How to Cash a Check Without a Bank Account

This comprehensive guide provides a step-by-step overview of how to cash a check without a bank account, including tips on how to secure a check.
Ketcha Brandon
Cash a Check Without a Bank Account

For the huge number of consumers without a bank account, cashing a check is not easy. Some 5.9 million U.S households do not have checking or savings account at a bank or credit union, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s 2021 survey of unbanked and underbanked households.

Do you have a paper check to cash but you do not have a bank account? do not bother yourself as you can still cash a check even without a bank account and you can do this by simply cashing it at the issuing bank or a check cashing store.

Fortunately of individuals that do not have a bank account, there are ways to cash a check without a bank account, but they cost more money, often take more time and are even riskier than cashing a check at a bank where you own an account. Below are various ways you can cash a check without a bank account, alongside what it will cost you.

Table of Contents

What is a Check Cashing?

Check cashing is a financial service provided by certain businesses or financial institutions where individuals can exchange their paper checks for cash without having to deposit them into a bank account. This service is typically used by people who do not have a bank account or who need immediate access to funds.

When someone wants to cash a check, they present it to the check-cashing establishment along with appropriate identification. The establishment then verifies the authenticity of the check and may charge a fee for the service, which is usually a percentage of the check amount or a flat fee. Once verified, the individual receives cash for the amount of the check minus the fee.

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5 Ways To Cash A Check Without a Bank Account

It is possible to cash a check without a bank account, though not as convenient and you will also have to pay some fees for it.

1. Cash Your Check At The Issuing Bank

Banks and credit unions are not called to cash checks for noncustomers, but several banks will cash a check that is written by a checking account holder at that bank, even if its payable to a noncustomer.

It is obvious that there must be enough money in the payer's account to cover the check. The person the check has been issued to (Payeee) will be asked to show a government-issued photo ID, such as driver's License, before the bank can cash the check.

Also, the payee should expect to pay a small percentage of the amount such as 1% or maybe a flat fee. That can sum up over time to huge amounts of money. Like for example, if you get paid 52 weeks a year and it cost you $8 to cash your paycheck at a traditional bank where you do not have an account, it sums up to $416 in check cashing charges every year, which is quite a reasonable amount.

You might encounter other set backs such as limits on check amounts and refusal of two party personal checks. Checks that are six months and older might even be declined completely.

2. Cash Your Check At a Retailer

There are several grocery chains and big retail stores such as Walmart that offer check cashing services.

Walmart does not cash hand written checks but they cash some other types of checks such as:

  • Payroll checks
  • Preprinted checks
  • Cashier's Checks
  • Government checks, including tax checks
  • Insurance settlement checks
  • Two-party personal checks up to $200
  • 401(K) disbursement checks.

It is good you have in mind that Walmart charges $4 to cash checks up to $1,000 , a maximum of $8 for checks greater than $1,000 and a maximum of $6 for two-party checks.

There are numerous grocery chains that provide check cashing services: Kroger and Publix are just a couple of them.

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3. Cash Your Check At a Check Cashing Outlet

Check-cashing outlets are surely the most expensive places to cash checks. Some of them require customers to become "members" or to buy check-cashing ID cards before cashing checks. More to a membership fee, they might charge a first-time use fee.

Usually, check cashers take between one and twelve percent of the cheque's face value. Some companies tack on a fixed fee to the percentage. Payroll checks and government benefit checks make up the majority of checks cashed.

The Consumer Federation of America reports that the average cost to cash a check at one of these locations is 4.1% nationwide. Thus, the cost would be $20.50, for instance, if you cashed a $500 check. You would have to pay $1,066 in check-cashing costs over the course of a year if that was your weekly wage.

Check-cashing stores run the risk of engaging in dishonest business practices in addition to being extremely costly. For instance, the Better Business Bureau warns consumers against a scam in which a person posing as the company's representative calls customers of a check-cashing store. In order to secure the loan, the caller offers the customer a loan and demands payment. Naturally, the loan is never obtained, and the check-cashing business's patron is defrauded of their money.

4. Load Funds On a Prepaid Debit Card

Prepaid cards are occasionally used by customers without bank accounts to access and deposit cash. Debit cards linked to checking accounts are comparable to prepaid cards. The amount of money you load onto the card sets a spending restriction.

There are various ways for cashing checks with prepaid cards. You may set up direct deposit on certain prepaid cards, allowing checks to be automatically deposited onto the card. Some cards allow you to load money onto your card by taking a picture of your check using an app. Alternatively, you could be able to load the funds onto the card by using an ATM to deposit your check.

One major problem with prepaid cards is their fees. When using the Walmart MoneyCard, you must pay $2.50 (not counting the bank's fee) to withdraw cash from an ATM or a bank teller window. You also have to pay 50 cents to check the balance on your card at an ATM. If you don't directly deposit $500 or more onto the card each month, there is a $5.94 monthly charge.

Reload costs might be high. Adding money to a Green Dot Prepaid Visa card might cost up to $5.95. In addition, Green Dot charges $32.50 for ATM withdrawals and 50 cents for inquiries about ATM balances. Every month when the card doesn't have at least $1,000 loaded onto it, there is an additional $7.95 cost.

5. Sign Your Check Over to Someone You Trust

Another amazing way you can use to cash a check without a bank account is to sign the check over to a trusted friend or relative who has a bank account and have them cash the check at their bank.

Ensure the person you are signing over your check to is willing to cash the check and that their bank will cash it. I advise you to accompany your trusted friend to the bank in case the teller requires your ID or has questions about the check.

Your friend must have the proper identification and be prepared to pay a check-cashing fee.

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Conclusion: How to Cash a Check Without a Bank Account

Sure, while there are other ways to cash checks, they can be riskier, more expensive, and a hassle compared to using your bank. Direct deposit is even better, avoiding the whole check-cashing process altogether.

If you don't have a regular checking account yet, some banks offer special accounts to help you build a good banking history. This can eventually lead to a standard account with all the benefits.

In short, a bank checking account remains the safest, most convenient, and cheapest way to cash checks.

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About the Author

Ketcha Brandon
I am Ketcha Brandon, An article writer, content creator, Video producer, Financial Consultant and a certified Google Publisher. I write content for Our website provide information on topics such as bank accounts, Money transfers,…

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