Most banks are only open during business hours, and the number of physical bank branches is dwindling as online banks have become more popular — the Wall Street Journal reported that 9,000 bank branches have closed across the U.S. in the past decade.
So what do you do if you need to get a money order or cash a check when your bank is closed? Fortunately, you do have other options.
The Problem: You Need to Get a Money Order
Money orders can be used as a substitute for cash or checks when you need to send money, and they’re a safe choice if you’ll be sending funds through the mail. They’re a good option for people who don’t have access to personal checks or who want to ensure that the funds are secure. You might need a money order if you are paying bills or need to send money to another person. But what should you do if you can’t go to the bank to get one because it’s outside of your branch’s business hours? Go to the next slide for the solution.
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How to Get a Money Order When Your Bank Is Closed
If your bank is closed but you need to get a money order, head to Walmart. You can purchase money orders from any Walmart Supercenter or Neighborhood Market at the customer service desk or Money Services Center. To get a money order at Walmart, you will need cash or a debit card to pay for the money order and the money order fee, which can be up to $0.88 depending on your location.
You can also send money orders at many local supermarkets, pharmacies, check cashing locations and convenience stores through MoneyGram and Western Union.
The Problem: You Need to Cash a Check
Sometimes when you need cash, you need it immediately. If you have a check that you need to cash, but your bank branch is closed, you do have other options.
How to Cash a Check When Your Bank Is Closed
Waiting until your bank — or the bank the check was written from — is open is really the best option, because you won’t have to pay a fee to access the funds. But if you need the cash and can’t wait until business hours to get it, there other other places you can go to cash a check.
Your first instinct might be to head to a check cashing store, cash advance shop or payday loan shop, but these places tend to charge high fees. A better option is to cash your check at a retail store like Walmart or Kmart. Walmart charges a $4 fee for personal checks up to $1,000, and an $8 fee for checks between $1,000 and $5,000. Kmart has even lower fees, charging $1 or less, with no fees in many states for this service. Some supermarket chains also provide check cashing services.
The Problem: You Need Something Notarized
Some financial agreements — such as mortgage closing documents, property deeds or loan documents — require notarization, which means that an official third party, called a notary, has witnessed you signing the document and verified your identity. Many people turn to physical bank branches when they need a document notarized because this a service typically provided for free by your bank, but there are other options when you’re in a pinch.
How to Get a Document Notarized When Your Bank Is Closed
There are other establishments that provide notary services that might be open at hours your bank is not. For example, UPS provides notary services, and some locations are open on Sundays. You can also search for a notary public in your area, some of which provide their services 24/7.
Another option is to get documents notarized through your phone with mobile apps like Notarize, which provides notary services 24/7, and allows you to get your document legally signed and notarized in just minutes.
The Problem: You Need to Deposit Coins
You can typically deposit cash and checks 24/7 at any ATM, but if you want to deposit coins, you usually need to see a teller during bank hours. If you’re itching to deposit the contents of your piggy bank right away, you don’t have to wait for your bank to be open if you know where to go instead.
How to Deposit Coins When Your Bank Is Closed
You’ve probably seen Coinstar kiosks at your local grocery store but might have been hesitant to use them because they do charge a fee when you convert coins into cash. But you can avoid the 11.9 percent service fee when you convert your coins into an eGift Card instead. Coinstar allows you to turn your coins into a voucher that can be used at your choice of retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, Chili’s, GameStop, Starbucks, Home Depot and iTunes.
The Problem: You Need to Address a Serious Issue With Your Account
If you’re having a serious issue with your account, such as being unable to withdraw funds from an ATM, or you spotted a transaction or balance that seems incorrect, it’s useful to be able to talk to a bank representative face-to-face. If it’s outside of bank hours, this might not be possible — but don’t give up yet.
How to Address Serious Account Issues When Your Bank Is Closed
Meeting with a bank representative in-person might be the ideal in this situation, but if it’s outside of bank hours, you can likely still get support via phone, email or online chat. Major national bank chains like Wells Fargo offer 24/7 support to customers via phone and email.
The Problem: You Want to Open a New Account
When you want to open a bank account — whether it’s a new savings account, checking account, money market account or certificate of deposit — you might prefer to head to a bank branch where you can talk your options out with a representative, get hands-on help with the application process and give your personal information in a way that feels secure. But you don’t necessarily need to make a trip to your bank to do these things — there are easier options.
How to Open a New Account When Your Bank Is Closed
Many banks now offer the option to open a new account online and some even offer cash incentives to do so. For example, you can get up to $350 when you open a new Chase Total Checking and Chase Savings account online, and meet certain requirements. And even if you open the accounts online, you can still take care of any banking needs you have at physical branches during regular bank hours.
The Problem: You Need to Make a Large Withdrawal
You can withdraw as much money from your bank account as you want when you do it in person, but there are often limits to how much you can withdraw from an ATM, which could make after-hours withdrawals challenging. So what do you do if you need access to a large amount of cash and your bank is closed?
How to Make a Large Withdrawal When Your Bank Is Closed
If you need to withdraw more money from an ATM than your maximum daily limit, you can call the bank and ask for a temporary increase in your daily allowance. Typically, you would call the number on the back for your debit card to make this request.
If your bank doesn’t grant your request, there are other ways to get more cash. With most banks, the maximum daily purchase amount you can make on a debit card is significantly higher than the ATM withdrawal maximum. So to get more cash, choose the cash back option when you make a purchase at the store, and request the maximum amount. If you still need more cash, you can get a cash advance from a credit card. However, this should only be used as a last resort because doing this usually comes with high fees and interest rates.
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The Problem: You Need to Wire Money
If you need to transfer funds from one account to another ASAP, a wire transfer is your best bet. Fortunately, there are many free ways to send money outside of bank hours.
How to Wire Money When Your Bank Is Closed
You can send money domestically for free by using mobile and online services like Venmo, Cash App, Zelle, Google Pay and PayPal. However, there is typically a one- to three-business-day waiting period until the funds are accessible from the recipient’s bank account. Venmo does allow the recipient to transfer funds to a debit card immediately but there is a 1 percent fee for this service.
You can also wire money at your local Walmart store. Through Walmart2Walmart Money Transfer, you can send money from one Walmart location to another, and the recipient will be able to pick up the money in as little as 10 minutes. You can also wire money internationally at Walmart via MoneyGram. Both services can also be accessed using the Walmart app or via Walmart.com. Note that there are fees to use these services.
More on Banks
- 10 Best National Banks of 2019
- 10 Best Checking Accounts of 2019
- 10 Best Savings Accounts of 2019
- Watch: 3 Banks With No Fees
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About the Author
Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert.