Trying to cash a check when you don't have a bank account is a huge pain.
Currently, most financial transactions are conducted online.
Even exchanging money between family and friends is now done through online apps like Venmo, PayPal, orzelle. Most of these require a linked bank account.
That said, if you're one of the 7% of unbanked people in the United States, managing your money, especially cashing checks, is a bit more complicated.
If you have a bank account, cashing a check is very easy. You can go through the bank or use an ATM. Some banks even let you quickly snap a photo of the check and cash it from your phone using their app.
Without a bank account of your own, you can't just go to a local branch to cash a check. Even if you cash your check, you still have to pay a small fee each time.
If you don't have a bank account but still need quick access to your cash, head to one of the check cashing locations on this list.
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7 places to cash a personal check
Although cashing a check can be difficult if you don't have a bank account, it's not impossible. There are several companies that you can cash a check with, but you will likely have to pay a small fee for the service.
The good news is that today you can go home with cash in your pocket.
Each check cashing location has different rules and requirements for cashing your check. Some places collect certain types of checks, while others don't. So be sure to call ahead before making a special trip.
1. The bank listed on the check
If you're trying to cash an unbanked check, it's easiest to start with the bank of the check you're trying to cash.
To find this information, just look over the note line in the lower left corner. Call a local branch to find out their check cashing policy.
You can easily check the availability of funds by checking the check maker's account balance. Some banks even call the account holder as a security measure to ensure no fraud is taking place.
In the past, the bank listed on the check was the cheapest option to get your cash. Now most major banks have started introducing fees to cash your check if you don't have an account with them. Most charge a flat fee or a percentage of the check amount up to a certain maximum amount.
Each bank has different terms and requirements for cashing checks that are tied to your institution. It's safest to call ahead and ask about policies and fees.
You will need 1-2 valid ID's to confirm that the check is yours. So be sure to bring a driver's license, passport, or other government-issued ID.
Walmart is one of the most global and accessible check cashing places on this list. With over 5,000 locations, almost 90% of the US population lives within 15 miles of a Walmart.
Walmart also has reasonable fees of $4 for a check under $1,000 and $8 for anything over that limit. This is in line with the fees charged by most major banks.
The biggest advantage ofCash your check at Walmartis that you have several options. For example, you can get instant cashback or a reloadable Walmart Moneycard.
Walmart Check Cashing Options:
- checks pre-impressos
- government controls
- tax controls
- Bank checks
- Verification of the insurance statement
- 401k and pension distribution checks
- MoneyGram Money Orders
- Two-part personal checks (maximum $200)
Two important things to note:
- Walmart recently started cashing personal checks, but there's a $6 fee and a $200 check limit. If you're looking to cash a personal check, consider other options.
- They have strict control limits. During most of the year, you can cash a check as long as it's less than $5,000. During tax season (January-April), this limit increases to $7,500.
You must bring the check and a valid ID to the store.
3. Check cashing
Several companies work exclusively for this purpose. If you don't have access to a local bank, then a check cashing office It may be your only option.
Be careful, however, as these stores generally charge the highest prices of any option on this list. Most check cashing shops have different rates even between their own branches, so call ahead and inquire.
Before cashing your check at a store like this, be sure to ask if they require a credit check. Some shops do a credit check before cashing the check, as they are effectively giving you a short-term loan until the money is returned by the issuing bank.
Ace Check Expressis one of the most popular options with physical locations in 24 states. It will cash almost any type of check as long as you have valid ID.
Ace Cash Express Options:
- personal controls
- government controls
- Tax Refund Audits
- Verification of the insurance statement
- payment orders
The big advantage Ace Cash Express has over Walmart and other stores is that it cashes a personal check for you. They don't list fees on their website, so you'll have to call a local store to find out how much they charge to cash your check.
4. Gas station
Gas stations used to be a much better option for cashing checks, but many places no longer offer this service due to the high risk of fraud. Once the check is cashed, there's almost nothing the gas station can do to track down whoever is responsible.
However, 7-Eleven still cashes checks. Many places have a Vcom kiosk. This is basically a touchscreen station where you can cash checks, pay bills, and do other financial tasks.
