From getting fast access to a birthday check to turning that tax refund check into cash, there are a number of reasons why you might need to cash a check from your phone. But not all banks support mobile check deposits, and not everyone uses a bank to manage their money.
Keep reading to find out how to cash checks without using a bank.
What Is Check Cashing?
When a person or business pays someone by check, the recipient must convert the paper check to cash in order to use the funds. Check cashing is the process by which that happens. Traditionally, checks have been cashed at banks, but a new generation of mobile apps let you load checks to an online account or a credit or debit card.
5 Best Apps for Cashing Checks
If you need to cash a check on the go, doing so from your mobile phone is a fast and easy option. Here are the best apps for cashing checks:
|Best Check-Cashing Apps|
|Ingo Money App||2% to 5% or a flat fee of $5 depending on check type and face value for expedited check loading||Transferring money to an Amazon gift card or PayPal account|
|ACE Mobile Loads||2% to 5% depending on type of check and face value, or $5, whichever is more, for expedited check loading||Transferring money to a PayPal or bank account|
|Brink’s Prepaid Mobile App||2% to 5% or a flat fee of $5, whichever is more, for expedited check loading||Transferring money to family and friends|
|Lodefast Check Cashing||3% to 5% for non-expedited check loading||Cashing company checks|
|PayPal||1% to 5% for expedited check loading, $5 minimum fee||Managing money held in a PayPal account|
1. Ingo Money App
How it works: Ingo Money App is a favorite choice for payroll check cashing. When you sign up, you must link at least one debit card, prepaid card, credit card or PayPal account to your user profile. Ingo Money features automatic image capture, so you simply take a picture of the front and back of your check and confirm the amount.
You can use Ingo to cash $5 to $5,000 checks. Most are approved within a few minutes, and the money can hit your linked bank account or debit card immediately after that for a fee or within 10 days at no charge. You can also direct your money into a PayPal account, MoneyGram or Amazon gift card, according to the Ingo website.
What it costs: For immediate payments under its standard pricing plan, Ingo charges a 2% fee for cashing preprinted payroll and government checks over $250 and a flat fee of $5 for payroll and government checks for $250 or less. You’ll pay 5% for other types of checks over $100 and a flat fee of $5 for other checks and money orders with values of $100 or less.
The preferred pricing plan, available to customers who’ve cashed at least six checks within the last 90 days, offers discounted rates.
Best used for: Transferring money to an Amazon gift card, PayPal account or credit card account
Find Out: How To Cash a Check
2. ACE Mobile Loads
How it works: Why cash your checks at a store when the ACE Mobile Loads app, powered by Ingo Money, lets you load funds from a check directly onto an ACE Elite prepaid debit card? Allowable check amounts range from $5 to $2,500. Just sign in to your ACE Mobile Loads app, tap “Deposit Check Funds” and submit your check by taking a picture of it with your phone.
What it costs: ACE Mobile Loads’ fees for immediate funding are the same as Ingo Money’s. Alternatively, you can get your funds in 10 days for free if your check is approved and isn’t returned unpaid during those 10 days, according to Ingo Money.
Best used for: Transferring money to a PayPal account or bank account
Other Options: Where Can I Cash a Check?
3. Brink’s Prepaid Mobile App
How it works: The Brink’s Prepaid Mobile App offers mobile check cashing to a prepaid Mastercard debit card with many of the same benefits as bank debit cards. You add funds by loading a check, scheduling direct deposits or transferring money from another Brink’s card or a bank account.
To cash a check, just follow the app’s instructions for taking photos of the front and back of the check and submitting the request.
What it costs: Fees vary based on the type of membership plan you choose and the type of transaction you initiate using your card. Fees for expedited check loading are imposed by a third party, and they’re similar to those charged by Ingo apps: 2% or $5, whichever is greater, for immediate loading of preprinted government or payroll checks, and 5% or $5, whichever is greater, for other types of checks.
Best used for: Transferring money to family and friends
4. Lodefast Check Cashing
How it works: Lodestar Financial Group’s mobile app allows you to cash your check from your phone and transfer money to your bank account, debit card or credit card. It works with most types of checks, including handwritten ones. Lodefast approves most checks within an hour and processes the funds transfer shortly after that, but linking an Akimbo Prepaid MasterCard to your account speeds up the process.
What it costs: Lodefast charges 3% to 5% of the check amount, depending on how risky the check is, for immediate access to funds. Automated clearing house transfers are free, but the funds could take up to 10 days to hit your account.
Best used for: Cashing company checks
Check Out: An Illustrated Guide To Reading a Check
How it works: The PayPal app has a check-cashing feature that lets you deposit checks into your PayPal Cash Plus account. The PayPal Cash Plus account lets users carry and manage a balance in their personal PayPal account.
What it costs: The service is free with the 10-day option. For immediate access to your funds, PayPal charges 1% for preprinted government and payroll checks and 5% for other checks. The minimum fee is $5 per check.
Best used for: Managing money held in a PayPal account
Which App Is Best? You Decide
Take some time to digest these options, but ultimately, make a decision based on your specific financial needs. By taking the time to find the right check-cashing app now, you might save yourself a lot of hassle down the road.
Keep reading to see how long it takes for major banks and retailers to clear or cash a check.
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