6 Reasons Why the Bank Won’t Cash Your Check

Mature man paying bills with laptop while talking on phone.
Ridofranz / Getty Images/iStockphoto

In this digital age, it is easy to forget all the ins and outs of check cashing. Depositing a check is much more involved than just swiping a prepaid debit card at a major retailer or using a payment app to send money to a friend. Though not used as frequently, personal checks are still needed for certain financial services or transactions. 

6 Things That Could Stop You From Cashing a Check

If you have a personal check lined up and are heading out to deposit or cash it, make sure you remember that you may have to take a few more steps than with digital transactions. Here are a few reasons why a bank may not cash your check so you know how to remedy the situation:

  1. The check amount is too large. 
  2. You don’t have an account with the bank.
  3. You don’t have proper identification.
  4. The check isn’t made out to you.
  5. There is a hold payment request on the check.
  6. It is a stale check. 

1. The Check Amount Is Too Large 

If the transaction is too large, the bank or credit union you are at may not have enough money on hand to cash your check. If your check is over $10,000, it is best to check with the branch before your visit to give them advance notice or at least make sure they’ll be able to help you. 

If the check is large enough, you may have to make an appointment or go to a larger branch where they can handle that size of transaction. Banks only carry a certain amount of cash per day so planning ahead will save you some hassle. 

2. You Don’t Have an Account With the Bank 

Banks and credit unions where you don’t have an account aren’t necessarily obligated to help you with whatever type of check you are trying to cash. If you or the writer of the check don’t have an account at the bank you take your check to, they may decline to cash it for you. To make your life easier, either visit your bank or the bank where the writer holds an account especially if you want to avoid check cashing fees. 

A Better Way to Bank

3. You Don’t Have Proper Identification 

When cashing a check in person, not only do you need to make sure to endorse the check with your signature but you will also have to show proper ID. This ID needs to be government issued such as a driver’s license or passport. If you don’t have an ID, you could get denied as verifying someone’s identification helps protect both the customer and the bank from fraudulent behavior. 

4. The Check Isn’t Made Out to You 

Two-party personal checks are ones issued by the check writer to another person who then passes the check to you to cash. This could also mean the check is made out to a business instead of a person which could cause problems when trying to cash it. 

For example, if you are a business owner who wants to cash a check written out to your business, this shouldn’t be an issue. Issues would arise if you haven’t registered your business with the state government to create an LLC or opened a business account with the bank under the business name. If you complete those two procedures, you should be able to cash a check written out to your business.

5. There Is a Hold Payment Request on the Check 

Some checks are written with more long-term than short-term finances in mind. If the check you are trying to cash is post-dated, meaning it has been made out to be cashed or deposited on a future date, the bank may deny cashing it. In this case, you would have to wait for that date. People often put hold payment requests on a check to ensure the correct amount of money will be in the account when it goes through. 

A Better Way to Bank

6. It Is a Stale Check

Much like bread, once a check is stale it won’t really serve the purpose you need it to. This means that many checks are void after a certain period of time. Often this grace period is between 90 to 180 days so if you have been sitting on a check for a while, you may have difficulty cashing it at more conservative banks. 

If this does happen, you are not out of the money, as these expiration dates are more guidelines than rules. However, if the bank won’t cash it you have to have the writer of the check cut you a new one. 

Final Take To GO

Check cashing is a pretty straightforward process, though you may hit a road bump along the way if you run into any of the issues mentioned above. You have many options to cash a check digitally with ATMs or mobile apps. However, in general, if you follow the steps below you should be able to easily cash a check in person at your bank or credit union:

  • Step 1: Bring a valid ID like a driver’s license or passport.
  • Step 2: Endorse the check with your signature where indicated on the back of the check.
  • Step 3: Give the check to the banker and let them know if you would like to cash it or deposit it.


Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding check cashing.
  • How can I cash a check immediately?
    • One of the fastest ways to cash a check immediately would be to deposit it via your banking mobile app. You can simply take a picture of both the front and back of the check and enter the amount. The partial or entire amount should be posted to your account quickly.
  • Where can I cash a check without a bank account?
    • To cash a check without a bank account, you can do any of the following:
      • Take the check to the issuing bank of the check.
      • Take it to where the writer of the check has an account.
      • Take it to a check cashing store.
    • Be aware though that the store may come with high fees.
  • What is the best place to cash a check?
    • The best place to cash a check is at the bank or credit union where you have an account. This will make the transaction easier and also help avoid any check cashing fees.
A Better Way to Bank


See Today's Best
Banking Offers