Cashing a check usually is fairly straightforward. You take the check to your bank or the bank from which the check was written, show your picture ID and they give you the money. For someone under 18, however, it can be a bit trickier. Many under 18 don't have their own bank and bank account. Others don't have a picture ID. Often, it's necessary to get a guardian or parent's help to cash checks for those under 18.
If You Have a Solo Bank Account
Your bank may be willing to cash the check for you, even though you are under 18, if you have an account that offers such privileges. Most banks require that you have sufficient funds in your account to cover the amount of the check if you're cashing it. However, they typically will allow you to deposit the check and withdraw the funds after the check has cleared, which typically takes three to five business days.
If You Have a Joint Bank Account
If your account is a joint account, such as an account you share with your parents, you may need to get signatures from the others named on the account. If you don't have a photo ID, many banks will allow your parent to cash the check for you. Your parents will need to sign their names, write "parent of minor" and show their photo ID and your birth certificate.
If You Don't Have a Bank Account
If you don't have a bank account yet, but you're old enough and have photo ID, you may be able to open an account by depositing the check. You then could withdraw some of the funds after the check clears. Otherwise, you can go to the bank from which the check is written. Information on the issuing bank typically is printed near the bottom left of the check. The bank generally will cash a check drawn on an account from their bank if you have photo ID. Another option is to have your parents or guardians take you to their bank to cash the check, signing as "parent of minor." While banks policies differ, it's always a good idea to bring photo ID and a birth certificate with you.
If All Else Fails
If you're under 18 and trying to cash a paycheck, your employer may be willing to cash it for you. In that case, all you need to do is endorse the back of the check and give it back in exchange for cash. Alternately, many supermarkets will cash paychecks for a small fee, but again, you generally must have an official photo ID, such as a driver's license, state ID card or military ID. If all else fails, your best bet is to see if another trusted adult whose bank is willing to accept a third-party deposit is willing to cash the check for you. In this case, you endorse the check and give it to the adult who is cashing it for you, and he or she then deposits it in the bank. You would collect the money from them at that point. Be aware that once you've endorsed the check, anyone could feasibly deposit it in their account, saying that they cashed it for you. Make sure you either have the money in hand or that the adult helping you is trustworthy.