cash a personal check

18+ Easy Ways to Cash a Personal Check When You Don’t Have a Bank Account

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In today’s world, it is becoming less and less common to get paid by check. However, until we are completely reliant on the digital world of direct deposit, PayPal, Venmo, and the like, you may still need to find somewhere to cash a personal check.

 

Top Money Tip: The absolute best place to cash a check for free is going to be a bank.

If you don’t have a bank account yet, you’ll want to check out CIT bank which is paying one of the nation’s highest rates up to 1.55% APR which is 22x the national average!

Beyond the Bank

However, some may not have access to a banking system. In fact, did you know a full 39% of the world’s population – and over 7% of Americans – do not have access to a bank account?

Therefore, this makes cashing a check very difficult for some. In fact, many banks aren’t willing to cash a check for you if you don’t have a bank account because it makes it difficult to track you down if the check is returned invalid.

While it can be tough to cash a check without a bank account, there are several companies who will (usually for a fee) happily cash your check and give you money on the spot.

Each company’s check cashing services vary, and the rules and regulations for getting your money vary as well.

Here we’ll outline some of the more well-known places where you can cash a personal check without a bank account and get quick access to the money you deserve.

1. Walmart

These days you can find a Walmart location – or several – in almost any city. Walmart usually has great prices on everything – including check cashing. They charge just $3 to cash a check with a value of under $1,000. For checks with values of $1,000 and over, they charge a $6 check cashing fee.

When you cash a check at Walmart you can get the actual cash amount or a Walmart Moneycard for that amount – the choice is yours.

Types of Checks They’ll Cash

Walmart will cash a variety of different types of checks including:

  • Payroll checks
  • Government checks
  • Tax checks
  • Cashiers checks
  • Insurance settlement checks
  • 401k and other retirement distribution checks
  • MoneyGram money orders that were purchased at a Walmart location

Note: The monetary limit for each check they’ll cash is $5,000, and $7,500 during tax season (January through April). Also, some Walmart check cashing rules are subject to change based on the state’s individual laws and regulations.

Read more about Walmart’s check cashing services here.

2. Regions Bank Branch Locations

Regions Bank has many bank locations throughout the United States where they’ll offer their check cashing services. They will charge you between 1% and 5% of the value of the check they cash for you, depending on the type of check.

Types of Checks They’ll Cash

Regions will cash a variety of checks – even checks that aren’t drawn on Regions Bank. Some of the types of checks they’ll cash include:

  • Government checks
  • Payroll checks
  • Handwritten two-party consumer and business checks
  • Money orders

Read more about cashing your checks at Regions Bank or finding a Regions bank location here.

3. The Issuing Bank or Credit Union

In most cases you can cash a check at the bank the check was issued by. You can find this information on the check itself. So, if the check has Wells Fargo listed as its maker, you can often cash it by going into any Wells Fargo branch location.

Also, while cashing a check at the issuing bank doesn’t usually carry a fee (although some banks do charge for check cashing if you don’t have a checking or savings account with them), there can be other restrictions such as hold times.

Each bank has varying terms and conditions for cashing checks, even if those checks are issued by them.

Note: You will need a valid photo ID such as a government issued identification card, a state driver’s license or a passport. Other types of IDs may be accepted as well.

4. Your Local Grocery Store

Grocery stores all over the country offer check cashing services for people. The type of checks your local grocery store will cash can vary, but most all grocery stores that offer check cashing services will cash government-issued checks and payroll checks from companies in their area.

Fees will vary as well depending on the store. While you may not find available check cashing services at smaller mom-and pop type grocery stores, you can usually find them at bigger stores.

Here are some of the bigger grocery store chains that offer check cashing services (services may vary by location).

Kroger

Kroger stores will cash electronically signed checks such as payroll checks and government issued checks up to $5,000. They’ll also consider other business checks and insurance checks, but won’t cash anything handwritten.

Note: Kroger owns a variety of other grocery store names around the U.S., including Fred Meyer, Fry’s Food and King Soopers. The same check cashing policies apply to these stores as well, in most instances.

Go here to find a Kroger’s (or Kroger-owned) store near you.

Publix

Publix stores are located throughout the East Coast including Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and more. According to their website, Publix will cash payroll checks as well as personal checks.

Their website doesn’t say anything about cashing government issued checks at all. They sell money orders but will not cash them. Go here to find a Publix location near you.

Walmart

We referenced this above for the most part, but Walmart will cash payroll checks as well as government checks, cashier’s checks and others. Go here to find a Walmart location near you.

