Cashing a check at any bank will depend on the bank you’re trying to cash the check at and the bank the check is coming from. Some of the best banks will cash pretty much any check for you, even if you’re not a customer. You can also cash checks at several retailers, grocery stores and even through mobile apps linked to prepaid cards. Read on to learn all about cashing a check at a bank where you don’t have an account and elsewhere. If you’re looking for ways to make your assets more liquid, consider working with a financial advisor who can craft the right financial plan for you that includes where to keep your money.
Which Banks Cash Non-Customer Checks?
No law obligates banks and credit unions to cash checks for everyone, especially non-customers. Still, many banks across the country will cash checks for you. Your first stop should be the bank that issued the actual check.
Some banks will cash their own checks for a fee. This fee can be expressed as a percentage of the check, a flat dollar amount or both.
Some banks let you open prepaid debit cards without opening an actual account. With these, you can usually cash checks at any of the bank’s branch locations or ATMs. For example, Chase offers a prepaid card for a monthly fee of around $5. Some banks will simply convince you to open accounts to avoid a hefty fee-cashing fee. The best banks in the U.S. typically offer simple bank accounts with a small minimum opening deposit (or none at all) and no monthly fees.
But anytime you cash a check at a place that’s not your own bank, you also must consider the amount. You’re usually in the clear if your check is below $5,000. Some places charge larger fees for larger amounts and almost all put a flat cap on how much you’re allowed to cash.
The type of check matters too. Most banks will accept government checks because they know the funds exist. When it comes to personal checks, they would make sure the person who wrote it has enough funds in his or her account. Regardless of the type of check, however, you’d need proper identification.
But if you’re turned down at the check-issuing bank, there are other places you can cash your check.
Check Cashing at Retailers
Several retailers from local mom-and-pop shops to major department stores cash checks including personal ones. Kmart, for example, offers free check-cashing services in several states. In others, it charges flat fees ranging from 50 cents to one dollar. Walmart does the same for fees ranging from $3 to $6 depending on the amount you want to cash. Several 7-Eleven locations also house kiosks where you can cash checks.
Cashing Checks With Prepaid Debit Cards and Mobile Apps
Several banks, companies and retailers offer reloadable prepaid debit cards. With one of these, you can deposit a check via an ATM, store kiosk or even on a mobile device. 7-Eleven, for example, offers a prepaid debit card with mobile banking features. You can snap a photo of your check to deposit it into your prepaid card. 7-Eleven offers this service through a partnership with First Century Bank. But you don’t have to be a customer to download the app that gives you access to this feature.
Plus, apps like Ingo Money can be linked to a number of different prepaid cards. With the app, you can snap a photo of a check to reload your card. The app also accepts personal checks, business checks and money orders. And the company claims to give you access to your funds in minutes.
Fees vary depending on the check amount and the type of pricing plan you have with IngoMoney. For example, standard pricing allows you to deposit a check of up to $250 for a $5 fee or 2% of the amount more than $250. As you can see, the fee steeps high for mobile deposits when you don’t have a bank. The tradeoff is the convenience of cashing a check virtually anywhere with service.
Check Cashing Stores
These go by several names: check-cashing stores, payday loan stores and title loan stores. Regardless of the banner out front, these should be your absolute last resort. Cashing checks at these locations can trigger fees as much as 5% of the amount you’re retrieving, plus a flat dollar fee. In certain cases, lawmakers have even stepped in to stop them from making deceptive business practices. Some states outlaw payday loans altogether.
Can you cash a check at any bank? The answer is maybe. But if they do, you’d likely face a fee. So be prepared for that, and make sure you have proper documentation. If the check itself has a bank’s logo on it, that should be your first stop. In this case, the place where you’re cashing your check may be willing to give you looser terms.
Of course, you have other options. You can cash your check at grocery stores, major retailers and supermarket chains. Although risky, cash checking stores are also an option. Fees can span from none to extremely high. So the key is to shop around. Look up these options and see who can offer you the best terms. Rest assured though, that you can cash your check even if you don’t have a bank.
Tips on Cashing Checks
- If you need to move money around then you may be looking for a more stable place to invest. You can work with a financial advisor to find the best accounts to house your money and make you liquid when you need it. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- While it’s possible to cash a check without a bank account, the process may take a serious chunk out of your pay. Sometimes, it’s easier simply to open a basic checking account. Several major banks offer simple accounts that require little-to-know opening balances. Many of these also charge no monthly fees. But with so many options, it can be hard to pick the right one. To make the process easier, we’ve published a report on the best checking accounts in the market today.
- If you’re opening a bank account for the first time, it’s important to start a good savings routine. To help you out, we conducted extensive research on the best savings accounts available today. Not only will your money be insured by the federal government even if the bank fails, you’d also have an emergency fund ready to tackle the unexpected.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/MicroStockHub, ©iStock.com/RyanJLane , ©iStock.com/AndreyPopov