How to Cash a Check at a Check Cashing Store

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Cashing a check at a check-cashing store is as easy as bringing in the check with a government-issued photo ID. Once the check is verified and you've paid the check-cashing fee, you will receive your cash. Check-cashing stores vary in the types of checks accepted and the financial services offered.

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Where Can I Cash a Check Without a Bank Account?

Check-cashing stores and retailers that provide check-cashing services are common options for the 18 percent of Americans the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) refers to as unbanked and underbanked. Many banks and credit unions won't cash a check for noncustomers, so check-cashing stores fulfill that need – for a fee.

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If you don't have a checking account, options for check cashing include a check-cashing store, currency exchange, the check's issuing bank or credit union, and a grocery store or retailer that offers check-cashing services.

If you have a prepaid debit card or a reloadable credit card, you can make a check deposit at an ATM to load the check amount onto the card. Visa, Bank of America, Greendot and American Express are examples of prepaid debit cards. The funds may also be insurable if the card issuer is a member FDIC financial institution.

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As a last resort, some consumers without a bank account visit a payday loan store for a cash advance on their next paycheck. High-interest payday loans come at a high cost, and some businesses engage in predatory loan practices that can get you into a cycle of debt.

Some financial institutions and online banks offer free checking accounts and second-chance bank accounts if you are interested in getting a checking account. Most have no monthly fees or minimum balance but come with limitations to help you rebuild a banking relationship. Depending on your credit score, this may be an option that helps to improve your personal finances.

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What Types of Checks Do Check-Cashing Stores Accept?

The type of check you plan on cashing can determine where you should go. Most check-cashing stores accept some high-risk and all low-risk checks, while check-cashing services typically accept only low-risk checks.

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High-Risk Checks

Lower-Risk Checks

Handwritten

Pre-printed

Two-party personal checks

Government checks

Checks made out to a business

Tax refunds

Third-party checks

Payroll checks

Out-of-state checks

Cashier's checks

Money orders

Walmart Money Centers cash all low-risk checks, as well as insurance settlement and retirement disbursement checks. ACE Cash Express, one of the largest national check-cashing stores, advertises that it will cash most checks, even those other companies may not.

What Are the Fees for Check-Cashing Services?

Check-cashing stores usually charge a fee of ‌1 percent to 3 percent‌ of the face value of the check. This percentage may vary by state. For instance, in New York, the cap is 2.2 percent or $1, and a proposal is being considered to lower the fee to 1.5 percent for government checks. Illinois law prohibits check-cashing fees from exceeding $0.50 or 1 percent of the face value of the check.

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Retailer and grocery store check services typically charge a flat fee that depends on the check amount. For example, the Walmart Money Center charges up to $4 for checks under $1,000 and up to $8 for checks from $1,000 to $5,000.

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All businesses offering check-cashing services must post their fees, so it's worth comparing before choosing which one to use.

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What Do I Need to Cash a Check at a Check-Cashing Store?

Some check-cashing stores have an account registration requirement. In addition to government-issued photo identification, such as a valid driver's license, you may need to provide personal contact information.

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You'll need to bring a photo ID if you use a check cashing service at a retailer or grocery store. Requirements vary by business, so always call ahead. For instance, Kroger Money Services requires proof of your Social Security Number or taxpayer ID.

How Can I Cash a Check Without ID?

If you don't have an accepted form of ID or a bank account, most financial institutions will decline to cash your check. You might be able to sign your check over to someone you trust with a bank account to cash it. Your check then becomes a third-party check, so make sure the bank will cash it before you do that.

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If you have a prepaid card account, you can make a check deposit via an ATM or mobile app and load the check amount onto the card.

What Are My Payment Options When Cashing Checks at a Check-Cashing Store?

Most check-cashing stores and services offer the option to get the funds in cash or add funds to a prepaid debit card. Depending on the check amount, adding funds to a prepaid card can be a safer option because it means you won't leave the facility with a significant amount of cash in hand. Prepare to pay a fee no matter which option you choose.

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