How to Cash a Check without a Bank Account

Most Americans live either unbanked or underbanked. While life without a banking account may be unimaginable for some, it is a living reality for many. A portion of the population depends on alternatives to banking services like check-cashing. In this article, we will tell you how to cash a check without a bank account.

Can You Cash a Check Without a Bank Account?

The simple and short answer to this question is, “Yes.” There are multiple ways to cash a check despite the absence of a bank account. Here are a few options that you can use to cash your checks.

Visit the Issuing Bank

If you visit any local branch of the issuing bank, they will probably cash the check for you. However, the service always entails a check-cashing fee. The fee is small and covers the cost of processing the check.

Issuing banks will cash almost all types of checks for you, whether personal or payroll. Many even waive the processing fee for checks of smaller amounts or personal checks. You can also open an account to avoid being charged a check-cashing fee. However, that process can entail inconveniences of its own, which is why many prefer to remain unassociated with any bank.

Visit a Retailer Store

Multiple big-scale retail stores now offer monetary services to their customers. The list includes big names like Walmart, Kmart, 7-Eleven, and Kroger, along with some others. These retailers cash payroll checks, government checks, tax checks, cashier’s checks, insurance-settlement checks, and even retirement-distribution checks. However, not many cash personal checks. Walmart will not entertain any personal check, while a few others may provide a cashing service for small personal checks.

Almost all retail stores have a cashing limit, and they also charge a check-cashing fee. The fee is minimal compared to what professional check-cashing services charge.

If you visit a 7-Eleven to use their service, make sure it has a V-com check-cashing Kiosk. With a V-com check-cashing kiosk, you can handle various financial tasks, from paying your bills to check-cashing.

Check-Cashing Service

These establishments earn much of their revenue by providing a check-cashing service. Thus, they keep a high-profit margin. Unlike an issuing bank or retail store, they charge a significant amount of money to make a profit after paying the processing fee.

Check-cashing service providers also provide personal loans and title loans. They often make these cash advance payments to even those with bad credit and charge higher interest rates for a higher profit margin.

These places not only take institutional checks like Walmart, but they also accept personal checks and cash. A credit check is essentially a short-term loan, so they charge a hefty sum of money as a fee and can also charge a significant interest rate.

A check-cashing service is the most expensive cashing option. It is, however, the only one that will cash an extensive personal credit check. To do so, the agency will require some form of ID. In some cases, they may even need two forms of identification. A few acceptable identification documents are:

  • Driver’s license
  • State-issued ID
  • Military ID
  • Passport
  • Green card

Have a Friend Cash It for You

If you have a friend you can blindly trust, and they have a checking account, then they can get it cashed for you. You can endorse the check over to your friend, who can get it cashed through their bank. This way, you avoid the processing fee.

However, this requires extra work and hassle for your friend who may be reluctant to undertake this responsibility. You can ask them to do it once or maybe twice, but they may not be willing to do it for you every month. What will you do then for your next month’s payroll check?

Prepaid Card

If you own a prepaid card, you can also load your check onto the card instead of getting it cashed. A prepaid card works differently than a debit card. They don’t have to be associated with an active bank account or credit union.

Some banks will also let you cash a check for free if you load money into an existing prepaid card. However, a service like this may entail monthly maintenance fees and other hefty charges. With a prepaid card, you cannot spend more than the available amount. They have their pros and cons, and they may allow you to cash your check for free.

Seek the Cheapest Option

Out of all the options mentioned above, we suggest you try the one with the least cost. The first option should be to go the issuing back as they may cash your check for free, especially for smaller amounts. A retailer or cashing agency will charge you a hefty sum for the same service. 

In case you want to cash a significant amount and the issuing bank’s local branch is too far away, you can visit a retail store instead. Walmart, Kmart, Kroger, and 7-Eleven all provide cashing services in their customer-service departments. They do charge a processing fee for the service. However, their rates are meager compared to that of check-cashing service. A retail store is the next-most practical option.

A check-cashing agency charges a high fee for their services. However, for more extensive personal checks, it may be the only option for you. Not everybody has a friend willing to go through the hassle of visiting their bank and getting your check cashed for you.

A check-cashing service provides other services, such as short-term loans like personal loans, title loans, and payday loans. They also allow you to cash a personal credit check. Such services do come with a  cost, but they are often imperative in times of dire need. GetCash is the platform that you can rely on for personal loans.