That business or personal check in your hand is pretty useless if you can’t cash it before it expires. It’s akin to having a functional vehicle that you can’t drive in an emergency, and that is why you need to know a few check-cashing places.
It’s common to cash personal checks at the issuing bank or credit union. However, those are not the only places that will allow you to get your hands on your money. Depending on the kind of check that you have, you can cash it at your local check-cashing stores; retail or grocery stores like Walmart, Kroger, 7-Eleven, or Kmart; online platforms like PayPal; prepaid accounts; currency exchange desks and your employer’s place, among others.
However, these check-cashing places work differently. Since each of them offers its own pros and cons, you should get some FAQs answered about your options.
Credit Union or Bank Account
The issuing bank or credit union is one of the best check-cashing places. But you must show a valid ID, such as a driver’s license, to prove that you are the payee. And then, you may need to wait two or more business days for the check to clear, depending on the check amount and your relationship with the financial institution.
However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau states that a financial institution where neither you nor the issuer are bank account holders is not under any obligation to cash your check. But those that do may charge you an extra fee for check-cashing services.
Also, according to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, banks aren’t obligated to honor your check, unless it is a certified check, once six months after the issue date expires. So, your check should still be well within the validity period when you take it to a local bank.
PayPal Mobile App
According to PayPal, if you have its mobile app, you can cash your check through it. Using the app’s Cash a Check feature, you can quickly take photos of both sides of the check and select when you want to access your money. PayPal will then review your check and approve or reject it.
Typically, you will pay a minimum fee of $5 to access your money immediately or wait up to 10 days to get it for free in your account. This option is excellent for people who regularly use PayPal to pay for things online.
Retail or Grocery Stores
Retail stores or grocery stores often offer check-cashing services.
For example, Walmart provides check-cashing services for many types of checks such as pre-printed, payroll and tax refund checks. Also, it cashes retirement disbursement checks, cashier’s checks and government checks. In addition, it can help you cash money orders.
According to Walmart, the current service fee is a maximum of $4 for pre-printed checks up to $1,000, and anything over that up to $5,000 will cost you up to $8. However, you can only cash two-party personal checks worth up to $200.
To cash personal checks at your local Walmart, simply go to the Money Services center or customer service desk with your check and ID. If there is none in your area, visit your local grocery store and inquire about check-cashing services at the customer service desk.
Check Cashing Stores
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) states that 5.4 percent of Americans, or 7.1 million people, are unbanked. This category has neither savings nor checking accounts in any bank or credit union. For anyone in this group, check-cashing stores come in handy.
You need to provide a valid ID and the check at the check-cashing store counter. Once it is verified, you will be given cash immediately. However, you may need to pay a significant fee for the service since you won’t be waiting for the check to clear. That fee, often in the form of a percentage, varies depending on which financial service provider you use, the amount of the check and the type of check.
Your Employer's Options
You should talk to your employer about cashing your payroll checks in-house if you prefer. Generally, employers are supposed to provide payroll checks that can be cashed easily, which is why they may find another solution for you, including direct deposit.
Local Gas Stations
It would be best to inquire from your local gas station about whether they offer check-cashing services. Some may do so for a fee and others won’t. But you won’t know until you ask.
Currency Exchange Desks
Traveler’s checks, which you can use to receive money in foreign currency while abroad, can be cashed at currency exchange desks wherever they are available such as currency exchange bureaus, hotels and travel centers.
They are often issued by global financial institutions, such as American Express, Visa and MasterCard, making them acceptable in many places. And they don’t expire.
Mobile or Prepaid Account
If you have a debit card or mobile app account associated with a financial institution, such as Chase, you may be able to cash your check even if you don’t have a bank account there. Just deposit your check at the ATM and the money will be loaded onto your pre-paid debit card account after verification. Alternatively, you could deposit your check via the mobile app and get the cash after it’s processed.
Of course, there are usually check-cashing fees associated with such services. But the amounts will vary depending on the service provider.
I hold a BS in Computer Science and have been a freelance writer since 2011. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and lifestyle shows, and fantasizing about world travels.