Where to Cash Personal Checks - Frugal Reality

Where To Cash a Personal Check? 10+ Best Places (Some Free!) Near Me

Technology has revolutionized the banking sector drastically over the past years. Today, there are more payment options than ever, from PayPal, Venmo, direct deposits, cheap money orders, banking apps, and mobile payment options like Google Pay, Apple Pay, among others. To some extent, the world is going cashless.

Despite this sea of change, paper checks are still here. There are different situations when you might want to find places to cash a personal check near me.

For instance, you’re in the gig economy, and your employer makes out a paper check to you on Sunday. You’ll need to find places that cash personal checks on Sunday. Maybe you receive a birthday gift from your grandparents or under the table job in the form of a paper check. To enjoy the perks, you may want to find the best place to cash a personal check to reduce check-cashing fees.

What places cash personal checks?

Short Answer: Your local bank, credit union, or the issuing bank are the best places to cash personal checks near me free of charge. Your employer or the company you work for is also a great place to cash personal checks made out to you at no extra charge. You can also cash a personal check from the comfort of your house with a mobile app like Ingo Money or NetSpend at no charge if you are willing to wait.

But you may ask, “What are other ways to cash a personal check without a bank account?”

Walmart offers convenient check cashing services for a fee on Sundays. Other places to cash a personal check nearby include gas stations and travel centers, grocery stores, convenience stores, and check-cashing stores. You can also endorse a personal check to a friend if you don’t have a bank account.

Best Places That Cash Personal Checks Near Me

Banks and credit unions are the best places to cash personal checks near me during regular banking hours. Cashing a personal check at your local bank or the issuing bank is usually free, and you’ll be able to cash large checks because banks offer higher check cashing limits.

But not everyone has a bank account. You need to cash a check over the weekend or at an odd hour when banks are closed. You’ll need to find a local grocery store, mobile apps, and other check cashing in this case.

Due to the risk of fraud and insufficient funds associated with checks, you’ll be required to have a government-issued photo ID and be subjected to lower check cashing limits at grocery stores.

1. Local Bank or Credit Union

The best place to cash a personal check is your own local bank or credit union. They offer higher cashing limits and free check cashing services to account holders. That means you’ll have instant access to your check’s total amount at no extra charge.

If your bank doesn’t offer free check cashing services as one of the perks for account holders, it’s time to switch! Open a new account that offers free personal check cashing services in your area.

If there isn’t a network of national bank branches in your area, you’ll be better served by a credit union. One area where credit unions beat banks hands down is that they charge fewer fees and require a lower minimum balance to keep your checking account active. Just with a $5 minimum balance, you can keep your account open at a credit union without any monthly checking account fees.

2. Issuing Bank

For some reason, you may not have a bank account, or there aren’t bank branches nearby. In that case, the issuing bank is the best place to cash a personal check near me.

You’ll find the issuing bank’s name printed at the bottom of the check above the memo line. Say the check was made out at JPMorgan Chase Bank or Wells Fargo, and there’s a branch in your area. Simply bring the check to the cashier along with your government-issued photo ID to verify your identity.

The cashier will check the account balance to ensure that you aren’t cashing a personal check with insufficient funds. If the account balance is sufficient to cover the check, it’ll be processed. The advantage of bringing the check to the issuing bank is that you’ll be able to access higher cashing limits and face lower fees, if any. Of course, don’t expect anyone to cash one for six figures!

How Much do Issuing Banks Charge to Cash a Check?

Usually, banks have different personal check cashing policies for non-customers. Chances are, you’ll be hit with check cashing fees if you’re a non-customer at the issuing bank.

A Non-customer will typically pay the following to cash a personal check at an issuing bank:

  • $0 for checks below $50
  • $7-$10 for checks above $50
  • $7 per check regardless of the check amount.
  • 10% of the check amount

Though uncommon, a few banks may load your cashed checks onto a prepaid debit card with a chip. Such prepaid cards usually have an expiration date and may carry monthly maintenance fees. Make sure you use the proceeds before the expiration date!

Unlike an activated American Express gift card that doesn’t expire, a debit card issued by a bank will expire. Alternatively, you can sell a gift card for cash online.

