The number of people that do not use a personal bank account may come as a shock. According to a report by CNN from December 2009, about 17 million Americans do not use a personal bank account, and about 18 percent of Americans use pawn shops and payday loans instead of using banking services. However, without a personal bank account, it is difficult to cash third-party checks made out to you, but it is not impossible.
Gather two forms of photo identification. The most important part of cashing a third party check without a personal account is proving you are the person whose name is written on the check. To do this, the bank will ask for at least two forms of picture identification. This will typically include your driver's license or state ID card in addition to a passport, military ID or a credit or debit card with your picture on it.
Visit a local branch of the bank that the check is drawn on. The name of the bank is usually printed in the lower left-hand portion of the check. You will have a better chance of cashing the check if you go directly to a branch office; the teller will be able to look up the account and make sure the funds are available before cashing the check.
Endorse the check in front of the teller. Many banks require you to endorse the check in person so they can verify you are the person signing the check. The endorsement area is on the back of the check, and it typically has "Endorse Here" printed on it. Since you do not have a personal account at the bank, you will need to sign your name and put your ID number in the endorsement area. You may also be required to add a fingerprint on the back of the check for further proof of identification.
Go to a check cashing place if the issuing bank does not have a local branch. These facilities offer payday loans and other money services. The check cashing business will either charge a flat rate or a small percentage of the check amount, and they will likely require a fingerprint. You can also go to Wal-Mart to cash your payroll or government-issued check if you have a picture ID and your Social Security number. The fee to cash a check at Wal-Mart, as of February 2010, is $3.
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