How to Cash a Disbursement Check

When you take out a loan, cash in a retirement account or inherit a sum of money, you often receive your money in the form of a disbursement check. As with any check, you can attempt to cash a disbursement check at your own bank or at the bank on which the funds are drawn. Disbursement checks are often large dollar checks, which means that banks cashing these items have to take extra security measures before giving you your cash.

Go to the bank that holds the account on which the funds are drawn. Turn the check over and sign your name on the first endorsement line on the back of the check. If cashing a joint check, the other payee must go with you to the bank and sign her name on one of the other endorsement lines.

Hand the check to the teller along with a form of government-issued identification. If you have a joint check, the other check recipient must also provide the teller with a form of government-issued ID. Some banks require a secondary form of identification from each check payee as well as a thumbprint signature, so comply with the instructions provided by the teller in order to cash the check.

Tell the teller your Social Security number, date of birth, physical address and other personal information if the check being cashed exceeds $10,000. The bank must complete a large currency transaction report for checks that meet or exceed this amount. If you and the joint check payee refuse to provide the information requested by the teller, the bank may refuse to cash the check. You cannot obtain a copy of the completed report.

Count the cash carefully before you leave the bank. If necessary, share the check proceeds with the joint check payee and leave the bank.


  • You can cash the check at your own bank, but typically only if you have enough money in your account to cover the amount of the check. Your bank effectively gives you an advance on the check and then collects the money from the issuing bank. If the check bounces for any reason, your bank debits your account for an amount equal to the cash that you received.


  • Some banks charge check cashing fees to noncustomers, and legally banks do not even have to cash checks for non-account-holders. If you cannot cash the check at the bank the funds are drawn against, you can cash it at a check-cashing service, although fees at these businesses are often very high and few states have laws that restrict check-cashing fees.