How to Cash a Check

Here's how to cash a check without a bank account and with one.

When someone writes you a personal check, you can either cash it or deposit it into your bank account to get the money. Keep in mind that you might not be able to get cash immediately from a check if you deposit it into your account because the bank must ensure funds are available in the account from which it was written.

Follow these steps on how to cash a personal check. As with any financial transaction, make sure you minimize your banking fees.

How to Cash a Check at Your Bank

It’s a straightforward process to get cash for a check at your own bank. Follow these steps:

  1. Endorse the back of the check by signing your name on the line at the top with the “x” to the left of it.
  2. Cash your check with a bank teller if you need the money immediately or deposit it in your checking account via the ATM or mobile check deposit.

See: 10 Best National Banks of 2017

How to Cash a Check Without a Bank Account

You can still cash a check even if you don’t have a checking account. Here are four ways to cash a check without a bank account:

  1. Check-cashing stores are one way to cash your check without a bank account. You’ll likely pay a significant fee for this convenience, so make sure you shop around for the lowest price.
  2. Major retailers like supermarket chains, 7-11 and Walmart typically offer check-cashing services. Retailers also charge a processing fee, but it will likely be less than a check-cashing store fees.
  3. Go to the check-issuing bank to cash the check. You might have to pay a check-cashing fee, which varies from bank to bank, and you’ll need a photo ID.
  4. Use a prepaid account like NetSpend — you download the app, select “Mobile Check Load” from the “Move Money” menu and follow the instructions to take a picture of the check and deposit it. Once the card is funded, you can spend the money.
  5. Request the check issuer write the check to cash. If they write “cash” in the “Pay to the order of” line, you can then take it to any bank to cash the check.

Learn: Cashier’s Check vs. Money Order — Here’s the Difference

More Tips on How to Cash Checks

You might still have some questions regarding cashing — or writing — a check. See if your answer is covered here.

How Do You Write a Check?

Put the name of the person you’re writing the check to on the first line, add the date at the top right-hand corner, then write the check’s numeral amount in the box next to the person’s name and spell out the check amount on the second line. Last, sign the check on the line located at the bottom right-hand corner. You can also include an optional memo noting the purpose of the check.

See: How to Read and Write a Check

Can You Cash a Check at Any Bank?

If you don’t have an account at the bank where you are trying to cash the check, the bank is not obligated to cash it. Try calling ahead first.

Can You Cash a Check at an ATM?

You can deposit a check in your ATM, which is different from actually cashing it. Most banks need to ensure the check you deposit has the funds in that account to cover the amount of the check, so you likely won’t have access to the funds until at least one business day later. You’ll need a bank account to deposit a check.

Up Next: Every Type of Check Fraud You Have to Worry About