For anyone who doesn't have an active bank account, it can be a challenge trying to cash a check without an existing checking or savings account. If you recently received a retirement check but do not have a bank account, there are still a few ways you can safely cash your check in a timely manner.
Verify that all details are correct on your check. Make sure that your name is spelled correctly on your retirement check and confirm that the check is made out for the proper amount. You should also look at the date on the check to make sure it is recent.
Gather the proper forms of identification. In order to cash a check, you will need a valid photo ID, such as a driver's license, passport, state-issued ID or a military ID. You may also need a second form of identification, such as a Social Security card, employee badge, school ID or credit card.
Go to the bank the check was drawn on, either a main office or a local branch office. The name of the bank or credit union the check was written from should appear on the front of the check. You should not have a problem cashing your check at that financial institution because the teller can immediately verify whether or not that account has the proper amount of funds to cover the check.
Locate an appropriate check-cashing facility. If there are no local bank branches where you can cash your check, look for a check-cashing business, grocery store or retail establishment that offers check-cashing services. These facilities may charge a fee to cash a check, but it may be worth paying the fee to get your funds more quickly.
Ask a relative or friend to deposit the check in their bank account. If you would rather not pay a check-cashing fee, you can ask someone to deposit your retirement check into his checking or savings account. You will simply write "Pay to the order of (that person's name)" on the back of the check and sign your name; that person will then sign his name below your name. Please note both you and that person will need to sign the check in person (at his bank) and may need to provide proper identification.
Do not endorse (sign) the back of your retirement check until you are ready to cash it. If you sign your check and lose it, someone might find it and try to cash it.