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How To Cash Third Party Checks
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For millions of consumers without a bank account, cashing a check isn’t easy. About 5.9 million American households do not have a checking or savings account at a bank or credit union, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s 2021 Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households.
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There are ways to cash a check without a bank account, but they cost more money, often take more time, and are riskier than cashing a check at a bank where you have an account. Here are five different ways to do it and how much it will cost you.
Banks and credit unions are not required to cash checks for non-customers, but many banks will cash a check written by a checking account holder at that bank, even if it is made payable to a non-customer.
There must be sufficient funds in the payer’s account to cover the check. Before the bank cashes the check, the payee (the person to whom the check is issued) will be asked to show official photo identification, such as a driver’s license.
The recipient should also expect to pay a percentage of the check amount, such as 1 percent or a flat fee. This can build up over time. For example, if you get paid 52 weeks out of the year and it costs you $8 to cash your paycheck at a traditional bank where you don’t have an account, that adds up to $416 in check cashing costs for the year.
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There may be other obstacles, such as limits on check amounts and the rejection of personal checks by two parties. Checks that are six months old or older may even be bounced.
Walmart charges $4 to cash checks up to $1,000, a maximum fee of $8 for checks over $1,000, and a maximum fee of $6 for two-sided checks.
Many grocery chains provide check cashing services. Kroger and Publix are just a couple. Fees typically range from $3 to $6.
Consumers who do not have bank accounts sometimes use prepaid cards to deposit checks and access cash. Prepaid cards are similar to current account debit cards. Your spending is limited by the amount of money you have loaded onto the card.
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Prepaid cards have different check cashing options. Some prepaid cards allow you to set up direct deposit so that checks are automatically loaded onto the card. Other cards come with an app that allows you to take a picture of your check to load it onto your card. Or you could deposit a check at an ATM to load money onto the card.
Fees are a major drawback of prepaid cards. The Walmart MoneyCard charges $2.50 to withdraw money at an ATM (not including the bank’s fee) or bank teller and 50 cents to check the card’s balance at the ATM. There is a $5.94 monthly fee unless you pay at least $500 per month on the card.
Reload fees can be high. Adding money to a Green Dot Prepaid Visa card costs up to $5.95. Green Dot also charges $32.50 for an ATM withdrawal and 50 cents for an ATM balance inquiry. Additionally, there is a $7.95 fee for each month that there is not at least $1,000 on the card.
Check cashing stores are probably the most expensive places to cash checks. Some of them require customers to become “members” or to purchase check cashing ID cards before cashing checks. In addition to the membership fee, they may charge a fee for the first use.
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Check cashers typically charge 1 percent to 12 percent of the check’s face value. Some companies charge a flat fee on top of a percentage. Most checks cashed are from paychecks and government benefits.
The national average fee for cashing a check at one of these services is 4.1 percent, according to the Consumer Federation of America. So if you cashed a $500 check, for example, the fee would be $20.50. If that was your weekly salary, you would pay $1,066 in check cashing fees for a year.
Not only are check cashing stores prohibitively expensive, but there is also the risk of fraudulent practices. The Better Business Bureau, for example, warns consumers about a scam in which customers at a check-cashing store are called by someone claiming to represent the company. The caller offers the user a loan and requests payment to secure the loan. Of course, the loan was never received, and the check cashing shop customer was defrauded and had his cash taken.
Another way to cash a check without a bank account is to sign the check to a trusted friend or relative who has a bank account and have them cash the check at their bank.
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Make sure the person you are signing the check to is willing to cash the check and that