Albertson’s

Albertson’s stores are located in states throughout the United States, including Colorado, Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming.

They will generally cash most electronically signed checks such as payroll checks and government checks, but won’t cash personal checks. The maximum size check amount they’ll cash is $1,000.

Go here to find an Albertson’s location near you.

Winn Dixie

Winn Dixie has locations throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississipi. They have a pretty limited check cashing policy. Checks that are payroll checks no more than $500 may be cashed at certain locations, so you’ll have to visit or call an individual store to find out more.

Go here to find a Winn Dixie location near you.

WinCo

WinCo stores are located primarily on the West Coast including California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. They also have a few stores in Oklahoma and Texas.

WinCo focuses mostly on cashing payroll checks, but services can vary depending on location. Call or visit your local store to find out more. Go here to find a WinCo location near you.

Stop and Shop

Stop and Shop stores are located primarily in the Northeastern United States. Most store locations will cash government checks and payroll checks, although the check limit amount can vary by store.

Go here to find a Stop and Shop location near you.

HyVee

HyVee grocery stores are located primarily in the Midwest area, with stores located in Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Check cashing services, limits and fees vary depending on the store location. Go here to find a HyVee store near you.

Food City

Food City locations are also available in various places in the U.S., including Arizona and Kentucky. As with Albertson’s, they generally will cash electronically signed checks such as payroll checks and government checks.

They also have a list of approved rebate checks they’ll cash.Maximum check amount is $1,000. Go here to find a Food City location near you.

You’ll likely need a government ID to cash checks at your local grocery store, and you should expect to pay some type of a fee as well.

Related Post: The Magical Third Paycheck

Check Cashing Businesses

There are also a myriad of check cashing businesses that will cash a check for you – for a fee. The fees they charge and the types of checks they cash vary with each individual company, and sometimes with each individual location.

Here is some information on some of the more popular check cashing stores around the United States.

5. Ace Cash Express

Ace Cash Express says they’ll cash most any check as long as you bring it in with a valid photo ID such as a government issued driver’s license or other ID. Some of the types of checks they’ll cash include:

  • Payroll checks
  • Insurance settlement checks
  • Money orders
  • Personal checks
  • Checks made payable to a company
  • Income tax refund checks
  • Government checks

And others. They also state they’ll cash checks of any amount, however there is a disclaimer stating that the checks they cash are subject to terms and conditions approval. Fees on check cashing services aren’t listed directly on their website.

In order to find out what they’ll charge to cash a specific check you’ll need to visit a store location.

Read more about cashing checks at Ace Cash Express here.

6. The Check Cashing Store

The Check Cashing Store is available to Floridians only at the moment. Information on their website regarding their services is limited, but it does state that they cash payroll checks, government issued checks, personal checks (they’ll be verified by a call to the issuing bank), insurance checks, small business checks and money orders.

Check out The Check Cashing Store’s website for more information on locations and the services they offer, as well as potential fees they’ll charge for cashing your checks.

7. Friendly Check Cashing

Friendly Check Cashing stores are available largely in the North Carolina area. The types of checks they’ll cash include:

  • Payroll checks
  • Government issued checks
  • Insurance checks
  • 401k checks
  • Cashier’s checks
  • Money orders
  • Tax refund checks
  • Personal checks
  • Checks made out to a business

And possibly more. One thing that might be not so friendly about Friendly Check Cashing services is their fee – as much as 10% at many locations. Yikes. You’ll need to have a valid photo ID to cash your check there as well, although the website doesn’t indicate what qualifies as valid.

For more information about Friendly Check Cashing, check out their website here.

8. Check Into Cash

According to their website, Check into Cash has more than 1,000 retail locations for check cashing and other monetary services. Check into Cash store locations cash many varying kinds of checks including:

  • Printed or handwritten payroll checks
  • Government checks
  • Tax refund checks
  • Some personal checks
  • Cashier’s checks
  • Money orders
  • Insurance checks

And more. Check limits as well as fees charged vary by location. Go here to find a Check into Cash location near you.

10. PLS Check Cashing

PLS Check Cashing stores are available throughout the United States. You can find stores in Arizona, Indiana, New York, Oklahoma, California, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio and Wisconsin.

According to their website, they cash a number of different types of checks including:

  • Payroll checks
  • Personal checks
  • Government checks
  •  Out-of-State checks
  • Money orders

And more. One nice thing about PLS Check Cashing is that they have lower fees for certain types of checks. Their website indicates that they’ll only charge 1% plus $1 for recurring in-state payroll checks and government checks up to $1500.

