You have several options for cashing a check, but many prefer to do so at a bank. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which regulates bank operations, allows these institutions to cash a check at their discretion. Each bank has its own policies about check cashing services for non-members. Call ahead to find out whether a bank will accept your check before you visit.
Choosing a Bank
Most banks will not cash a check they didn't issue if you don't have an account, unless it is government-issued. You can cash such checks at most banks. If it isn't a government check, take it to a branch of the issuing bank, which is obligated to cash its own check. Look for the name of the bank on the face of the check for that information.
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Some banks charge a fee for cashing checks for those who aren't customers. Others don't charge at all, or do so only if the check is larger than a certain amount. This varies by bank. Where there is a fee, the teller deducts it from the cash. He will inform you of the amount at the beginning of the transaction so you can decide whether you wish to continue.
Cashing the Check
Present the check to a teller with a request to cash it and inform the individual that you don't have an account at the bank. Show a legal form of identification, such as your driver's license or state ID card. Sign the back of the check above the endorsement line and write your name as it is written in front. The teller will give you the cash after verifying that the account has sufficient funds to cover the amount of the check.
The teller may offer you the option of opening an account with the check to avoid the fee. This is also an option with banks that choose not to cash a check they didn't issue. Making you a customer protects them in the event of a scam. With your information in the system, you are traceable and can be held liable for the money.