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Place To Cash My Check
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For millions of consumers without bank accounts, cashing checks isn’t easy. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s 2021 survey of unbanked and underbanked households, approximately 5.9 million households in the United States do not have a checking account or savings account at a bank or credit union.
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There are ways to cash checks without a bank account, but they cost more money, often take longer, and are riskier than cashing checks at the bank where you have an account. Here are five different ways to do so and what it will cost you.
Banks and credit unions are not required to cash checks to non-customers, but many banks will cash checks written by the holder of a checking account at that bank, even if it is paid to a person other than the customer.
There must be sufficient funds in the payer’s account to clear the check. The payee (the person to whom the check is issued) will be required to present government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license, before the bank will honor the check.
The payee also must pay a percentage of the check amount, such as 1 percent or a flat fee. That can add up over time. For example, if you get paid 52 weeks a year and you have to pay $8 to withdraw your paycheck at a traditional bank where you don’t have an account, the check cashing fee will add up to $416 in year.
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There may also be other obstacles, such as limits on check amounts and rejection of personal checks by both parties. Checks that are six months old or older may even be dishonored.
Walmart charges a $4 fee for cashing checks up to $1,000, a maximum fee of $8 for checks larger than $1,000, and a maximum fee of $6 for double-sided checks.
Many grocery store chains offer check cashing services. Kroger and Publix are just a couple. Fees typically range from $3 to $6.
Consumers without bank accounts sometimes use prepaid cards to deposit checks and withdraw cash. Prepaid cards are similar to checking account debit cards. Your spending is limited by the amount you load onto the card.
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Prepaid cards have a variety of options for paying by check. Some prepaid cards let you set up direct deposit so checks are automatically loaded onto the card. Other cards come with an app that allows you to take a picture of the check to upload to your card. Or, you can deposit a check at an ATM to add money to the card.
Fees are the major drawback of prepaid cards. The Walmart MoneyCard charges $2.50 to withdraw money at an ATM (not including bank fees) or at a bank teller, and 50 cents to check your card balance at an ATM. There’s a monthly fee of $5.94 unless you deposit at least $500 a month directly to the card.
Reload fees can be very high. The cost of recharging a Green Dot prepaid Visa card can be up to $5.95. Green Dot also charges $32.50 for an ATM withdrawal and 50 cents for an ATM balance inquiry. There is also a $7.95 fee if at least $1,000 is not loaded onto the card each month.
Check cashing stores are probably the most expensive place to cash a check. Some of them require customers to become “members” or purchase a check payment ID card before paying with a check. In addition to the membership fee, they may charge a first-time usage fee.
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Check cashers typically charge a fee ranging from 1 percent to 12 percent of the check’s face value. Some businesses charge a flat fee based on a percentage. The majority of checks cashed are government payroll and benefit checks.
According to the Consumer Federation of America, the national average fee to cash a check at one of these services is 4.1%. So, for example, if you cash a $500 check, the fee will be $20.50. If that were your weekly salary, you’d pay $1,066 in check cashing fees in a year.
Stores that cash checks are not only prohibitively expensive, but they also pose a risk of fraud. For example, the Better Business Bureau warns consumers about a scam in which a store customer cashing a check is called by someone claiming to represent the business. The caller offered to lend money to the customer and requested payment to secure the loan. Of course, the loan was never received and the store’s customers who paid by check were conned out of all their cash.
Another way to cash a check without a bank account is to write 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 that the person you sign the check for is willing to pay the check and that they
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