GOBankingRates

Where Can I Cash a Check?

ArchOneZ / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Approximately 7.1 million households are unbanked, which means they do not have an account at an insured financial institution, according to the 2019 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s National Survey of Household Use of Banking and Financial Services. What should you do if you need to cash a check and don’t have a bank account?

There might also be a time when you need to get cash from a check immediately, even when you have a bank account but can’t get to the bank. Luckily, you can cash a check at a number of different places, not just banks, no matter the circumstances.

Best Places You Can Cash a Check

Even if you don’t have a bank account, you still have options if a paper check lands in your hands. First, learn how to cash a check. Then look at places you can go to cash it, and find out about the typical fees, requirements and limitations involved.

Checkwriter’s Bank

You can go to the bank or credit union the check is drawn upon to cash it. You’ll find the name of the financial institution on the face of the check.

More From Your Money

Follow These Steps:

  1. Endorse the check by signing your name at the top of the reverse side.
  2. Present it to a teller inside the bank or credit union for cashing.
  3. You’ll need to show your driver’s license or some other form of acceptable identification.

Here’s a visual guide to help you read a check.

Don’t expect this service to be free. Many banks charge a fee for cashing a check if you aren’t an account holder there.

Check Cashing Apps

With check cashing apps, you can load checks via your mobile phone whenever you need to. You can send the funds to a connected bank account, PayPal account or prepaid card. Once the funds hit your account or card, the money is all yours.

To get started, you’ll need to download the mobile app and link it to an outside account or prepaid card. Select the mobile check load feature and follow the instructions. This includes taking pictures of the check.

More From Your Money

Note that transaction fees and other costs and restrictions may apply and will vary according to the provider. Here are examples of what some providers charge:

The minimum fee for each provider is $5.

Retail Stores

A bank isn’t the only place you can trade a check for cash. Some stores, including supermarkets and discount department stores, will cash checks for individuals.

Here are some stores that offer this service, the types of checks and the maximum amount they will accept and the fees they charge.

Check Cashing at Retail Stores
Store Name Types of Checks Cashed Maximum Amount of Check Checks Cashed Fee
Walmart All preprinted checks, including payroll, government, tax, cashier’s, 401(k), insurance settlement and two-party personal checks
  • $5,000 for preprinted checks
  • $200 for two-party personal checks
  • Preprinted check up to $1,000: $4
  • Preprinted checks from $1,001 to $5,000: $8
  • Two-party personal checks up to $200: $6 or less
Kroger Payroll, tax refund, government, insurance, business and child support checks $5,000
  • Checks up to $2,000: $4 to $4.50
  • Checks between $2,001 and $5,000: $7 to $7.50

More From Your Money

Employer

Although direct deposit and payroll cards are popular ways for employers to pay employees, some employers might still hand out paper checks. In such cases, your employer may be willing to cash your check for you — with or without a fee. There’s no harm in asking if your employer will cash your paycheck for you.

Check-Cashing Outlets

Cashing a check at a check-cashing outlet, such as The Check Cashing Store, ACE Cash Express or United Check Cashing, is likely the most expensive option. Instead of a flat fee, these stores charge a percentage based on the value of the check.

Good To Know

Percentage fees can add up quickly even when they’re as low as 1% to 4%. For example, if you cash a $1,500 check, you could pay from $15 to $60 in fees, depending on the percentage the fee is based on.

If cashing your check at a check-cashing outlet is your only available option, call ahead to find out the fees. You might be able to save if you shop around.

Things To Consider When You Cash a Check

More From Your Money

Cashing a check outside of a bank where you have an account involves a lot more than endorsing the check and handing it over to get fee-free cash. Here are some things to consider before you head to a retailer or check-cashing store to exchange your check for a pile of green:

Fees

Expect to pay a fee for check-cashing. Start by going to the issuing bank first. You can call ahead to check on possible fees if the bank is not nearby. If you don’t want to travel to the issuing bank, look for a retailer that charges low fees to cash checks. For example, in some states — like Connecticut and New Jersey — you can cash a check at Kmart for free.