Rates for cashing other types of checks, according to their site, will vary based on check type and other risk factors. Individual store sites can give you more information on cashing other types of checks through PLS.

10. The Money Mart

The Money Mart has dozens of locations throughout California, Arizona and some in other states as well. They cash a variety of different types of checks such as:

  • Payroll
  • Government
  • Small business
  • Personal
  • Insurance checks
  • Money orders

And more. Their check cashing fees aren’t listed on their website, so you’ll have to call or visit a store location to find out more.

11. Advance Financial

Advance Financial has branch locations for check cashing throughout Tennessee, currently serving over 80 locations. Their website says they cash all types of checks, including:

  • Personal checks
  • Payroll checks
  • Insurance checks
  • Cashier’s checks
  • Government checks
  • Money orders

And more. And they’ll give you cash on the spot according to their advertising. Their fees are regulated by the state of Tennessee and start at 1%.

It looks like the fees currently top out at 10%, although there is a minimum fee charge for checks as well, so that could increase your fee depending on the dollar amount of the check you’re cashing with them.

12. Check Smart

Check Smart is a service of Community Choice Financial. You can find locations throughout California. They cash a variety of check types including:

  • Payroll checks
  • Personal checks
  • Refund checks
  • Government checks

And more in some cases, depending on the type of check. They don’t specify fee amounts, but you can call or stop in to find out more. Another bonus feature with these guys is that some of the stores are open 24 hours. Since banks generally run limited business hours, this could be a benefit to many people.

13. Speedy Cash

Speedy Cash has locations throughout the United States. They specialize in loans but offer check cashing services at many of their stores as well. Their website didn’t indicate which branch locations offer check cashing services, so you’ll probably need to call or stop into a location near you to find out more.

The types of checks they cash include:

  • Payroll checks
  • Government checks
  • Money orders
  • Personal checks
  • Cashier’s checks

And possibly other types of checks. Their website states they cash checks in any amount. They’re not clear about fees, simply because they do business in a variety of states and each state generally has its own individual rules about how much a check cashing service company can charge in terms of fees.

You’ll have to go to your nearby Speedy Cash location or call them directly to find out more.

14. United Check Cashing

United Check Cashing locations are centered primarily around the East Coast in states such as Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware, however they also have locations in other states around the country including Texas, Michigan, Ohio and Florida.

The types of checks they cash include:

  • Payroll checks
  • Government issued benefits checks
  • Insurance checks
  • Business & commercial checks
  • Tax refunds
  • Rebate checks

And possibly more depending on the type of check. They’ll also consider cashing checks made payable to your business according to their website.

Fees vary by state, so you need to call individual locations for more information on fees.

15. Check ‘N Go

Check ‘N Go currently has locations in several states, including Ohio, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and more.

Their website isn’t clear about what types of checks they cash, and as usual they don’t share fee amounts since fee rules and regulations vary by state.

You do need a non-expired, government issued identification card of some sort to cash checks with them; this was stated clearly on their website.

16. Community Financial

Community Financial has locations in New York, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. Some locations may go by other names such as CFSC, Your Exchange, Money Express or others.

Their website isn’t real clear about all of the different types of checks they might cash, but they do mention government benefit checks, tax refund checks and payroll checks.

I would stop into or call a location near you to find out more about what types of checks they might cash since many check cashing rules are determined by each location’s state.

17. Mr. Payroll

Despite the name, Mr. Payroll check cashing stores cash more than just payroll checks. They have locations in several states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, New Mexico Colorado, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and more.

The types of checks you can cash at Mr. Payroll locations include:

  • Payroll checks
  • Government tax refund or other checks
  • Insurance checks
  • Two-party checks
  • Cashier’s checks
  • Money orders
  • 401(k) checks

And more. Fees vary according to state and location; stop in or call for more information.

18. Pay-O-Matic

Pay-O-Matic check cashing stores are located in the state of New York only, however they have dozens of locations serving many areas in and around New York City. Some of the types of checks they’ll cash include:

  • Payroll checks
  • Government issued checks
  • Insurance checks
  • Income tax checks
  • Lawyer’s checks
  • Union checks

As of this writing, their check cashing fee is 2.03%. The website says that if you are unsure if they’ll cash your check you can bring it into any location for more information.

Some Tips for Cashing Checks at Check Cashing Stores and Other Non-Bank Entities

When cashing a check at somewhere other than your own bank, it’s important to keep some things in mind so that you are prepared for what may occur. Here are some of the more common facts about cashing a check outside of your own personal bank.

