traceability, the lawyer advised using an order cheque for the transaction.

Bearer Cheque

An uncrossed cheque with unrestricted payability.
She handed the bearer cheque to her son to deposit in his account.

Order Cheque

A financial instrument with a designated payee.
He felt safer sending an order cheque rather than cash.

Bearer Cheque

A cheque that doesn't require endorsement for transfer.
The convenience of a bearer cheque also comes with inherent risks.

Order Cheque

A cheque that requires the named recipient's endorsement for transfer.
She endorsed the order cheque over to her sister for deposit.

Bearer Cheque

A financial instrument without a named payee.
The bearer cheque allowed for quick payment without specifying the recipient.

Order Cheque

A cheque with added security through payee specification.
The business always used order cheques to ensure payment went to the correct vendor.

Bearer Cheque

A cheque cashable by whoever possesses it.
The company avoided issuing a bearer cheque due to its security risks.

Order Cheque

A cheque payable only to a specified person or entity.
The order cheque was made out to John Doe and couldn't be cashed by anyone else.


Can I convert an order cheque to a bearer cheque?

Yes, by removing any "or order" phrasing and ensuring "bearer" isn't struck out.

Which cheque type requires endorsement for transfer?

The order cheque requires endorsement for transfer.

Are bearer cheques commonly used?

Due to security concerns, their usage is less common than order cheques.

Is a bearer cheque safe to use?

While convenient, bearer cheques have higher security risks as anyone holding them can cash them.

How can I identify an order cheque?

It will have a specific payee's name mentioned on it.

Do banks prefer one type of cheque over the other?

Banks often advise using order cheques due to their added security.

What's the main difference between a bearer cheque and an order cheque?

A bearer cheque is payable to its holder, while an order cheque is payable to a named individual or endorsee.

Can I stop payment on a lost bearer cheque?

Yes, contact your bank immediately to stop payment.

Are there fees associated with converting an order cheque to bearer or vice versa?

Typically, no, but it's best to check with the issuing bank for any specific policies.

Can I deposit an order cheque made out to someone else?

Only if it's endorsed over to you by the named payee.

Can businesses issue bearer cheques?

Yes, though many prefer order cheques for security reasons.

If I lose a bearer cheque, what should I do?

Report it immediately to the issuing bank, as anyone finding it can cash it.

How can I ensure the security of a bearer cheque?

Limit its use, hand-deliver when possible, and always keep a record of issued cheques.

Is the cheque amount a factor in deciding between bearer and order?

Not necessarily, but higher amounts typically warrant the security of an order cheque.

Can I cross an order cheque?

Yes, crossing adds an extra layer of security, ensuring the cheque gets deposited into an account.

Can I cross a bearer cheque?

Yes, a crossed bearer cheque can only be deposited, not cashed.

Why might someone choose a bearer cheque?

For ease of transfer and immediate payment without specifying a recipient.

Why are order cheques considered more traceable?

They require endorsement for transfer, creating a chain of custody.

Which is more modern, bearer or order cheques?

Both have been in use for a long time, but order cheques are more prevalent today due to security preferences.

Are digital cheques also categorized as bearer or order?

Digital cheques have their own protocols, but the concepts of payee specificity and endorsement still apply.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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