Where to Cash a Check Without Paying Fees

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Types of Checks

The type of check you have is important. Government-issued checks are best because they’re considered safe—less likely to bounce. That includes tax refunds, Social Security benefits, and other checks drawn on the U.S. Treasury. Local government checks are also somewhat “safe.” Personal checks—with information hand-written as opposed to computer-printed—are generally the riskiest type of check to cash. You might be able to cash these if they’re relatively small, but you’ll pay more.

No matter what type of check you have, verify that it’s legitimate. Sometimes government checks and cashier’s checks are fakes used for scams.

Do I Need an ID to Cash a Check?

How to cash a check without ID:

  • Deposit it into your account through an ATM at your bank
  • Take advantage of ATM check cashing if your bank offers it
  • Sign the check over to someone else

Most banks require your ID be presented before they cash a check, but there’s no standard list for what’s considered an acceptable form of ID. Check with your bank or the bank that issued the check to see if you have a document that they’ll accept as ID.

As a last resort, you can sign the check over to someone you trust and ask them to cash it for you. This creates a third-party check. However, if you choose this option, keep in mind that many banks will require verification that original payee authorized the signing over of the check, by having the original payee present and presenting their ID. Read about how to endorse a check to have a friend cash it for you.

7 Places Where You Can Cash a Personal Check

Even though it can be tough to cash a check when y

Even though it can be tough to cash a check when you don’t have a bank account, it’s not impossible. There are several companies that will let you cash a check, but you’ll probably have to pay a small fee for the service.

The good news is that you can walk out with cash in your pocket today.

Every check cashing place will have different rules and requirements for getting your check cashed. Some places will cash certain types of checks that others won’t, so be sure to call ahead before making a special trip.

1. The Bank listed on the check

If you’re trying to cash a check without a bank account, the easiest place to start is with the bank on the check you’re trying to cash.

To find this information, simply look above the memo line in the bottom left corner. Call a local branch to find out its check cashing policy.

It can easily verify the availability of funds by checking the account balance of the one who wrote you the check. Some banks will even give the account owner a phone call on the spot as a security measure to ensure there is no fraud taking place.

The bank listed on the check used to be the cheapest option to get your cash. Now, most of the big banks have started implementing fees to get your check cashed if you do not have an account with them. Most charge a flat rate or a percentage of the check amount up to a certain maximum.

Every bank will have different terms and requirements to cash checks that are tied to its institution. The most foolproof option is to call ahead and ask about its policy and fees.

You’ll need 1-2 forms of valid ID to confirm the check is yours, so make sure to bring a driver’s license, passport, or another government-issued ID card.

2. Walmart

Walmart is one of the most global and accessible check cashing places on this list. With over 5,000 locations, close to 90% of the population in the United States lives within 15 miles of a Walmart.

Walmart also has reasonable fees at $4 for a check under $1,000 and $8 for anything over that limit. This is right in line with the fees most of the major banks charge.

The biggest advantage of cashing your check at Walmart is that it has a number of options. For instance, you can get straight cash back or a reloadable Walmart Moneycard.

Walmart check cashing options:

  • Pre-printed checks
  • Payroll checks
  • Government checks
  • Tax checks
  • Cashiers’ checks
  • Insurance settlement checks
  • 401k and retirement distribution checks
  • MoneyGram money orders
  • Two party personal checks ($200 max)

Two Important things to be aware of:

  1. Walmart recently started cashing personal checks, but there is a $6 fee and a check limit of $200. If you’re looking to cash a personal check, you may want to look at other options.
  2. They have strict check limits. For most of the year, you can cash a check as long as it’s under $5,000. During tax season (Jan-April), this limit is raised to $7,500.

You’ll need to bring the check and a valid ID with you to the store.

3. Ace Check Cashing

A number of businesses operate solely for this purpose. If you don’t have access to a local bank, then a check cashing placemay be your only option.

Be careful though because these stores generally charge the highest fees of all the options on this list. Most check cashing stores have varying fees even among their own branches, so be sure to call and ask beforehand.

Before you cash your check at a store like this, make sure to ask if they require a credit check. Some stores will run a credit report before cashing the check because they are effectively giving you a short term loan until they are reimbursed with the funds from the issuing bank.

Ace Check Express is one of the most popular options, with physical locations in 24 states. It will cash almost any kind of check as long as you have a valid form of identification.