You’ll Likely Pay a Fee

Whenever you go to cash a check at a facility that’s not a traditional bank, and even sometimes at banks, you can expect to pay a fee. That fee will vary based on the company’s individual regulations and the regulations of the state the store is located in.

Usually check cashing facilities will charge a percentage of the check dollar amount as the fee, but not always. Each store’s website and/or location can give you more info about the types of fees they charge for check cashing.

You’ll Need Identification

I’ve never heard of a check cashing facility that will cash a check without some sort of ID. They may exist, but it’s certainly not the norm. Although many of the websites listed here don’t specify what types of IDs they will accept, most require some sort of government issued ID such as a driver’s license, state identification card or passport.

The Store May Have a Maximum Check Cashing Dollar Amount

Many stores with check cashing services have maximum dollar amounts on the checks they’ll cash. Again, those limits will vary depending on the store location so you’ll want to call or stop in for more information.

Opening a Bank Account

If you want to avoid fees and limits on the types of checks and amounts of checks you want to cash, your best bet is to open your own checking account.

Know that most banks will require that you have a clean (or at least cleaned up) banking history with no unpaid charge-offs from previously held bank accounts.

Some banks are more lenient than others about who they allow to open checking and savings accounts, so check around at different banking companies if one turns you down.

Although check cashing places are convenient, you’ll keep more of your own money in your pocket if you can avoid paying fees by having your own bank checking or savings account.

If you are going to open a checking or savings account, it is worth it to look over which banks have the best savings rates. For example, some of the bigger banks (Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase) have savings yields that are 22x lower than banks like CIT Bank and they all offer the same FDIC deposit insurance.

 

 

For a full list of the best banks and credit unions today, see the rankings from Nerd Wallet here.

 


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8 replies
  1. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    This article is called “Where to cash a personal check besides the bank” and it tells you everything but. So on this respect the article is completely useless.

    Reply
  2. Hazel Owens
    Hazel Owens says:

    That’s good to know that you can cash your check at a check cashing business but that there will be a fee which will change depending on the company or location, along with what types of the checks they cash. My son just got a local job but he doesn’t have a bank account and I don’t want to get him one at the moment since he’ll end up using a credit card and spending too much. I’ll have to find a check cashing service near us we can go to and he can get money so he can learn to manage it since he’ll do better if he can actually see it before he gets a bank account.

    Reply
  3. Al
    Al says:

    Its incredible how many people read what they want to read and ignore the rest but then claim, “It doesn’t say where… It tells you everything but… It says nothing about personal checks… How can you cash a personal check that isn’t handwritten…” My gosh. How have you made it this far in life and haven’t killed yourself already? Not only was the aforementioned information credible and informative but it listed COUNTLESS OPTIONS and check types. You know… it’s like it went in one ear and out the other. Kind of like “SELECTIVE HEARING”. You hear what you want to hear. Ugh… “Two Party Checks” are “Personal Checks”. ACE CASH EXPRESS was one place. Friendly Check Cashing was another business that’ll cash personal checks. PLS Check Cashing was another location. READ FOLKS… JUST READ. STOP RELYING ON SOMEONE TO HOLD YOUR HAND! I SUPPOSE YOU’LL WANT SOMEONE TO SPOON FED YOU TOO… RIGHT? SMH Its remarkable… it truly is. You know, there’s a saying that goes like this: “If you keep your mouth shut, people won’t know what you don’t know. But when you open your mouth, EVERYONE knows what you don’t know. If you’re stupid but kept quiet, no one would EVER KNOW THAT YOU’RE STUPID. It’s only when you start talking that it becomes OBVIOUS… HOW STUPID YOU REALLY ARE!” My child is in the 5th grade and is 10 years old. I gave him a task, (I told him that I needed to cash a personal check, and I showed him just what a personal check looked like), I just wanted to see if he could, not only understand what he was reading, but to also see if he would tell me where to go. Within 3-5 minutes, he gave me the first 3 locations that I mentioned above. That’s a child, you’re an adult… how is that he understood what some adults couldn’t? “ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER?”

    Reply
    • Chris Peach
      Chris Peach says:

      As you pointed out, I think she just misunderstood. To clarify it nicely for everyone, this is how to cash a check WITHOUT HOLDING A BANK ACCOUNT. Some banks will not do it if you don’t have an account there. These are ways you can cash a check without holding a bank account. The checks could be either computer generated or handwritten.

      Reply

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