We rarely need to rely on checks as a way to exchange money anymore. Unfortunately, not everyone has a checking account or direct deposit, so check cashing is still a necessity. Here are a few everyday places you can cash a check without a bank account.
1. Grocery Stores
One of the easiest ways to cash a check if you don’t have a bank account is to cash it at a grocery store. As long as you have a rewards card to the store, you can usually cash you check for a small fee. Sometimes the grocery store will allow you to cash a check without a rewards card but you’ll need to pay a larger fee. Most grocery stores only charge $0.99 to cash a check and some will allow you to cash your check without a fee at all. Simply find the customer service desk at your grocery store and ask about check cashing. They usually have a brochure on hand detailing their services and fees.
2. Check Cashing Services
Check cashing services allow you to cash a check for a hefty fee. Many of these companies offer check cashing services at a percentage of the total check, plus a fee. You could end up spending over $20 on check cashing fees alone. These service providers generally prey on people with lower incomes or people who might not understand the other options that are available to them. Luckily, plenty of other businesses offer check cashing at much lower fees than these service providers. If your local check cashing service tries to charge you a higher fee, ask them to price match the fees the grocery store charges—or, simply use the grocery store’s check cashing services.
3. The Bank of the Issuer
If you need to cash a check and the issuer’s bank is local, you can head to a branch and ask them to cash it. Many large corporations and companies use banks that are located all over the country like Bank of America, Wells Fargo or Chase. You simply need to endorse the check on the dotted line and explain to the teller that while you don’t have an account with their bank, you’re cashing a check that was issued by them. Since the bank can check your issuer’s funds immediately, they’ll know that your check is good. You simply need to show identification (some banks might ask for two forms). The bank might try to get you to open a checking account with them, but don’t be fooled. You don’t need to open an account to cash your check.
4. Gas Stations and Retail Stores
Many gas stations like 7-Eleven offer check cashing services for as little as $0.99. Often, the fee associated with check cashing services at gas stations is a percentage of the check. You might need to pay attention to the amount at these places too. Many gas stations do not keep large amounts of cash in the register in the event of a robbery, so you might need to find somewhere else to cash checks over $1,000. Some bigger retail stores, like Walmart, offer similar services but have a $5,000 limit on checks they cash. They increase the dollar limit around tax refund time, so if you have a large check you need to cash, April and May are the months to do so.
5. Prepaid Credit Cards
Some banks offer prepaid credit and debit cards that you can add balances to via ATM—all without a bank account. All you need to do is endorse your check on the back. Find an ATM for the bank you have your bank card through and swipe your prepaid card. After entering your secret PIN, you’ll be able to feed your check into the ATM. Some banks may put a hold on your funds until the funds have been cleared from the issuing bank, but you should be able to use your prepaid card just like a regular credit card after the waiting period.
With these 5 places to cash checks, you should be able to get access to your funds without too much of a hassle.