How to Cash a Check at a Check Cashing Store

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Check cashing stores and services are common options for households the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation refers to as unbanked and underbanked. The types of checks accepted, and procedures for a turning a check into cash, vary between businesses that function as bank alternatives and businesses that provide check cashing services as a customer convenience.


Acceptable Checks

The type of check you plan on cashing can determine where you should go. Most check cashing stores accept both high-risk and low-risk checks, while check-cashing services typically accept only low-risk checks. High-risk checks are handwritten personal checks, business checks and third-party checks. Low-risk checks are government benefit checks, tax refunds, payroll checks, certified checks and money orders.


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Identification Requirements

Many check cashing stores have an account registration requirement. In addition to photo identification such as a valid driver's license, you'll need to provide contact information like your mailing address, telephone numbers and email address. If you use a check cashing service, you'll only need to bring along a photo ID.


Processing Fees

Prepare to pay a fee no matter which option you choose. According to Financial Service Centers of America, the national trade association that represents alternative financial service centers, check-cashing stores usually charge a fee of 1 percent to 3 percent of the face value of the check. In contrast, check services typically charge a flat fee that depends on the amount of the check. For example, as of publication date, the Walmart Money Center charges up to $3 for checks under $1,000 and up to $6 for checks from $1,000 to $5,000.


Payment Options

Most check-cashing stores and services offer the option to get cash or add funds to a prepaid debit card. Depending on the amount of the check, adding funds to a debit card can be a safer option because it means you won't leave the facility with a significant amount of cash in hand.