Documentation or Identification You May Need

Don’t expect to be able to cash a check at any business unless you have at least one form of valid identification. And be aware that some businesses may require two forms of ID.

Here are some different types of documentation or identification you might need when you try to cash a check:

More From Your Money

Types of Checks

You may not be able to cash certain types of checks, depending on where you go. For example, many retailers will happily cash payroll, government and tax refund checks, but they might balk when it comes to other types of checks.

Here’s a list of check types that you might find difficult to cash:

Benefits of a Checking Account Over Check Cashing

Having a checking account can provide you with a variety of benefits that cashing checks at retailers, check-cashing outlets or the checkwriter’s bank can’t. Plus, it’s possible to open a bank account online. Here are a few benefits to consider:

Depending on how often you find yourself needing to cash a check and access your money, it will likely be easier to open a checking account. This is especially true if you consider that you will no longer have to pay expensive check-cashing fees or travel to random check-cashing destinations. Find out some of the best checking accounts available. Many have no fees.

Where Is the Best Place To Cash a Check?

The best place to cash a check is at your own bank. Cashing a check where you have a bank account can help you avoid unnecessary and expensive fees of check-cashing services and keep your money where it belongs — with you.

Even though it might seem convenient to cash checks at your local grocery or check-cashing store, you’re undoubtedly spending more than you need to. For example, if you fork over a $4 fee each time you cash your biweekly check, which you’ll get 26 times per year, you’ll end up losing $104 per year minimum in check-cashing fees.

But it gets worse. If you pay a fee of 2% — which equals $30 on each $1,5oo check — each time you take your biweekly check to the check-cashing outlet, you’ll pay $780 in check-cashing fees per year. Handing over that $780 is the equivalent of flushing over half of one of your biweekly paychecks down the toilet.

This article has been updated with additional reporting since its original publication.

If you don't have a bank account, you've probably wondered "Where is there check cashing near me?" or "Where can I cash my check near me?" Or perhaps you just wanted to know how to cash a check without a banking account.

When you have a check you want to turn into cash, finding a check-cashing place quickly is key. Keep reading to find stores -- and learn about their check-cashing requirements -- that will convert your check into that cash you need.

YvanDube / Getty Images

Walmart

Walmart check-cashing services are comprehensive. According to the Walmart Money Center website, you can cash the following types of checks:

– Payroll checks
– Government checks
– Tax checks
– Cashiers' checks
– Insurance settlement checks
– 401k retirement disbursement checks
– Walmart-purchased MoneyGram money orders

Walmart has a check-cashing limit of $5,000, which increases to $7,500 from January to April during tax refund season. You'll need to present an endorsed check with a valid identification to have it cashed.

Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

Walmart Check Cashing Pros and Cons

Pros

– Walmart stores are convenient and ubiquitous -- you never need to ask, "Where can I cash a personal check?"
– You might be able to combine a trip to cash your check with getting other things you need at the store.
– Walmart will give you your money in cash or on a Walmart MoneyCard. If you choose the MoneyCard, Walmart will waive the reload fee.

Cons

– You'll pay $3 to cash checks worth up to $1,000 and $6 for checks from $1,001 to $5,000.
– If you want to cash a check for more than $5,000 you must contact the store to find out the fee.

Related: How Much Does a Money Order Cost at Walmart?

Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

Kroger

One of the largest employers in the United States, Kroger has more than 2,800 locations where more than 443,000 employees work. The store also has other trade names, too, including Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, Mariano's and Pick 'n Save.