3. Walmart Check Cashing Services

If you are looking for a place to cash a check on Sunday or at an odd hour, Walmart is your best bet. It’s also a great place to cash a check when shopping for groceries, returning an air mattress at Walmart, or processing a Walmart TV return. You’ll find most Walmart locations are open as late as 10 pm or 11 pm. There were many 24-hour Walmart stores before the covid-19 pandemic hit.

Check cashing services are performed at the Walmart Money Services center or the customer service desk near the entrance. To cash a check at Walmart, visit during normal Walmart store hours and your ID to the financial services counter.

If the money services desk isn’t open, present the check to the cashier. The cashier may have a lower check cashing limit vs. the service counter. Per Walmart’s check-cashing policy, the personal check-cashing limit is $200, while the daily limit for other check types is $5,000 or $7,500 during the tax months-January to April.

What Types of Checks Does Walmart Cash?

The different kind of checks you can cash at Walmart include:

  • Payroll
  • Pre-Printed
  • Government
  • Stimulus check
  • Cashiers
  • Tax
  • 401k and retirement disbursements
  • MoneyGram money order
  • Insurance settlement checks

Walmart charges $4 for each check, up to $1,000, and $8 for any checks greater than $1,000. You can choose to receive your check proceeds in cash or have the check amount loaded onto a Walmart MoneyCard. In this case, the reload fee for the MoneyCard is waived.

What Checks Will Walmart Not Cash?

Walmart will not cash third-party checks, personal checks, or MoneyGram money orders that were not originally purchased at one of its stores.

4. Gas Stations and Travel Centers

Whether on a road trip or traveling the interstate, finding gas stations that cash personal checks is such a convenience. Instead of going to the bank, you can save gas and time by going directly to a gas station to fuel your car and cash a check at the same time.

MarketWatch estimates that there are about 115,000 gas stations in the US. You’ll find select gas stations that cash checks from our related article. But due to the risk of fraud associated with personal checks, most gas stations will not accept handwritten checks, government, or employer checks.

Travel centers along the expressway are the best gas stations that cash personal checks. The largest travel center chains include:

  • Pilot Flying J
  • TravelCenters of America

Note that each of their locations has its check cashing policies, and only a few places take personal ones. Call ahead of time to confirm their financial service offerings.

5. Grocery Stores

You won’t find many grocery stores that cash personal checks, but if you are lucky to find one nearby, they are among the best 24-hour check cashing places to do it at an odd hour or during weekends when banks are closed.

Generally, finding grocery stores that cash personal checks is a hit-and-miss game. The top reason is that you may be cashing a personal check with insufficient funds. Unlike banks, grocery stores have no way of establishing whether the account balance is sufficient to cover the check amount. Check fraud is even more difficult to detect than using a stolen credit card.

To minimize the risk of loss, most grocery stores don’t accept personal check cashing. It’s also the main reason why grocery stores and other check cashing places require your government-issued photo ID. It allows them to come after you in case something happens.

As such, only a few grocery stores cash personal checks. But in most cases, grocery stores allow you to overpay for purchases with a personal check and get $5 cash back or $10 cash back. You’ll need to ask the cashier about the maximum cash back you can receive before overpaying.

Check out our guide for the stores that give the most cash back.

Here are some local grocery stores that cash personal checks:

  • Food Lion: Personal checks up to $500. The fee varies by location.
  • Publix: Personal check up to $75. $3 to $6 fees apply based on the check amount
  • Kmart: Personal checks up to $500. $1 or less fee.
  • Market Basket: Personal checks up to $50. The fee is 1.25% of the check amount
  • Giant Eagle: Personal checks up to $30. Fees vary by location

Each store location sets its own check cashing policies. Fees and check cashing limits may vary from one store location to another. Your best bet is to call the financial services desk or ask the cashier ahead of time.

See our guide about money orders and cashing a check at Publix.

6. Convenience Store

Convenience stores aren’t banks, but as the name goes, they are always bent towards offering convenience to their customers, from groceries to gas. That said, you’ll rarely find any convenience stores that offer cash checking services. But if you want to cash a check remotely, your best bet is 7-Eleven.

First, you’ll need to get a 7-Eleven prepaid MasterCard where you can immediately load your cashed checks. Next, download and install the Transact app from 7-Eleven. Then, open the app and use your smartphone to take a photo of your check.

Your check will be processed within 48 hours, and the balance is added to your Transact prepaid MasterCard. The debit card can be used to make purchases online or at retail stores that accept prepaid debit MasterCard.

