If you don’t own a bank account, you’re not alone. About 10 million U.S. households didn't hold a standard bank account as of 2011, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. When your federal or state income tax refund check arrives, however, you may still be able to cash it using one of a few strategies.
Prepaid Cash Card
Many income tax preparers offer customers the option of receiving refunds on prepaid cash cards. Some states also issue refunds onto prepaid cash cards. To place your refund check on a prepaid cash card, take the check to the retailer or business where you load your card. Endorse the check to deposit it into your card account. Before choosing this option, however, read the tax preparation service's terms carefully to determine the amount of fees and interest involved.
Many check-cashing services exist to help people who have no bank account. Some retailers and grocery stores cash tax refund checks for a percentage of the check amount. Check-cashing stores or payday loan businesses also cash tax refund checks for a fee. Shop around before using a check-cashing service so you can find the company with the lowest fees.
Some banks have relaxed policies that allow check cashing for non-customers. Call banks in your area to learn the policies for cashing income tax refund checks for non-customers. You might find a bank that will cash your check without any fees or restrictions. Some banks charge a fee to cash checks for non-customers.
Friends or Family
Ask a friend or family member with a bank account to cash your check for you. Endorse the check to your friend or family member by writing “Pay to the order of” and your friend’s name on the back of the check. Sign your name under your friend’s name. Then your friend will take your check to his bank to cash it and give you the money after cashing the check for you.
- Corporation for Enterprise Development: Unaccounted: How Many Americans Don't Own Bank Accounts?
- BankRate: Should Your Tax Refund Go on a Prepaid Card?
- Office of the Minnesota Attorney General: Refund Anticipation Loans
- Republic Refund: Check Cashing Options
- Carver Federal Savings Bank: Carver Community Cash
- Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images