Money Management

How and Where to Cash a Check (With or Without a Bank Account)

Where to Cash a Check
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Paper checks are an increasingly uncommon method of exchanging money, but there are still plenty of ways to cash them. Here’s a quick guide on how to cash a check, including a list of common options and an overview of what’s required.

General Requirements to Cash a Check

Cashing a check is simple, but the check has to be written in a particular way, and you need to bring proof of your identity.

  1. Government-issued photo ID. This could be a driver’s license, passport, state photo ID or military ID.
  2. The check must be made out to you. Your name must be on the “pay to the order of” line. Depending on where you cash the check, this may need to exactly match the name on your identification.
  3. The check must be “endorsed.” In other words, you need to sign the back of the check where it says “endorse here.” Make sure to match the name you’re identified by on the front of the check.
  4. The check must be dated. The “date” line must be filled out, but it doesn’t need to be a current or past date. Checks can be post-dated. If your check’s date is in the future, you can choose to wait or, in many cases, cash it anyway. Be warned, however, that post-dated checks are usually dated that way because there won’t be enough money in the account until then.
  5. The check must not be expired. Checks generally expire after six months. However, some banks will continue to recognize them beyond that point. It’s worth asking if you have an older check.

Where to Cash a Check

The easiest place to cash a check is your own bank, but you can go to the check writer’s bank as well. Beyond banks, you can load prepaid cards, go to major retailers or use a payment service like PayPal or Venmo. Whatever your situation, there’s an option for you.

Here are eight places you can cash a check.

#1. Your Bank

Maximum check amount: None.
Cost: Free.

If you have a checking account, cashing a check should be quick and easy. All you have to do is take the check to the bank teller and ask to deposit it or, if you have a mobile app, make the deposit with your phone. 

The price for this convenience is that you may not get access to the total amount immediately. Some banks have policies that permit giving customers up to a certain figure instantly. If your check is more than that amount, it may take a couple of business days before the full check processes. If it’s a large check, the bank may place a longer hold on it. 

#2. The Issuing Bank

Maximum check amount: Varies.
Cost: A flat fee or percentage of check amount.

Most of the time, you can go to the issuing bank to cash your check, even if you don’t have an account there. For that reason, it’s a good option if you don’t have a bank account at all. It can also be a good option if you need the full amount today, since your own bank may only give you partial access to the funds until the check clear.

You can find which bank is the issuer on the front of the check. (E.g., Bank of America, Truist, etc.)

It’s important to note that issuing banks don’t have to cash your check, and if they do decide to, they can (and often do) charge you a fee for the service. 

#3. Walmart

Maximum check amount: $200 for two-part checks (such tax refund checks made out to two people); $5,000 (or $7,500 January through April) for all other checks. 
Cost: Up to $8.

As long as you have a valid ID, you can cash a payroll or pre-printed check at Walmart. Just head to the customer service or money services desk.

However, be aware that the company does not cash hand-written personal checks. Additionally, if you have a check made out to two people — such as yourself and your spouse — both parties need to be present, with their photo ID, to cash it.

The money will be made available to you immediately. It can either be given to you as cash or on a Walmart MoneyCard, which is a reloadable prepaid card. If you choose to get the prepaid card, Walmart will waive the fee it generally applies for reloading it.

#4. Regions Bank

Maximum check amount: Almost any amount. 
Cost: Up to 4% of the check amount.

You can use Regions Bank’s check cashing service to get your money immediately, but you have to enroll as a Regions Now customer first. You’ll need a photo ID and Social Security number to get approved.

Once you’re done, you can get checks cashed at a branch. If you get the Regions Now Card — which is a prepaid, reloadable Visa card — you can also use an ATM or make a mobile deposit. ATM withdrawals are limited to $808 per day. Mobile deposits are available immediately. 

You can find the nearest Regions Bank location here.

#5. Grocery Stores

Maximum check amount: Varies.
Cost: Varies.

In most cases, you just need a valid ID to cash a check at a grocery store, but some require extras, such as a Social Security number or a store loyalty card. The types of checks accepted vary from grocer to grocer, so call ahead to make sure the check you’re trying to cash is accepted at your store of choice. 

You’ll also want to make sure the location you want to go to cashes checks, because there are cases where the same company doesn’t offer the service at every location. 

