There are two ways to access money when you are considering where to cash a check. You can either deposit the amount into an account or cash the check. During this process it can be easy to make mistakes and this can result in paying expensive fees. Both of which we want to avoid.
What do you need to cash a check?
When you endorse a check, you are giving the bank permission to deposit a check in your account. At the back of the check, there is an endorsement box which you have to sign.
2. You will need your ID
You will have to present your identification to a bank teller especially if you do not have an account in the bank you are transacting from.
3. Research before presenting a check for encashment
In order to avoid paying unnecessarily high fees when cashing a check, make sure to do your research beforehand.
Places where to cash a check:
Local Bank or Issuing Bank
When you receive a check, you can cash it from the issuing bank or credit union itself. This is the easiest and fastest way for you to get your money. Alternatively, you can deposit it in a bank where you currently have an account and wait for the check to be cleared. The check clearing process usually takes 2 banking days.
With local or issuing banks, they normally do not charge a fee for encashing a check. If you do not have a bank account yet and you expect that you will receive checks in the future, it is better if you just open an account for your own ease and convenience.
If you do not have a bank account and have access to credit unions nearest you, it is better if you present your check for encashment there.
The advantage of cashing your check in a credit union is that they normally offer cashing services much like your local bank does and while banks are for profit companies, credit unions are nonprofit which is why there is a difference in fees. Credit Unions typically charge lower fees for cashing checks then banks do and they also offer a more personalized service. So if you have a credit union near you, it is a good option when looking to cash a check.
Retail or Grocery Stores
Retail or Grocery stores are a great option when it comes to cashing a check when you don’t have a checking account or bank account. In fact, if you live near a Walmart or Kmart store, you can cash your checks there.
It is important to note that with Walmart, the maximum amount that you can cash from a check is $5,000. There is also a fixed fee of $3 for check encashments of up to $1,000. The fees will be doubled above $1,000. Walmart will allow you to cash government checks, 401(k) distribution checks, tax checks, insurance settlement checks, cashiers checks, or tax checks.
In regards to Kmart, you have to become a member of their ‘Shop Your Way’ rewards program prior to being able to cash checks. Once you are a member, you can cash government and payroll checks of up to $2,000 and $500 for personal checks. Cashing a check will only result in a charge of $1 for each type of check.
Depending on where you live, a Regions Bank may be the most convenient location for you to cash your check. The only types of checks that Regions Bank accept are; handwritten checks, out-of-state checks, government checks, two-party, tax refunds, business checks and payroll. The benefit is that you will get the cash immediately and you do not need to have an account with a Regions Bank in order to cash your check. There is however, an enrollment process that is simple and easy to accomplish.
The fees associated with cashing your check at a Regions Bank are as follows:
If the check is a Regions Bank Check:
- $0 – if the check value is $25 or less but excludes two-party business checks
- 1% of check amount (minimum $5, maximum $20) – check value is $25.01 or more but excluding two-party business checks
- 4% of check amount (minimum $5) – check for two-party business
If check is not a Regions Bank Check:
- 1.50% of check value (minimum $5) – Payroll and Government Checks
- 4% of check value (minimum $5) – Other check type
- 5% of money order amount (minimum $5) – Money Orders
Check Cashing Stores
There may be payday loan shops near you that offer check cashing options. However, it is important to be cautious when it comes to choosing to cash your check at these places. This is because generally their fees are higher. Make sure that you review their charges carefully because they could charge you up to 10% of the check amount just to cash your check. So, for example a $1,000 check, would result in $100 worth of charges. So you would only get $900 back for the check.
If you are able to hold off and cash your check in another location, that will save you in additional and unnecessary fees.
Transact by 7-Eleven
7-Eleven is not just a convenience or gas store, through their Transact by 7-Eleven App, you have the option to cash your check there too. This may be incredibly convenient for you if you live near a 7-Eleven and frequently visit the store. However, you will not receive cash, the funds from the check will go onto a reloadable prepaid card.
Once you have downloaded the app, you just take a photo of the check through the app and upload it. You then wait 48 hours for the funds to be transferred to your 7-Eleven prepaid card. Once the funds have transferred you can then use the prepaid card to pay for your gas or convenience supplies.
Understanding the Different Types of Checks
There are primarily two different types of checks. They include:
“Safe” Checks are checks that are issued by the Government. They are seen as being less likely to bounce. They include tax refunds, social security benefits, or other checks drawn on the US Treasury.
“Riskier” Checks are Personal Checks which are considered to be the most difficult type of check to cash. So when you do cash a personal check, you need to know the following:
- Bring your IDs with you as well as your Social Security Number and Taxpayer Identification Number because when you cash personal checks, they will always ask for proper identification.
- If you do not have an ID, the next best option for you to be able to cash your check, is to endorse the check to a friend or family member so that they can cash the check for you. Always make sure that you endorse your check to someone that you trust.
- Find the places that cash checks near you and charges lower fees. Remember that personal checks are considered to be a riskier type of check and you might be charged more for cashing it. So, it is important that you do your research before you in person to cash a check, to avoid paying additional charges.
- When you deposit a personal check into your account, it will go through a verification process. If it is possible, it is always best if you can deposit the check into your account. Otherwise, it may take a longer time for the check to get cleared and funds will not become available to you right away.
The Long-Term Solution for cashing checks: Open a Checking Account
If you know that you will continue to receive checks moving forward, the preferable option would be to open a checking account at your local bank or credit union. This guarantees that you will have access to your money within two banking days and generally you will be able to get away with paying less fees.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to where you should cash a check, there are a variety of options that may be suitable for you. Remember that it is important to do your research and take into consideration the fees charged by the institution that you are considering, especially if you do not have a bank account.