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Finding a reliable place to cash personal checks—aside from a range of dedicated check-cashing centers—can sometimes be challenging. However, there are many companies and stores other than banks to save you from the hassle of running around looking for places to get your check cashed!
In this article, I will discuss the best places to cash personal checks, the procedures, fees, benefits or drawbacks of each, and other helpful details.
Read on to learn more!
Table of Contents
13 Top Locations/Companies/Areas for Cashing Checks
Let’s take a look at the 13 top locations, companies, and areas for cashing checks.
1. Your Bank
The most obvious and best way to cash a check is with your bank.
Since you have a banking relationship with them, they will cash or deposit checks into your account, charging no fee. Also, they will give you instant access to it.
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The added benefit here is if you don’t feel like going to your local branch, most banks now offer mobile deposits as well. Download your bank’s app, take a picture of both the front and back of the check and submit it.
Depending on the amount, the money will be made available immediately or in a few business days.
2. Issuing Bank
If you don’t have a bank account, you can take the check to the bank it was issued from and cash it there.
For instance, if your friend gave you a personal check and they bank with Wells Fargo, you can visit its local branch and present the check to be cashed. You will need to bring a valid photo ID with you.
Most banks charge a fee for this service, so you will have to check with them to see what their check cashing fee is.
Many people who are unbanked rely on Walmart’s check-cashing services.
They charge a fee of $4 per check up to $1,000 and $8 for each check greater than $1,000. The daily check cashing limit is $5,000 from May through December and is raised to $7,500 for January through April to help people who get money around the holidays and tax refunds.
Walmart limits the amount for two-party personal checks as well, and it is $200 at the moment; find more details here.
You can get cash or have the money put onto a Walmart MoneyCard. While it is a nice feature, there is a reload fee charged when adding money. However, this fee is waived for government checks and some payroll company checks.
4. Gas Stations
You wouldn’t think to cash a check at a gas station, would you? I certainly wouldn’t, but it is possible!
The catch is most gas stations no longer offer this service. The ones that do tend to be the travel centers you see dotted along the interstate. Since not all of these provide this service, you will have to call ahead.
The fees vary by location, so you will have to verify it too.
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Additionally, you will need to know the kinds of checks they cash. Some will cash personal checks, and others will only cash government and payroll checks. While you are verifying this, ask about the free check cashing. In some cases, they will waive the fee if you buy fuel within a certain amount of time after cashing your check.
5. Grocery Store
Many grocery stores offer money order and check-cashing services.
However, if your local store offers money orders, it doesn’t mean it will cash checks too.
Also, they typically take pre-printed checks only, such as government, payroll, and cashier checks. The fees vary by store and can be a flat dollar amount or a percentage of the value of the check. Make sure to ask if there are ways to waive this fee.
Some grocery stores will not charge a fee if you put the money onto a store gift card.
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One of the most convenient options is Transact by 7-11. To cash your checks, download the app and take a picture of it.
Your money will be available to you within 48 hours and is deposited onto a reloadable 7-11 prepaid card. It’s a debit card and can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted.
As there are over 9,500 7-Eleven stores throughout the United States, chances are there is one near you!
7. Convenience Store
Many convenience stores also cash checks and money orders.
This can be great for those who do not have a bank account or need to deposit their check right away. The rates vary by location but tend to be $0.50 per $100 cashed up to as much as $20 depending on the amount of your check and where you live.
However, many larger chains, such as Wawa and QuikTrip, do not offer check-cashing services, or they may cash payroll checks only.
8. Endorse to a Friend
Another option to cash a personal check is by endorsing it over to your friend.
This is known as a third-party check since you sign it over to a third party.
If you do this, the person you sign it over to can take the endorsed check and cash it themselves at their bank. This is definitely one of those cases where you need a little trust in your relationship, as they now have the legal right to the money. If you trust them, this could be a simple solution!
Note: Some banks will not cash third-party checks, and others that do will require you to be at the bank with your friend.
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In some cases, you might have to complete a form as well.
The bottom line is if you plan on choosing this option, call the bank ahead of time, so you know what to expect.
9. Check-Cashing Store
These aren’t as popular as the other methods, but they are an option nonetheless.
There are many check-cashing stores all over the country, such as Money Mart, Ace Cash Express, and Check Into Cash Stores.
The fee is a percent of the amount of the check and varies by state. Most are between 2% and 3%, which is a lot of money for higher-value checks. For example, if you cash a payroll check of $1,500, the 3% fee is $45.
This should be a last resort if you don’t have a checking account or any other option in your area because of the high fees.
10. Use PayPal
While most people are familiar with PayPal for sending money electronically, many don’t know you can cash checks, too, using their mobile deposit feature.
If you have a PayPal account, choose the Cash a Check feature. Take a picture of your check, and the money will be deposited into your account.
You can then use a PayPal Cash Card, which is a debit card, to spend the money or keep the cash in your account.
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If you cash a payroll check or a government-issued check, like a tax refund check, the fee would be 1% with a minimum fee of $5. If you cash other types of checks, the fee would be 5%, with a minimum fee of $5.
11. Use a Check-Cashing App
There are a number of check-cashing apps, like the Ingo Money App, available as alternatives to PayPal.
You’ll need to take a picture of the front and back of your check, and the funds will be deposited into your account within 24 hours.
The fees for these programs vary from free to $25 per transaction, depending on how much money you need to cash.
12. Prepaid Debit Cards
This is a newer option that many banks have recently begun rolling out. They know many Americans are underbanked or don’t use a traditional bank, so they now offer prepaid card accounts.
These are basically bare-bones checking accounts that charge a monthly fee, usually around $5 a month.
The benefit is you can use the mobile deposit for your checks or deposit checks at a branch-owned ATM machine. When the check clears, the money will be loaded onto a prepaid debit card for you.
13. Your Employer
Did you know your employer can cash checks for you? While they can, most don’t because of the strict regulations.
However, if your employer does, this is a great way to avoid the fees that many other places charge. Just note that the only type of check your employer might cash is government-issued checks and not personal checks.
If they do cash personal checks, there will be a limit on the value of it, usually less than $1,000.
Final Thoughts: Top Check-Cashing Stores
When cashing personal checks at these locations, be mindful of the fees they charge. Only a few of these places charge low fees, but opening a bank account would help you avoid these charges.
If you have any questions or concerns, reach out at email@example.com. Alternatively, you can find MoneySmartGuides on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
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