Not every store under the Kroger umbrella operates the same regarding check cashing, so check the Kroger Money Services website for updated information about check cashing availability and policies. You'll need a valid ID to cash your check here. Choose from among these types of acceptable IDs:

– U.S. driver's license
– State-issued ID
– U.S. military ID
– Resident alien ID
– Mexican matricula consular ID
– U.S. passport

Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Kroger Pros and Cons

Pros

– You can cash the following at Kroger: payroll, government, income tax refund and insurance settlement checks.
– The stores are open on evenings and weekends for those who need to cash checks outside of business hours.

Cons

– For checks of up to $2,000, cashing fees start at $3 if you have a Kroger's Shopper's Card.
– If you have a Kroger's Shopper's Card you'll pay $5.50 to cash checks between $2,000.01 and $5,000.

Nils Versemann / Shutterstock.com

Kmart

To take advantage of Kmart's check-cashing service you must be a Shop Your Way member. Become a member and you'll get an exclusive rewards card that will also give you access to store deals and savings. You must have a valid ID to cash a check. Here are the accepted forms:

– U.S. driver's license
– State-issued ID
– U.S. military ID
– U.S. passport
– Mexican matricula consular ID
– Tribal ID
– Green card

Sergey Yechikov / Shutterstock.com

Kmart Pros and Cons

Pros

– You can cash government checks up to $2,000; payroll checks up to $2,000 and two-party personal checks up to $500.
– Some states have no check cashing fees.

Cons

– You'll pay a fee ranging from $1 to 50 cents to cash a check.

Rob Wilson / Shutterstock.com

Publix

Even if you do have a bank account, you might find yourself in a position where you need to turn that check into cash right away and you can't wait for the check to clear. If you're not near your bank or it's closed, there are plenty of stores where you can cash your check. Publix offers personal and payroll check cashing at all of its locations. To cash a check, you'll need a valid form of ID, which includes a driver's license, state-issued photo ID card or military ID.

Phillip Pessar / Flickr.com

Publix Pros and Cons

Pros

– Publix cashes personal checks.

Cons

– Publix will not cash money orders, although it does sell them to customers.

Werth Media / Flickr.com

Albertsons

Like Kroger, Albertsons operates under different brand names, including Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market and Carrs and Haggen. Because the chain has undergone many changes in its portfolio of brands, check-cashing policies vary by location. Use the Albertsons store locator to find the location nearest you and call ahead to learn about its check-cashing policy.

Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

Albertsons Pros and Cons

Pros

– You can cash checks at these stores' customer service counters.

Cons

– Because check-cashing policies vary by location, you have to locate a store and call ahead for information.

Related: Where Can I Cash a Cashier's Check?

Ildar Sagdejev / Wikimedia Commons

Food Lion

Another chain that has policies that vary from state to state, Food Lion does list its general check-cashing policies on its website so you can get an idea of what to expect. You'll need a valid ID to cash your check, and Food Lion accepts the following forms:

– U.S. driver's license
– State-issued ID
– U.S. military ID
– U.S. passport
– Tribal ID

Virginia Retail / Flickr.com

Food Lion Pros and Cons

Pros

– Food Lion will cash rebate checks, government- or state-issued tax refund checks, up to $1,000 and traveler's checks up to $499.99.

Cons

– Food Lion won't cash a number of types of checks, including two-party, counter, credit card and payroll checks that are more than $1,000, to name a few.

DangApricot / Wikimedia Commons

Giant Eagle

Located mainly in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Giant Eagle requires you to apply for an Eagle Advantage Card to take advantage of its check-cashing services. The store rewards card gives you access to the Giant Eagle's financial services.

Niceckhart / Wikimedia Commons

Giant Eagle Pros and Cons

Pros

– The store accepts payroll and government checks via the Paycheck Secure Check Cashing System.
– You can cash handwritten payroll checks with a manager's approval.

Cons

– You'll pay a service fee for each check you cash.
– You cannot cash non-GE money orders, tax refund checks, insurance checks, foreign traveler's checks or gift checks.

Next Up: 7 Best Check-Cashing Apps