The easiest way is thatMake transactions through 7-ElevenApp You can deposit checks with your phone. The cash will be credited to your 7-Eleven prepaid rechargeable card, which works like a MasterCard debit card. Most retail and online stores accept them.
It takes about 48 hours to top up the funds on your card.
You can even use it to set up direct deposit of your employer and government benefit checks.
Other options for cashing gas station checks:
- Flying Pilot J
- Travel Centers of America
For gas stations and travel centers, not all places can cash a check, so call ahead to find one that can.
5. Your employer
In some cases, your employer can cash personal checks for you.
There are specific rules and regulations for check cashing, so most employers avoid offering this service. However, some do. There is no daily limit on the dollar amount of checks an employer can cash as long as they are paychecks.
Employers can also cash non-paychecks as long as they don't exceed $1,000 per day. Anything above that and you would be subject to banking regulations as an official "check casher".
6. Grocery store
Grocery stores are one of the most reliable and convenient ways to cash a check. They probably go to the store a few times a week already, so if you have a store that offers this service, you don't have to make a detour.
Not all supermarket chains do this, but here are some that do:
- winn dixie
- Albertsons (1.000-Dollar-Limit)
- stop and buy
Fees and check limits vary from store to store, but all require some form of government ID.
Most won't let you cash personal checks due to the risk of fraud, but if you're trying to cash a government check, paycheck, bank check, or money order then your chances are good.
Related:35 stores that will give you cashback on your debit card purchases
7. I will transfer your check to a friend or relative
If you don't have your own bank account, you can endorse the check to a friend or family member who does.
Validating a check is a simple two-step process:
- Write "Payment on behalf of [name]"
They can then cash the check for free and have the money delivered to you.
This of course requires a deep level of trust and in some cases both of you will need to be present at the bank so you can show that you are not being pushed or coerced into doing so. You will likely be asked to fill out a form to confirm your support.
Depending on how often you need to cash a check, you may find it much easier to open your own checking account and avoid this workaround. The last thing you want is money getting in the way of your relationships with friends and family.
Frequently asked questions about check cashing
Can I cash a check at an ATM?
Even with a bank account, you technically can't cash a check at an ATM.
You can deposit a check and withdraw cash from your account instantly. However, if you don't have anything in your account before depositing the check, you won't be able to withdraw the money for 24 to 48 business hours.
However, this is not possible without an account.
Can I cash a check without ID?
With the exception of endorsing your check to a friend or family member, all of the check cashing agencies listed above require at least one form of identification, sometimes two. If your ID has expired, it is technically invalid and does not count as an ID.
If you don't have ID, you have three options:
- Endorse the check to someone else
- cash the check online
- Register with a bank and use their online application
How do I cash a check online?
If you don't have a bank account but do have internet access or a smartphone, there are a few options. The two most popular apps that don't require linking to a bank account are PayPal and Ingo Money.
With Ingo Money you can deposit almost any type of check, including handwritten personal checks. Simply validate the check by signing it and taking a picture of the front and back. Once the check is approved, funds will be sent to where you indicate them.
At Ingo you have several options for accessing your money:
- Pick up cash in person at a MoneyGram location
- Amazon gift card
- Paypal Account
However, Ingo fees can add up quickly. Government and paychecks are $5 each. If the amount exceeds $250, you pay a 2% fee. That means you'll pay $20 for a check for $1,000. For all other checks you pay a fee of 5%.
With PayPal, the rates are only slightly better. You pay 1% for government and paychecks and 5% for everything else. You can transfer the money to a prepaid debit card and then withdraw the cash from most ATMs.
Both online applications allow you to avoid paying these fees if you are willing to wait a full 10 days to access the funds.
Cashing a check at a bank is easier and cheaper
If you don't have a bank account, you will always have to pay fees to clear your checks.
If you're tired of paying fees, driving around town, and calling places to inquire about their policies, consider opening a bank account. HeThe best checking accounts on the internetallows you to earn the highest interest rates on your savings and cash your checks for free every time.