Personal Finance

Walmart Check Cashing: A Look At The Service

Walmart-check-cashingHave you ever received your paycheck late in the day only to discover your bank is already closed for the day or weekend? If so, you know how frustrating this can be, especially with so many places refusing to cash checks. Many stores such as Walmart are now cashing checks — as long as you keep within their check-cashing policy.

Here’s a quick look at how Walmart’s check cashing service works, along with its benefits and drawbacks.

What Type of Checks are Cashed?

Like many other stores that now cash checks, Walmart does have certain guidelines regarding the type of checks that can be cashed in their stores. Walmart will cash the following type of checks.

• Government checks
• Payroll checks
• Tax checks
• MoneyGram money orders

The highest check that Walmart will cash is $5,000. This high amount is very convenient for employees who get paid every two weeks or even once a month because there is less of a fee with one large check as opposed to a couple of smaller checks.

What About Fees?

Walmart has very low fees for their check-cashing service. If the check is under $1,000, the fee is $3. For checks over $1,000 and under $5,000, the fee is $6. In the state of Massachusetts, Walmart is the number one check-cashing establishment, and this is due to their low $3 check-cashing fees. Walmart’s Money Center offers various money management services designed to provide customers with convenience and bring customers into their stores. It’s a win-win situation for Walmart and customers.

How Do Walmart’s Check Cashing Fees Compare to Others?

Despite any fees the customer may be charged, cashing a check at Walmart may still be cheaper than at check-cashing stores or banks, according to U.S. News & World Report, because many of the other stores or banks charge not only a flat fee but also a percentage of the amount of the check. Imagine cashing a $2,000 check at a check-cashing store that charges a flat fee of $5 plus one percent of the check, which is quite common among these types of stores. The consumer would end up paying a total of $25 just to cash a check.

Adding these together can make it quite expensive just to cash a check and get your own money back. This is one reason why many consumers choose to cash their checks at stores like Walmart, particularly if they don’t have a checking account at a bank. Surprising as this may be, the FDIC reports that more than twenty-eight percent of U.S. households do not have bank accounts.

How is the Money Disbursed?

When you cash a check at Walmart, you have the choice of getting your money in cash or having it put on a Walmart MoneyCard. You can continue to use this money card each time you cash the check.

Although there is usually a $3 reload fee on Walmart’s money cards, this fee is waived if the money is coming from a check you just cashed at Walmart. When you initially purchase the money card, it will cost $3; however, you can purchase it online and eliminate the $3 fee.

Pros and Cons of Walmart’s Check Cashing Service

Pros

• Low Fees
• Convenient – checks can be cashed right at the register
• Fast
• Cheaper than at other stores
• Requires only one stop if consumer was planning on stopping at Walmart anyway
• Does not require having an account
• Money can be disbursed in cash or put on a Walmart MoneyCard

Cons

• Even the low fee is higher than if the consumer cashed it at his or her own bank
• If the money is put on a Walmart MoneyCard, it must be spent at Walmart
• Consumers may make purchases they wouldn’t make if the check was cashed elsewhere

Bottom line: Despite the fees, Walmart’s check cashing service is still a much better deal than check cashing at other places such as check-cashing stores that also charge a percentage of the check cashed, and is a handy option for customers who don’t have checking accounts and would do most of their shopping at Walmart anyway.

11 Comments

  1. Just tried out Wal-Mart’s check cashing service for the first time. Got an insurance check for just over $4000.00 and thought I’d try it out. They lady who worked their said they couldn’t cash it, it was too large. I explained that on the Wal-Mart website it states that they will cash anything but a personal check for up to $5000 for a $6.00 fee. She said that lots of people try, but it always spits it back out and says it was rejected based on Certegy Check services when it’s a larger amount. I told her to try it anyway as I wanted to know for sure. Sure enough, it kicked it out immediately and the printout said that based on Certegy check services they cannot cash the check. I have excellent credit, so I asked the Wal-Mart employee what was going on. She said don’t feel bad, it kicks out every single one that is a higher amount. So much for using Wal-Mart in a pinch when the bank is closed.

    • Had nothing to do with the amount – it’s because it was an ‘insurance check’… I had lesser checks than that but since it was an insurance check they sent me walking that long walk of shame to the bank line.. lol

  2. Each check has to be under $2000…so when getting money from someone that I knew I had to cash at Walmart…I asked them to write out two checks if under 4k..3 if over 4k and under 6k..costs 3$-$6 more but if your cashing that type of money….that’s probably not your real concern……Some people may not be. Willing to do this for you but most will..

  3. Tried to cash a Gym Refund Check, $675 Tried using Walmart Money Services. I do have a bank account in good standing and I have never bounced a check. Check was rejected by Certegy, Walmart employee tried twice. Called the 800 number and was able to reach a human. Who advised me that their was no reason in their system for my check to be rejected. They advised me to deposit it into my bank account. Great! Why offer a service but in practice really not offer any service!

  4. When your cashed check is put on a Walmart money card you can use the card anywhere that accepts MC or Visa. The article is incorrect on that point. On the negative side, Wamarts vary from store to store. Sometimes they won’t cash my payroll check without giving me a reason, even though I’ve been cashing my check there for years. Today they wouldn’t cash it because my DL was “too old” even though it wasn’t expired. I had 3 other valid forms of ID and they said since my license was “old” they still couldn’t cash it! If you can use a bank, go there.

    • Natalie Cooper says:

      Mike, thanks for the clarification! Sorry to hear about your difficulties with Walmart check cashing, but hopefully your info will help other readers.

  5. kelly rodolph says:

    I thought that in texas government checks did not have a fee to cash them. Last time they didnt charge and this time they did. Whatever the policy is everyone needs to follow it.

  6. I tried cashing a check at Wal-Mart the other day and ran into problems. I have used Wal-Mart check cashing many times in the past. On my check my name appears as just my first and last name. The employee said that she could not cash my check because on my State ID my middle name appears in full. I truly don’t get what the big deal is. The only thing that did not match was that my middle name appeared on my id. Everything else matched up. The employee said this was a policy recently enacted. I am never going back to Wal-Mart for check cashing and will not load anymore money onto my Wal-Mart card.

  7. Can you cash a california payroll check in Hawaii

  8. Sorry: error $5,000 in prescriptions threw insurance & $345.00 out of pocket.

  9. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine went to cash her Wal-Mart pay check and was denied because of “unreliable payor”. Ain’t that a kick in the head? Hmm, still lmao on that one.
    I was looking around on how to cash a check when one has no checking account, well good luck with that, or pay out the wazoo. My problem with it is that all these fees are charged to the poor and underserved with no plans to help some of them step up into actual banking systems.

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