Ever found yourself stranded when you want to cash your personal check? So desperate that you were ready to pay any fee? It’s a dilemma many people face every day with these checks. The nature of personal check is one of the reasons why cashing them may be harder than others. Sometimes they can be handwritten or from personal accounts. Cashiers, government checks, and other forms are easier to cash. These are pre-printed, and their vulnerability to fraud is lower. People face different degrees of challenges when cashing their checks.
You may want immediate cash from your check for emergency purposes. The process of converting a check takes time, and accessing instant cash may be hard. However, there are several methods you can follow to accomplish this.
It could also be that you have banked with an entirely online based bank. If you cannot access your Bank physically, cashing your check might be a trickier process.
There are also cases of people without checking accounts at all. For them, they may have to follow longer routes or pay higher charges to cash their checks. Whatever your reason is, you shouldn’t fret. We are going to look at ways you can follow to cash these types of checks.
Checking Your Check Before Cashing
Due to the high prevalence of check scams, The American Bankers Association advises people to ascertain the legitimacy of their checks before cashing them. Cashing a fake check is a crime that can put you in serious trouble.
If you cashed a fake check and spent the money, the Bank can sue you. You may also have to pay the money as an overdraft or a loan.
Following is a checklist of things you should look out for to make sure your check is genuine:
- Check possible mistakes- Inspect mistakes such as incorrect Zip codes, missing/faded bank logos, and the Bank’s address. A legitimate check will not have such errors.
- Wrongful or missing check number-A good check will have a valid check and routing numbers. In case you find your check numbers are too long or too short, call the Bank for confirmation.
- Check the paper Quality-Genuine checks will have at least one edge perforated. If you encounter a check with all smooth edges as if from a regular printer paper, you have a good reason to doubt it.
- Cross-check the Signature-Faded, and ineligible signatures are red flags you should lookout. These may mean the signature is a forgery, or the check is a photocopy.
- In case the check arrived unexpectedly in your mail, call the issuing Bank. If you suspect it, don’t call any numbers printed on it. You can get most of the banks’ contacts on their websites. Ask them to confirm the genuineness of the check.
Best Places to Cash a Personal Check
1. Local Bank or Credit Union
At your local Bank or Credit Union is the best place to cash your check. Most of the Banks do not charge their customers for check deposits. If you have a checking account with any bank, you can deposit your check and have your money within minutes or hours.
Several Banks have also developed mobile apps that support check deposits. You just get a snap of your check through the app and upload it. This saves you time, and you can have your cash within a short time. Opening a checking account is free of charge in most Banks. Even though some charge monthly account maintenance fees, there are that won’t charge you a cent.
To avoid the monthly checking account fee, you can consider joining a credit union. Unlike banks, Credit unions do not charge people to maintain their accounts. They also have a lower minimum balance requirement of about $5 to keep your account open. The following are some of the Banks that accept personal checks:
- Chase Bank
- Bank of America
- US Bank
- Sun Trust
- Fifth Third Bank
2. Visit the Issuing Bank
In the event you don’t have a checking account, visiting the issuing Bank is the best option. It offers the quickest and easiest way to cash your check. If, for instance, your check is from the Bank of America, you can visit any local Bank of America near by me branch.
The Issuing Bank may offer higher cashing limits also. Some of the available options charge an inflated percentage. In the end, you end up spending a lot of money to process your check.
However, bear in mind that different Banks have got different policies. If you’re not a member of a particular bank, you may pay a non-customer fee. You can call the bank or visit their website to find out whether they have such charges.
3. Gas Station Travel Centers
A select number of Gas station travel centers cash personal check. Due to the high fraud rate, most of them don’t accept them. Be it a personal check from an employer, government, or friend.
To cash your check at travel centers, you may have to call ahead of time and request them to accept your check. Also, you may have a high success rate if you’re an interstate truck driver.
The two best travel centers that you can try out are; Pilot Flying J and Travel Centers of America.
4. Transact by 7-Eleven
7-Eleven is among the few gas station centers that cash personal check. To enjoy their service, you must download their Transact app. You’ll take a picture of the check and upload it through the app.
After uploading the check picture, it takes about 48hours to be processed. The money is deposited into their7-Eleven prepaid card. Once the money is loaded, you can use this card anywhere MasterCard is accepted. Therefore, if you want cash on hand, this may not be your option.
5. Walmart Check Cashing
Wal-Mart is another right choice for you to cash your check. There are several Wal-Mart stores across the USA. Instead of pursuing other options like visiting the issuing Bank, you can settle on your local near by me Wal-Mart branch.
At Wal-Mart, you can cash your check for cash or MoneyCard. Also, if you buy your groceries, your check can be doubled like grocery money.
6. Local Grocery Store
Cashing your check at a local grocery store is a hit and miss process. Due to the high check fraud, most of them don’t accept personal checks. Instead, they only take the printed checks like payroll checks, cashiers’ and money orders.
Few grocery stores that cash personal check have different policies. Some do not charge while others waive the fee on certain conditions. Although, some will charge 2% of your check face value.