7. Endorse Personal Check To a Friend

Consider signing the check over to a friend. When you endorse a check made out to you to another person, it becomes a third-party check. Third-party checks can be cashed at one’s own bank, credit union, or any of these 17 places that cash third-party checks.

How To Sign a Check Over to Someone?

Follow these steps to endorse a third-party check to a friend:

  • On the top line, write “Pay to the order of X.” X is your friend’s name.
  • Sign your name underneath this endorsement on the second line on the back of the check.
  • Your friend will then sign their name on the third line.

To fight check fraud, banks and other places that cash third-party checks have tight policies for cashing endorsed checks. Some banks may require both you and your friend to be present with your government-issued photo IDs when cashing it. Other financial institutions may require you to complete and sign a form to declare that you have endorsed the check over to your friend and have your permission.

8. Check Cashing Stores

A Google search will probably bring you to check cashing stores or payday/title loan companies. According to IBIS World, around 4,400 check cashing and payday loan servicing businesses are across the US. The places cash all types of checks, including personal checks and handwritten checks.

Before you get excited, know that such convenience comes with a fee. You should only consider check cashing stores as your last resort. Their fees are usually a percentage of the check amount instead of a flat fee. Don’t be surprised to pay fees as high as 30%-50% of the check balance.

Find the closest check cashing store open 24 hours

Though it’s not recommended to frequent check cashing stores due to their high fees, they may be your only option, especially if you don’t have a bank account.

Here’s a list of some reputable cash checking stores with reasonable fees:

  • PL$ 24/7 Financial Services
  • Speedy Cash
  • Community Financial Service Centers
  • PAY O’MATIC
  • United Check Cashing
  • Ace Check Express
  • Check into Cash

They usually offer financial services, including fax services, get notary services, get copies, and ATMs that dispense $10, $20, and more.

See our guide on The Great Depression Survival Tips.

9. Check Cashing App

Are you wondering how to cash a personal check online? Consider checking cashing apps like Ingo Money, PayPal, NetSpend, and Green Dot that enable you to cash a personal check online without being a bank customer.

Ingo Money

Ingo Money is the best app for cashing personal checks online and other check types. Checks can be loaded onto a prepaid debit card, PayPal account, Amazon gift card, credit card, or cash pickup at participating MoneyGram locations. You can cash checks between $5 and $5,000 with Ingo Money. Ingo Money fees apply as follows:

  • $5 for handwritten checks below $100
  • 5% for handwritten checks above $100
  • $5 for pre-printed payroll and government checks under $250
  • 2% for pre-printed checks above $250

PayPal

PaPal offers online check cashing services in partnership with Ingo Money and First Century Bank. The minimum check amount is $5, while the maximum check amount is $5,000. Fees range from 1% to 5% of the check balance, depending on the type of check. There is a $5 minimum fee per check.

NetSpend

NetSpend is another check cashing app that offers online check-cashing. The check amount is loaded into a prepaid debit card. $0 charges apply for standard check processing. Expedited processing costs 2% of the check amount for pre-printed payroll and government checks and 5% for handwritten checks. There’s a $5 minimum fee for all check types.

Green Dot

A Green Dot prepaid card lets you can reload checks onto the card using its mobile app. It’s fee-free if you are willing to wait for a 10-day standard processing period. Expedited processing fees cost 1% for government, payroll, and stimulus checks and 4% for handwritten checks.

Check cashing limits range from $5 to $2,500 per check. The daily limit is $5,000 and up to $10,000 in 30 days.

10. Your Employer

Since you have an established work relationship, the company you work at is more likely to cash out your paycheck at no extra fee. You can also ask your employer if they can cash a check made out to you by a friend or family member. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

How Much Does It Cost To Cash A Check?

How much it costs to cash a check depends on the check type, the amount, and the place. For instance, banks include free cash checking as one of the perks to account holders. But for non-customers, check cashing fees can be as high as $7-$10 for checks above $50 at a bank. Though, not all banks or credit unions charge fees to non-customers. Most banks have $0 fees for checks below $50 and below.

When cashing a check at Walmart, expect to pay fees between $4 to $8, depending on the check amount.

Mobile fintech apps also offer great ways to cash a check for free. Apps like NetSpend and Green Dot offer free standard cash checking services if you are willing to wait for ten days to receive the money. Otherwise, expect to pay a fee of 1% to 5% of the check amount when cashing checks through a mobile app.