Here are some examples of grocery chains that offer check cashing services:

  • Albertsons
  • Food Lion
  • Kroger
  • Safeway

Many grocery stores offer currency transfer and currency exchanges services through companies like Western Union, and these locations will often cash checks for a fee. Similarly, many currency exchange kiosks — like those found in shopping malls and airports — will cash checks — though the cost is likely to be among the highest of any option on this list. 

#6. Load It Onto a Prepaid Card

Maximum check amount: Varies.
Cost: Varies.

Prepaid cards often allow for mobile deposits. They each carry their own fees and have their own set of rules, so you’ll have to look into what the card will cost you to upload a check and make withdrawals. 

That said, if you pay a fee (usually a percentage of the check amount), you can often get your money instantly. 

These are an especially good option if you don’t have a photo ID, because their identity verification process usually only requires basic information and your Social Security number. 

Here are a few prepaid card programs:

#7. PayPal or Venmo

Maximum check amount: $5,000.
Cost: 1% of payroll and government checks with a pre-printed signature; 5% for all other accepted checks

Another option to cash your check is to use PayPal or Venmo. They work similarly to mobile deposits through your bank account; you take a picture of the front and back of your check and submit it. Accessing your cash is free if you can wait 10 days. If you need it immediately, you can pay a fee to get it expedited. 

#8. Endorse it to Someone Else

Maximum check amount: None.
Cost: Free.

Sometimes a bank will allow a different person to cash a check made out to you as long as you follow their guidance. Reach out to the bank that issued the check first to see if you can “write over” the check to another individual.

If you can, contact the bank of the person you’re writing it over to and ask what’s needed. For example, you could be required to endorse the check and then write “pay to the order of” with the name of the person you’re signing the check to. Or the person might have to endorse the check under your endorsement.

You should accompany the person you’ve endorsed the check to in case the bank needs your ID or other information before it can cash the check. Once the person you’ve endorsed it to has cashed the check, they can give you your money. This can be an effective option if you’ve received a check but don’t have a bank account.

Where to Cash a Check as a Kid or Teenager

If you’re under the age of 18, it can be more difficult to cash a check. A photo ID makes it easier, but there are options if you don’t have one. The rules are different wherever you go, though, so it’s a good idea to reach out ahead of time.

Some of the potential options if you have a photo ID are the same as if you were an adult. You may be able to use your own bank or the issuing bank. You could also try a retailer for a fee. Having a photo ID also enables you to use the methods those without one can.

If you don’t have a photo ID, there are still a couple things you can do. If you have a joint account with a parent or guardian, you can ask them to help you. If you don’t, you’ll need to get the help of a trusted adult, whether they’re a parent, guardian or someone else.


Can you cash a check without a photo ID?

Generally speaking, a photo ID is required to cash a check. If you have a bank account, your bank may offer ATM or mobile check deposits, which allows you to get the funds into your account without having to show your ID. However, depending on your bank’s policies, you may not have immediate access to the money. If you don’t have a traditional bank account, you can also use a mobile app (such as Venmo or PayPal) or a prepaid card that allows check cashing through an app. Finally, you can sign the check over to someone else to cash it for you.

Can you cash a check at the Post Office?

You can cash certain types of checks worth up to $500 at a select few post offices. It’ll cost a flat fee of $5.95, and you’ll get a Visa gift card with a value equal to the check instead of cash.

What is the fastest way to cash a check?

The fastest way to cash a check is to take it to a branch of the issuing bank. You can find which bank is the issuer on the front of the check. Most banks will cash checks drawn from a customer’s account for non-customers for a flat fee or as a percentage. Since the bank can verify that their customer has the funds to pay, you can get the money immediately.

Where to Cash a Check: Summary and Final Thoughts

Though checks are becoming more and more uncommon, options abound for cashing them. We’ve reviewed nearly a dozen methods here — both online and in-person.

They all charge different fees and the rules vary, though, so you’ll have to consider your needs and circumstances before choosing one. That said, there’s a vendor for everyone, regardless of if you have a bank account or photo ID.

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Cleveland Dietz
Cleveland Dietz is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. He learned the power of good money management while digging himself out of credit card and student loan debt. Since then, he has experimented with side hustles and investing strategies. Follow him on Twitter @dietziic.

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