7. Endorse Your Check to a Friend
To cash a check is not a one-minute process. If you need money immediately, you can make an arrangement with your friend to cash your check. You can also opt to endorse your check to a friend if you don’t have a Bank account.
Endorsed checks, also referred to as the third party, are at times hard to cash. It depends on the policies adopted by different Banks. Some may require you to accompany your friend and fill a form. The form will act as proof that you have authorized the said person to cash your check. Some Banks do not accept endorsed checks.
To endorse a check:
- Step 1: write “Pay to the order of” then your friend’s name on top of your check.
- Step 2: Sign the check beneath the endorsement.
Once the check is processed, the balance will be credited to your friend per the Bank policy.
8. Cash Your Check Using an App
There are mobile apps that you can use to cash your check. To use some of these apps, you don’t necessarily have to be a member of a particular Bank. Such apps are PayPal and Ingo Money.
PayPal is among the top payment processors worldwide. The partnership with Ingo money and Century Bank enables PayPal to cash checks within minutes.
With the Ingo Money, you are required first to endorse the check. Then, take a picture of the front and back sides of your check.
If the check is approved, mark it as void on the front part. You can then choose to pay some fee for immediate cash release. If you want to evade charges, you will wait for ten days to receive your cash.
There are several ways you can use to access your money once unlocked. The simplest method is transferring the money into a checking account. This process takes approximately 24 hours to complete.
You can also transfer the money to debit or credit cards. If you choose the latter, you’ll have your cash in your account within minutes.
This might be your best app to cash your personal check. Ingo Money can is useful in cashing several forms of checks, including handwritten personal ones.
The first step towards cashing your check is endorsing it. You’ll use the app to take a picture of both sides. Finally, you will choose the account where you want the money deposited. There are several account options to pick. PayPal, Amazon Gift Cards, prepaid debit cards are some of the available redemption options.
The type of account you choose determines your wait time. With PayPal and prepaid debit cards, for example, the check balance will reflect in your account within minutes. The other available options, such as cash picks at specific locations, may take days.
Green Dot has a prepaid debit card mobile app that allows checking to cash. You can also choose to cash your check at Wal-Mart to add money to your Green Dot debit card. If you want to write a personal check to someone, they will send you their Checkbook.
To deposit your check, you won’t pay anything. Also, it’s not a must for you to have a checking account-your balance that will be loaded directly to your prepaid card.
Green Dot has the following limits;
- A check value should not exceed $2,500
- You can only cash up to $3,000 per day
- You can cash up to $5,000 per month.
- The least check balance is $1
NetSpend offers online and physical check cashing services. To cash your check online, you’ll download their mobile app. Like with the other mobile apps, you’ll be guided to take a picture of your check and other steps. If you choose to deposit the money in your prepaid card, this process will take you minutes.
You can also visit a local NetSpend partner to cash your check. They will convert your check within minutes and load the balance to your prepaid debit card.
Publix is one of the large grocery stores that cash personal check. To cash your check, you’ll be required to provide verification documents. These can be an identification card, driving license, or a state-issued photo identification card.
Their fees range from $3 to $6, with a daily limit of $75. These terms make Publix one of the most expensive options available.
Cashing your personal check at Kmart stores is one of the cheapest options. However, their stores have been closing down in several locations. If you can access a Kmart store, be sure to receive the fairest charges.
Kmart can cash personal check of up to $500 for a $1 fee. Besides personal checks, they also cash paychecks and government checks. Before heading to any Kmart outlet, it’s important to call and confirm whether they are still operational.
11. Giant Eagle Grocery Stores
If you are a resident of Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Maryland, or West Virginia, you can cash your check at one of these stores. These stores load cash equivalent to your check to their card. You can then use this card to make payments at their stores.
Giant Eagle Grocery Stores uses a third party system to verify your check cashing history. They’ll also require you to provide a government-issued identifier before cashing your check.
12. MoneyMart Check Cashing
Cashing a personal check at MoneyMart stores may be an injustice to your check. The cashing fee at these stores goes up to almost 36% check value.
Their other check’s fee is slightly lower but not personal ones. They have one of the highest rates in the check-cashing industry.
The MoneyMart stores spread in more than 32 states, Canada and the UK. If you have other options available to cash your check, consider them. There’s no need to pick a cashing method that will slice your check by almost half.
13. Check Cashing Stores
These stores can cash almost every available form of a personal check. They are the most accessible and the most expensive option. They don’t have a flat-rate fee, and they charge a percentage of your check. This makes them expensive to people cashing more extensive value checks. However, they might be cheaper for people cashing smaller checks.
If you choose to cash your check onto their reloadable debit card, they will charge a monthly maintenance fee. You’ll also be required to pay a reload fee whenever you want to add money to your card unless you don’t have another alternative to cash your check, cashing stores aren’t the best choice.
Options to Cash Personal Check For Money Fast
Prepaid Debit Cards
If you don’t need the cash at hand, you can consider going for prepaid debit cards. Even though you may have to pay for some services, the cards may give you the best service.