Grocery stores like Giant Eagle, Kmart, and Publix charge fees between $1 to $6 for limited check cashing amounts.

As you can see, fees vary based on the place. Check-cashing stores are the most expensive places to cash checks, and you should only consider them as your last resort. Finding a cheaper alternative is a frugal living tip with a big impact on saving money.

How Do You Cash a Check?

To cash a check at a bank or a store, make sure that the check is signed and endorsed correctly. Then, hand the check and your government-issued ID over to the cashier or teller. Once they verify your identity, your check will be processed and the money handed over to you or deposited into your account.

To cash a check with a mobile app, make sure the check is properly endorsed. Open the app and take a picture of the check’s front and back. Follow the app’s instructions to designate where the money should be deposited. Then wait the standard processing period.

Once the check clears, you’ll receive the money or pay a fee for expedited processing to receive the cash immediately. Maybe you need the money quickly for a hotel that takes cash payments.

How to Cash a Check Online Instantly?

To cash a check instantly, visit your local bank, the issuing bank, or grocery stores like Walmart with your government-issued photo ID. Once the cashier can verify your identity and establish that there’s enough money to cover the check, you’ll receive your cash.

You can also cash a check instantly online at the comfort of your home with mobile check cashing apps like Ingo Money, PayPal, GreenDot, and NetSpend. Simply take a picture of the check and designate where you want the money to go. Then pay an expedited processing fee of between 1% to 5% to have it deposited within minutes.

Do I Need An ID To Cash a Personal Check?

Yes, you’ll need a government-issued photo ID to verify your Identity when cashing a check at a bank, credit union, or any other check-cashing place. Common types of accepted primary IDs include passports, military IDs, and driver’s licenses. The measures are put in place to curb check fraud and protect customers by ensuring that nobody else can impersonate them and cash stolen checks.

If you don’t have a government-issued ID, some places will allow you to use two secondary IDs like a student ID and an employment ID to verify your identity.

Some Mobile apps only require you to verify your identity when creating the account and cashing your first check. From there on, you should be able to cash personal checks without an ID.

Where to Cash a Personal Check on Sunday?

Walmart is your best bet if you want to cash a check on a Sunday. The good thing is 90% of Americans live within 15 miles of a Walmart store. Most stores operate seven days a week from 7 am to 10 pm or 11 pm.

Grocery stores like Publix, Kmart, Food Lions, Giant Eagle, and Market Basket are great alternatives to Walmart. As your last resort, consider national check cashing stores near you like Speedy Cash, Community Financial Services Centers, Ace Check Express, Check into Cash, PAY O’MATIC, and United Check Cashing.

Can You Cash a Personal Check at an ATM?

Yes, you can cash a personal check at most ATMs that dispense $5, $50, or $100 near me. You must be a bank customer to deposit a personal check at any of its branches. That means you can’t deposit checks via out-of-network ATMs.

The ATM must have the capability to process personal check deposits. Some ATMs accept remote deposits, but you’ll have to wait a three-day holding period to lapse before your money is available.

With the advent of online and mobile banking, most banks now offer free mobile check deposits. It’s faster than visiting a local branch or mailing your check to the bank.

Mobile check deposit best practices include: requiring you to check the “Mobile Deposit” box on the back of the check and writing “VOID” on the back of it once it clears.

What Places Don’t Cash Handwritten Personal Checks?

To reduce risk, the following companies do not cash handwritten personal checks:

Where to Cash a Personal Check Summary

Your bank or credit union is the best place to cash a personal check because you won’t incur any check-cashing fees. If you don’t have a bank account or bank branch nearby, the issuing bank is your second best choice. Consider Walmart and other grocery stores like Publix, Kmart, or Food Lion if you want to cash a check on Sunday or at an odd hour. Fees apply depending on the total amount.

Do you want to remotely cash a check on the go or from the comfort of your house? The best check-cashing mobile apps include Ingo Money, PayPal, NetSpend, and GreenDot.

The final alternative is to visit a check-cashing store. They charge exorbitant fees, and you should consider going there as your last resort. You’re better off asking your employer to cash a personal check for you or endorsing it over to a friend.

Paying the lowest fees is a start on saving $10,000 in a year, per our article.

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