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Where Can You Go To Cash A Check
Editor: Nell McPherson Editor: Nell McPhersonArrow Right Former Banking Editor Nell McPherson is a former banking editor who led a team of reporters at , helping readers make the best decisions about savings and checking accounts, CDs and money market accounts. Connect with Nell McPherson on LinkedIn LinkedIn Nell McPherson
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For the millions of unbanked consumers, cashing a check isn’t easy. According to a 2021 survey of underbanked and unbanked households conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., approximately 5.9 million households in the U.S. have a checking account or savings account at a bank or credit union. Turns out I don’t have a savings account.
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There are ways to cash a check without a bank account, but they cost more, take more time, and are riskier than cashing a check at a bank where you have an account. Here are five ways to do this and how much they cost:
Although banks and credit unions are not required to cash checks from non-customers, many banks will cash checks drawn on them by checking account holders even if the checks are made out to non-customers.
There must be sufficient funds in the payer’s account to cover the check. The payee (the person receiving the check) is asked to present government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license, before the bank cashes the check.
Additionally, the recipient should expect to pay a portion of the check amount, such as a 1% or flat fee. This can add up over time. For example, if you get paid 52 weeks a year and it costs $8 to cash your paycheck at a regular bank where you don’t have an account, your check-cashing cost for the year would be up to $416.
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There may also be other obstacles, such as check amount limits or rejection of two-way personal checks. Checks older than six months may be rejected.
Walmart charges a fee of $4 for cashing checks up to $1,000, up to $8 for checks over $1,000, and up to $6 for two-way checks.
Many grocery 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 access cash. Prepaid cards are similar to checking and debit cards. Spending is limited by the amount loaded on the card.
Where To Cash A Check Without Paying Fees
Prepaid cards offer a variety of options for cashing checks. Some prepaid cards allow you to set up direct deposit so your checks are automatically deposited to your card. Other cards come with apps that allow you to take a photo of a check and place it on the card. Alternatively, you can load money onto your card by depositing a check at an ATM.
The big drawback of prepaid cards is the fees. The Walmart MoneyCard charges $2.50 to withdraw money from an ATM (minus any fees charged by your bank) or bank teller and 50 cents to check your card balance at the ATM. The monthly fee is $5.94 unless you deposit at least $500 per month directly to the card.
Reload fees can be high. Adding money to your Green Dot Prepaid Visa card costs up to $5.95. Green Dot also charges $32.50 for ATM withdrawals and 50 cents for ATM balance inquiries. Additionally, if you don’t have at least $1,000 loaded on your card, you’ll be charged a $7.95 monthly fee.
Check cashing stores are probably the most expensive places to cash a check. Some of them require customers to become “members” or purchase a check-cashing ID card before they can cash a check. In addition to membership fees, a first-use fee may also apply.
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Check cashers typically charge 1 to 12 percent of the face value of the check. Some companies charge a flat fee in addition to a percentage. The majority of checks cashed are salary checks and government benefit checks.
The national average fee when cashing a check at one of these services is 4.1%, according to the Consumer Federation of America. For example, if you cash a check for $500, the fee will be $20.50. If it’s a weekly salary, you’ll pay $1,066 in check-cashing fees over the course of a year.
Not only are check cashing stores prohibitively expensive, but they also pose a risk of fraudulent activity. For example, the Better Business Bureau warns consumers about scams in which customers at check-cashing stores are called by someone claiming to represent the business. The sender offers the customer a loan and requests payment to secure the loan. Of course, no loan was ever received, and check cashing store customers were scammed out of their cash.
Another way to cash a check without a bank account is to have a trusted friend or relative who has a bank account sign the check and cash the check at that bank.
How To Sign A Check Over To Somebody Else
Make sure the person signing the check intends to cash the check and that he or she