Some prepaid debit cards have mobile apps that you can use to deposit your checks. With the app, you won’t have to go searching for a Bank, cashing stores, or a friend to endorse your checks. You will be able to cash your checks at the comfort of your house.
Also, some cards will allow you to set up a direct deposit. You will be able to access funds in your cards account almost instantly after deposit.
No Credit Check Bank Account
Fifth Third Bank offers some of the best personal banking freedom. For example, to open an account, your credit check isn’t a consideration. Also, the Bank doesn’t impose a minimum account balance nor monthly fee.
If your average monthly transactions are 16 and above, you can instantly deposit your check and receive your funds. If your transactions are lower, you will be charged a 4% fee on your personal checks.
What to Consider When Cashing a Check
- Pay to the Order Of: Before heading to cash your check; you should ascertain that the names on the check match your legal identity. For the Bank to process your check, your names must match those on the check.
- Matching Dollar Amounts: A check has two amount fields; One to fill the amount in words and the other in figures. You should ascertain that the two fields reflect the same amounts.
- Check Issuer Signs the Check: A signature on a check confirms its legitimacy. You should make sure that the check bares the issuer’s signature. The signature should also be legible and not faded. These may be indications of forgery, and you should be on the lookout.
- Correct Date: Dates are critical in finance matters. Some Banks have a strict policy that a check should be cashed within 180 days. You have to make sure your check is dated appropriately and within the timeframe. In case your check is “future dated,” wait until the recorded time reaches. Incorrect dates can lead to your check being declared void or declined.
Ways to Avoiding Check-Cashing Fees
- Cash your check at the issuing Bank. Even though some Banks will charge for this service, there’s a high possibility of nil to minimal fees.
- Avoid checks by all means. Always choose to be paid in cash or receive funds through prepaid card accounts. By so doing, you’ll never incur a cashing fee.
Things to Remember When Cashing a Personal Check
Before starting your check cashing process, below are a few things you should keep in mind;
- Carry any identification document. It could be a driving license, state-issued photo id, military id, etc. Most of the check cashing locations will ask for these items to verify your identity.
- Some check-cashing centers will not accept handwritten checks. Some banks or credit union policies do not allow them to cash handwritten checks. These policies are there to mitigate the effects of check fraud.
- Different check cashing stores and Banks will charge differently to cash personal check. It is always advisable to compare several places before picking one to cash your check.
- Different places will have varying redemption regulations and limits. Depending on your preferences, be sure to check on daily regulations.
FAQ – Frequently Ask Questions
How do I cash a personal check online?
You will need an app that allows direct deposit. You will endorse your check first. Then take a picture of its front and back sides. Examples of these apps are -PayPal, Ingo Money, Net Spend, Green Dot, etc.
How do I cash a personal handwritten check?
- Take it to your local bank and inquire if they accept handwritten checks.
- Go to check-cashing stores. All of these stores will cash handwritten checks, even though you may pay a lot of fees.
- Use mobile apps that support handwritten checks. Examples are PayPal and Ingo Money.
- Endorse it to your friend.
- Visit the issuing Bank. Most of the issuing Banks will cash your check some with fee and others not.
Where can you cash a personal check without a bank account?
- At Fifth Third Bank allows express Banking?
- Some Banks may allow you to cash your check on prepaid debit cards. These will make you an eligible customer, and you may enjoy subsidized check cashing charges.
- At check-cashing stores, though, you pay a lot of fees.
- Online Apps, such as PayPal, do not require you to have an account.
Does anyone cash personal check?
No. To cash a check, you must be of legal age and have verifying documentation.
Can you cash a check instantly?
Yes. When you visit your Bank, for example, you may be able to access your funds instantly. Most of the mobile apps will deposit your bank balance into your prepaid cards almost instantly. You can also endorse a check to your friend. They will give you the cash and wait for the check to be processed.
Can you cash a personal check at an ATM?
Yes. However, this is only possible for those particular Bank customers. Also, the ATM should have the capability to support the service. For none customers, the process may take up to five business days.
Where can I cash a check without a fee?
At your local Bank-Most, Banks do not charge their customers a check-cashing fee. Through PayPal, you can also choose to wait for ten days and won’t be charged for the service. At the issuing, Bank-Most Banks will cash their checks for free. However, non-members may be charged some fees.
How long does it take a personal check to clear?
It depends on the check-cashing method you choose. Some may take minutes while others can even take weeks. If you are using a bank, it may take two days for the funds to be deposited into your account. When using direct deposit methods, it may take minutes.
If you need to cash your personal check, there are several options now. You can choose any of them based on your criteria. You can go for fee-charging methods or even the free ones. Also, if you don’t have an account, today, you can comfortably cash your check.
To get the best from your check, consider the fee, time, availability, and convenience. It is good to avoid expensive methods like the plague. Even though some of them may entice you with the provision of cashing a handwritten check, always be alert. Some of them may end up eating almost half of your check.
If you need instant cash, endorsing it may be the best way. Consider the Bank your friend intents to cash the check. You may endorse a check and later find that the bank doesn’t accept third party checks.