Banking » Guides » How To Cash A Check Without A Bank Account?
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How To Cash A Check Without A Bank Account?

Check-cashing services such as OK Money, Cash Converters, and even Walmart allow people without a bank account to cash checks.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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Table Of Content

Key Takeaways

  • There are many services offer you to cash a check without a bank account such as traditional check cashing services, retailers stores such as Walmart, pharmacy and more.
  • The exact amount of the fee, check-cashing service providers charge might vary. For example, Walmart ranges from $4 to $8, while some other firms might charge a percentage fee, ranging from 2.5% to 4.9%.
  • The Check-Cashing services might be useful if you want to cash the check immediately, without having to wait for the standard 3 business days period. 

This is a comprehensive guide on everything you ought to know about cash cashing services.

Can You Cash A Check Without A Bank Account?

Yes, this is possible. Check-cashing services allow people without a bank account to cash checks. This way, anyone who might not be able to open a bank account for whatever reason can access cash easily.

FiSCA (Financial Service Centers of America) represents these check-cashing services. According to them, there are roughly 13,000 financial service centers in the USA. These financial centers carry out more than 300 million transactions per year. Altogether, they amount to around 106 billion dollars.

Check cashing services are an integral component of the expanding non-bank financial institution sector in the domain of finance. Lenders generally provide the service for a nominal charge since they are taking on a substantial risk by forwarding the cash before clearing the check.

Check cashing services provide services that are similar to that of a local bank. However, there are certain differences between the two (more on this later).

Where To Cash A Check Without A Bank Account?

These reputable lenders have various branches and offer check cashing services:

  • OK Money
  • Cash Converters
  • Cash Stop
  • Money3
  • Money Plus

The above-mentioned check cashing service providers usually have different criteria, but all of them typically honor the following check types:

  • Company checks
  • Business checks
  • Bank checks
  • Government checks
  • Account payee checks
  • Lottery and Gaming checks
  • Insurance checks
  • Benefit checks

If you require a swift turnaround time for your check, these check-cashing service providers can prove to be an expedient option for you.  However, it is very crucial that you select the right check cashing service provider.

Can You Cash a Check at Walmart?

Yes, this is possible. However, you should consider Walmart restrictions – Walmart's two-party personal checks are limited to $200, and all other checks of $5,000.

Walmart only allows the following types of checks:

  •  Pre-printed checks
  •  Payroll checks
  •  Government checks
  • Tax checks
  •  Cashiers’ checks
  •  Insurance settlement checks
  •  401(k), retirement disbursement checks
  • MoneyGram money orders
  • Two-party personal checks

Additional Ways  To Cash A Check Without A Bank Account

The following are some of the non-bank alternatives to check cashing:

Prepaid Card

A few of the prepaid cards let you deposit a check on the card. You can then send the check’s amount from the prepaid card.

It is important to note, however, that this is not free of cost option. You will have to pay to initialize the prepaid card, and additionally, there might also be a maintenance cost (monthly). 

Retailers

Some of the pharmacy chains include CVS Pharmacy, grocery stores, and popular retailers such as Walmart also cash money orders and checks. This is a very cost-effective option as their fee is generally less than 10 dollars .

Payday Loan

If you need access to cash straight away, a payday loan is a very effective alternative to check to cash. Payday loans are essentially short-term loans and present a quick turnaround on cash if required. It is important, however, to be aware of the fact that payday loans are generally high-cost and have to be paid back within a very short period of time.

Things To Consider When Cashing A Check Without A Bank Account

These are a couple of things you should keep in mind when evaluating your options:

  • Time of Turnaround: You must check how swiftly you can expect to receive the money. After all, this is often the primary reason people select check cashing services. Some lenders might be able to provide you the cash within a mere couple of minutes, while other providers might take longer than that.
  • Restrictions: Some check-cashing providers might have restrictions as to what type of checks they will cash, whether they be personal, government, business, or another type. These lenders are also likely to have thresholds on the check amount they can cash. Before you apply, make sure you check these restrictions.
  • Charges and fees: All of the check cashing lenders will most probably charge you a fee (be sure to ask the provider what their fee is before you select them!). Some providers might charge you a percentage of the amount on the check, while others might charge you a flat fee.

How Do Non-Bank Check-Cashing Services Work?

If you have a check that you need to clear immediately and need the cash urgently, check cashing services provide you the option of paying an extra fee to bypass the standard 3-day waiting period (three business days).

