According to a 2019 study from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 7.1 million U.S. households don’t have a checking or savings account. If you don’t have a bank account, cashing a check can seem confusing, complicated, or expensive. It doesn’t have to be. You can cash a check at many major retailers, including Wal-Mart, as well as some grocery stores or the issuing bank. You can also have the check deposited onto a prepaid debit card or use an app for cashing checks online.
Whether you’ve got a tax refund check or your regular employment check, you can find easy, inexpensive ways of cashing checks. We’ll cover the ways for cashing a check without a bank account, including how to get the best rates on fees.
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Where to cash a check without a bank account
Cashing a check without a bank account is usually possible at the issuing bank and retailers. While most of these options aren’t online, you can also use apps for cashing checks. We’ll cover the key points of each below.
Go to the issuing bank
You can always go to the bank where the check was issued to cash it. You can see this on the lower left side of most checks. When cashing the check at the issuing bank, the bank teller will check the account it’s drawn from and, assuming there are sufficient funds, will give you cash.
Keep in mind that most banks charge a fee for this. If the bank doesn’t charge a fee and has branches near you, this is the best option. However, with fees or without branches near where you live, some of the options below will be a better fit.
Many retailers and grocery stores offer check-cashing services, including Walmart, Kroger, and Publix. Each one has its own criteria and fees. Fees range from $3 to $8 for most retailers. Some have limits on the maximum value of a check they will cash, ranging from $2,000 to $7,500. Check with your local retailers to find out the one with the lowest fees for the value of checks you’ll be regularly cashing.
Deposit to a prepaid debit card
Some banks let you cash a check at their ATM and then load the funds onto a prepaid debit card. You can also do this via a mobile check deposit. Cashing a check via ATM is a convenient option that will allow you to use the funds anywhere you can use a debit card.
Loading funds onto a prepaid debit card is not free and can include both monthly fees and per-check fees. Call or chat with the bank before making a deposit this way so the fees don’t eat into your funds more than expected. Keep in mind that some cards also have a 10-day waiting period to access funds. If you need the funds faster, you’ll need to pay fees up to 5%, which is usually not worth it. If you’re wondering how to cash a large check without a bank account, this is often your best option.
Cashing a check with an app, even without a bank account, is becoming increasingly common. These options include Indigo Money, Brink’s Money, Netspend, PayPal, and Western Union Netspend. At Ingido Money, for example, you can load the funds onto a prepaid debit card and transfer them to a Paypal account. These apps have varying fees and features. You’ll want to check which makes sense for the way you earn and spend money.
Sign over to someone you trust
Sometimes, the easiest solution is to ask a friend or family member for help. You could ask someone you trust to cash your check for you. You’ll need to sign the check over to them, and they will be able to cash the check on your behalf.
To sign a check over to someone, you’ll sign the back of the check, and then write “pay to the order of (the person’s full legal name).” Some banks will require the original issuer to sign off on this type of transaction, while others will cash the check.
Be sure you ask someone you trust to do this who will give you access to the funds or take out the cash for you. If you want to know how to cash a large check without a bank account, a trusted person is often the best option to avoid fees.
What to know about cashing a check without a bank account
Cashing a check without a bank account can be expensive. You may also need identification and additional steps. Here’s what you need to know.
The biggest downside to cashing a check without a bank account is the fees. If you have to pay an $8 fee every time you cash a check and receive weekly checks for 52 weeks of the year, that’s $416 in fees just to cash the check. Depending on how you choose to cash the check, you may face additional monthly fees or service fees. Research your options thoroughly, as you could save up to $400 a year or more.
Whichever method you choose from the list above, you’ll likely need some type of government-issued identification such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID card. Check with the service you plan to choose to understand the types of identification they accept. If you’re wondering where you can cash a check without an ID, there aren’t many options. Places that cash checks without ID aren’t common. You can ask retailers, ATMs, and apps to see if one can help. Or you can sign it over to someone you trust to cash it for you.
Some checks may be harder to cash than others
Some checks may require additional verification. Generally, personal checks are harder to cash than payroll checks. While the issuing bank will cash the check as long as there are sufficient funds in the account, other services for cashing checks can vary. You can call ahead to confirm if the retailer or service will cash checks for you.
Final thoughts on how to cash a check online without a bank account
It is easier than you’d expect to cash a check without a bank account, as long as you have an ID and are willing to pay the service fees. With the proliferation of apps that help consumers cash checks online, it’s now easier than ever to cash a check without leaving your home. Just be sure to research fees and read the fine print, as the fees for cashing checks without a bank account can add up.
Is there a way to cash a check without a bank account?
Yes, there are several ways to cash checks without a bank account. You can cash checks at many retailers and grocery stores, at the issuing bank, at some ATMs, or through apps.
Can you cash a check at an ATM?
Yes, you may be able to cash a check at an ATM. Check with the issuing bank.
Can someone else cash my check?
Someone else can cash your check if you sign it over to them. You are trusting them to return the funds to you or use the funds as you specify.