Ace Cash Express Options:

  • Personal checks
  • Payroll checks
  • Government checks
  • Tax refund checks
  • Insurance settlement checks
  • Money orders

The big advantage Ace Cash Express has over Walmart and other stores is that it will cash a personal check for you. It does not have fees listed on its website, so you’ll have to call a local store to get information on how much it will charge to cash your check.

4. Gas station

Gas stations used to be a much better option for cashing checks, but many places have stopped offering this service because of the high risk of fraud. Once the check is cashed, there is almost nothing the gas station can do to track down the person responsible.

However, 7-Eleven still cashes checks. Many locations have a Vcom kiosk. This is basically a touch-screen station where you can cash checks, pay bills, and handle other financial tasks.

The easier option is to download the Transact by 7-Eleven app. You can deposit checks with your phone. The cash gets added onto your reloadable 7-Eleven prepaid card, which functions just like a Debit MasterCard. Most online and retail stores will accept them.

The funds take about 48 hours to be loaded onto your card.

You can even use it to set up direct deposit from your employer and government benefit checks.

Other gas station check cashing options:

  • Pilot Flying J
  • TravelCenters of America

With gas stations and travel centers, not every location will be able to cash a check, so call ahead to find one that does.

5. Your employer

In some cases, your employer can actually cash personal checks for you.

There are specific rules and regulations on check cashing, so most employers avoid offering this service. However, some do. There is no daily limit to the dollar amount on the checks that an employer can cash as long as they are payroll checks.

Employers can also cash non-payroll checks as long as you don’t exceed $1,000 per day. Anything above that and they would be subject to banking regulations as an official “check casher.”

6. Grocery store

Grocery stores are one of the most dependable and convenient options for cashing a check. You probably already go to the store a couple of times a week, which means you don’t have to go out of your way if you have a store that offers this service.

Not every grocery chain does this, but here are some that do:

  • HEB
  • Kroger
  • Publix
  • Winn Dixie
  • Albertsons ($1,000 limit)
  • WinCo
  • Stop & Shop
  • Hyvee

Fees and check limits will vary from store to store, but all will require a form of government ID.

Most won’t let you cash personal checks because of fraud risk, but if you’re trying to cash a government check, payroll check, cashier’s check, or money order, then your odds are good.

Related: 35 Stores That Give Cash Back on Your Debit Card Purchases

7. Endorse your check to a friend or family member

If you don’t have a bank account of your own, then you could endorse the check to a friend or family member who does.

Endorsing a check is a simple two-step process:

  • You write “Pay to the order of [Name]”
  • Sign underneath

They can then cash the check for free and give the funds to you.

This obviously requires a deep level of trust and, in some cases, you both have to be present at the bank so they can prove that you are not being pressured or forced to do this. You’ll likely be asked to fill out a form to certify your endorsement.

Depending on how often you need to cash a check, it may be much easier for you to open a checking account of your own and avoid this workaround. The last thing you want is for money to get in the way of your relationships with friends and family.

Do Walgreens Cash Checks for Non-Customers?

Yes, they do! You don't need to be a customer of Walgreens to cash your check at their store. The process is quick and straightforward for all customers, regardless of whether or not you have an account there.

Where Can I Cash My Check Immediately?

The fastest way to cash a check without a bank account may be to take it to the check writer's bank. You could cash your check at the bank the check originates from the same day you receive it. Keep in mind, however, that the bank may charge a fee to do so. In some cases, the bank may expect you to open a new account in order to cash or deposit a check.

Find a check cashing store near you

Visit a local store to cash your checks—search by state, city or ZIP code to find your nearest Money Services.

Find a location

Are There Any Restrictions?

There are some restrictions on who can cash checks at Walgreens. In particular, you must be at least 18 years old and have a valid ID to cash a check.

What About Check-Cashing Services?

Check-cashing stores are another option for cashing checks. On the pro side, you don’t need a bank account to use one. Check-cashing services can also be useful if you don’t have access to any other ways to cash a check outlined above. They sometimes also offer other financial services, such as bill payments and money orders, which are a plus if you don’t have a bank account.

However, there are downsides—namely, the fees that you might pay, which can be quite high. Or, instead of charging a flat dollar amount, check-cashing services may charge a percentage of the check’s face value. So if you need to cash a $5,000 check, and the service charges a 10% fee, then you’re automatically handing over $500 to the check-cashing company.

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