The waiting period is there because a check acts in the capacity of written instructions between 2 financial establishments. Moreover, the waiting period allows both establishments adequate time to ensure that the payment is correctly made.

Lenders or providers who offer check cashing services are forwarding cash to the customer with zero guarantees that the check will be honored. A check can be dishonored for several reasons, and a very common one is that there are inadequate funds in the payer’s bank account.

Check cashing lenders will forward you the cash for a fee, which is generally a percentage of the amount on the cheque, as they wait for the clearing of the check.

Charges of Check Cashing Services

Generally, check cashing services to charge customers a percentage of the check’s value. This percentage can vary with every provider. (Hence, before you sign the dotted line, make sure you first read the fine print).

For instance, Walmart charges 8 dollars for cash checks that amount to more than 1000 dollars and 4 dollars for checks up to 1000 dollars. While this might not seem like a substantial cut (just 0.8 percent or 0.4 percent of your total check’s value), other check-cashing service providers might charge you more.

As a case to point, Amscot Check Cashing charges a fee of up to 2.5 percent for tax refund checks, 4.5 percent for handwritten checks, and up to 2.9 percent of the number of government checks.The following are some of the alternatives to check cashing services

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How Does Cashing A Check Without A Bank Account Differs?

As stated above, check cashing services are very similar to that of a local bank but differ in certain ways.

  • Fewer services – Compared to banks, check cashing services provide fewer services, such as money orders, check cashing, electronic bill payments, payday loans, and ATM access services. Furthermore, check cashing services also charge fees for their rendered services. In contrast, credit unions or conventional banks generally do not charge bank account holders for services such as ATM access or check to cash.
  • No extra Charges – Moreover, it is a one-and-done deal when you use a check-cashing service. Unlike your bank’s monthly fees, your transaction is complete once you cash your check at a check-cashing service. Hence, you do not need to worry about recurring charges, your account balance, or hidden costs of any kind.
  • Takes less time – Another difference between check cashing services and banks is that check cashing services can clear a check within a matter of minutes, whereas checks generally take three business days to clear with banks.

Pros and Cons of Non Bank Check Cashing Services

Some of the common benefits of using check-cashing services to cash your check are as follows:

Check cashing services offer people the ability to secure a loan and cash a check that they might not be able to do so otherwise (owing to lack of access).

The fact that it does not build your credit history is a big downside of making use of a check-cashing service. This can be very problematic down the road for individuals who already find themselves underbanked and are struggling financially.

For instance, these people might never be able to get a real bank account, a LOC (Line of Credit) or a traditional loan if they do not have a credit history. Instead, they might be stuck in a continuous cycle of making use of nonconventional financial services and paying a lot of money in fees for an indefinite period of time.

Furthermore, Check cashing services can be incredibly helpful for people living on one paycheck to the next: they allow the cash to become available almost instantly.

This is also a huge help in a financial crisis, as it often takes at least 1-2 business days for check clearing with your local bank. You do not have to wait that long when using a check-cashing service.

On the flip side, check cashing services has certain disadvantages as well.

Often, check cashing services charge you outrageously high fees that can drain off the funds you may otherwise need to spend somewhere else (for example, on food, transportation and rent). This continues the poverty cycle.

This is a brief summary of the pros and cons of check-cashing services.

ProsCons
In contrast to cashing a check at a local bank, the money is available almost instantly when using a check-cashing service.Check cashing services charge very high fees
Can be very helpful lest an emergency arisesDoes not build a credit history
Offers financial services to those people who might not have access to the said services otherwise.It can leave you stuck in a cycle of utilizing nonconventional financial services.

24 Hour Check Cashing: Is it possible?

24-hour check-cashing services offer their services round the clock. This is extremely useful if you want to cash your check urgently at 3 in the morning! The good news is that most checks cashing services are generally open 24 hours a day.

Check cashing services that are open 24 hours a day and seven days a week make it easy for people to access their money whenever they require it.

This option is also ideal for freelancers, shift workers, or anyone else who wants to get their cash immediately.

All you have to do is walk in the provider’s office at any time of the day you want, present your check with a valid photo ID, and get your cash without any delay. It is that simple!

Conclusion

To summarize, as opposed to banks and other financial institutions, check cashing services are a very convenient means of cashing your check quickly and obtaining instant cash.

That said, you should not use a check-cashing service as a frequent means of obtaining cash.  It is time that you assess your financial situation and begins to build your credit score by opening a savings account, checking account, or procuring a loan.

Picture of Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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