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How To Cash A Check Without A Bank Account

Matthew Levy
Matthew Levy
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Victoria in 2010, Matthew developed a passion for helping clients meet their financial freedom through strong, risk-adjusted portfolios. Formerly, he was responsible for managing and co-managing over $600MM in cumulative assets for private households and institutions. Matthew also undertook and completed his CFA® charter in 2015, a rigorous professional credential program promoting the highest standards of education, ethics, and professional excellence in the investment profession.

DollarGeek's goal is to help you make the best financial decisions. To help us do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations or ratings.

checks, bead, checkbook
Table of Contents

If you’re new to the country, value your privacy, or are having a tough time opening a bank account, there are alternatives available to you.

Key Takeaways

  • Check-cashing stores, retail stores, and some banks offer check-cashing services without a bank account
  • Prepaid cards and mobile apps provide additional options for cashing checks without a traditional bank account
  • Fees and limits vary, so it’s essential to compare options to find the most cost-effective solution
  • Ensure you have proper identification to cash a check without a bank account

Ways To Cash Your Check Without A Bank Account

While having a bank account can be a crucial part of managing your finances, it’s not necessary to have one if you want to cash a check.

Check-Cashing Stores

Check-cashing stores are establishments specifically designed for cashing checks without requiring a bank account. They generally charge a fee, often a percentage of the check amount or a flat rate. Some popular check-cashing stores include:

  • ACE Cash Express
  • Check Into Cash
  • Money Mart

Retail Stores

Some major retail stores offer check-cashing services, usually for a flat fee. Examples of such stores are:

  • Walmart: Cashes pre-printed checks, payroll checks, government checks, and tax refund checks, with fees ranging from $4 to $8 depending on the check amount
  • Kroger: Cashes various types of checks, including payroll and government checks, with fees varying by location

Banks and Credit Unions

Some banks and credit unions offer non-customer check-cashing services, but fees and policies vary. Contact local branches to inquire about their specific services.

Fees For Non-Customer Check Cashing By Banks

Bank Fee for Non-Customer Check Cashing
Bank of America Up to $8, depending on the check amount
Chase $8 per check
Wells Fargo Up to $7.50, depending on the check amount
Citibank Up to $10, depending on the check amount

Prepaid Cards

Several prepaid card providers, like Netspend or Green Dot, offer mobile check deposit features. Load the check onto the card and access the funds without a traditional bank account. Note that fees and limits may apply, and not all check types may be accepted.

Fees For Cashing A Check Via Mobile Deposit On Prepaid Cards

Provider Fees
Netspend Up to 5% for instant access; free with a 10-day waiting period
Green Dot Up to 4% for instant access; free with a 10-day waiting period
American Express Serve Up to 5% for instant access; free with a 10-day waiting period
Bluebird by American Express Free with a 10-day waiting period; $5 fee for expedited deposit
GoBank Up to 4% for instant access; free with a 10-day waiting period

Mobile Apps

Apps like Ingo Money and PayPal offer check-cashing services without a bank account. If you’re in no rush to get your check cashed, PayPal offers a free option, but be prepared to wait up to 10 days for the funds to clear.

If you need your money quicker, they offer an expedited option for a fee. Payroll and government checks only cost 1%, but any other type of check will cost you 5% of the check amount.

On the other hand, Ingo Money takes 2% of your payroll or government check and 5% for all other types. The minimum fee is $5, however.

How To Set Up A Bank Account For Cashing Checks

Cashing a check is typically most efficient and straightforward with a bank account; however, some obstacles may make it difficult to open a bank account.

New To Banking

It may seem daunting in the beginning, but opening a bank account is fairly straightforward. Just remember to bring your proof of identity, social security number, proof of address, employment and income information. Ask the bank what documentation they require if you want to be sure to have everything with you.

If you are under 18 years old, a parent or legal guardian must be a joint account holder.

Frozen Bank Account

One option to consider is opening a bank account that doesn’t use ChexSystems, a banking reporting agency that gathers data on your past issues with deposit accounts, or opting for a second chance bank account. These alternatives can help individuals with poor banking history regain access to essential banking services.

Poor Credit History Or Debts

Seeking assistance from a reputable debt repair company can help you improve your financial situation. Debt repair companies can negotiate with creditors on your behalf and devise a plan to manage and reduce your debt.

Recent Immigration

It’s crucial to understand the local banking system and the requirements for opening a bank account in the US. Researching the best banks and comparing their services can help in finding a suitable bank that meets your specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Does It Take To Cash A Check Without A Bank Account?

The time it takes to cash a check without a bank account varies depending on the method used. Check-cashing stores, retail stores, and banks typically provide instant access to funds, while mobile apps may require a waiting period for free services.

What Are The Fees For Cashing A Check Without A Bank Account?

Fees vary depending on the provider and check type. Check-cashing stores usually charge a percentage or flat rate, while retail stores and banks may have lower fees. Mobile apps may offer free services with a waiting period or charge fees for instant access.

Can I Cash A Check Without A Bank Account If I Have A Poor Credit History?

Yes, having a poor credit history doesn’t affect your ability to cash a check without a bank account. However, you may face higher fees or limited options based on your credit history.

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