How to Cash a Check

Cashing a check in person

How to Cash a Check

A comprehensive resource for all things check-related

As simple as it sounds, cashing checks can actually be difficult for a lot of us. If you have questions or are confused regarding checks in general, you’re in the right place. Continue reading and discover how you can master checks like a pro in no time. You’ll learn how to cash a check, deposit a check, and write a check.  

Tis the season for love, laughter, gifts, and checks from nana!  

Unfortunately, not all of us are seasoned check cashers. There’s no class in high school that teaches us how to handle checks. So, it’s normal if we often struggle to accomplish this seemingly simple task.  

This season, we want you to handle your checks with confidence. Learn: 

  • How to write a check  
  • How to cash a check  
  • How to deposit a check  

and more!  

How to write a check

First things first, do you know how to write a check? There’s no shame in not knowing how because let’s face it, a lot of us are more accustomed to digital transactions. Writing checks isn’t as popular as it used to be back in the day.  

Graph of google search trends for how to write a shake

Info from Google Trends  

Searches for “how to write a check” have nearly tripled over just 16 years. Today, fewer and fewer people never had the chance to learn. 

In fact, there has been a decline in the use of checks since the year 2000. However, checks are still in circulation, and we haven’t deemed them obsolete yet. That’s why it is a handy skill to know how to write a check. 

The following gif illustrates how to write a check: 

Gif of steps of writing a check

How to cash a check. What are the steps to cash a check?

Another common question people are asking is “how to cash a check”  

graph of google search trends for how to cash a check

Info from Google Trends   

This search has more than doubled since 2004.  

Depending on where you choose to cash your checks, there are a few steps to complete the task. The following graphics give a step-by-step play of cashing checks at a bank. 

Signing a check to cash at a bank
Provide your ID when cashing a check
How to cash a check at the bank step 2

Where to cash a check?

What do you do when you receive a paper check? You go cash it so that you can access the money. But where do you go to cash checks? There are several places that offer check-cashing services like: 

  1. Retailers and grocery stores: 

Local retail and grocery stores may offer check cashing services. They’re spread all over the country and you can simply walk into a Walmart, Kmart, or most local grocery store chains to cash your checks. Usually there are fees associated with check cashing services at retailers and grocery stores. 

  1. Banks and credit unions: 

If you’re an account holder, you won’t be charged any fees for cashing a check. This is why it is highly recommended to cash checks at your local bank. In case there is a branch of the check writer’s bank in your vicinity, you could cash your check there too. In fact, if you visit the issuing bank, they will be able to cash your check as long as funds are available in the check writer’s account.  

Most credit unions usually have lower fees than banks. Some credit unions will cash your check with minimal fees even if you’re not an account holder.

Check cashing fees of popular banks for non-members

Bank Fee for cashing check (non-members) 
Bank of America $8 (for all checks higher than $50) 
Capital One Free 
Wells Fargo $7.50 
US Bank $7 (for all checks higher than $50) 
Citibank Free (for checks under $5,000) 
Chase $8 
  1. Check-cashing stores, money services, and travel centers:  

Spread all over several states in the United States, check-cashing stores will let you cash government checks along with payroll checks. Be prepared to pay some type of fee for the service. Popular check-cashing stores are ACE Cash Express, Cash America International, and EZCorp. 

Money services offer instant cash if you don’t want to wait for your money. They are easy to locate and charge low fees. Payroll checks, government checks, income tax refund checks etc. can all be cashed at money services. 

Travel centers like Pilot Flying J and TravelCenters of America allow people to cash checks. They’re not located everywhere but if you do happen to be near one, you can definitely use their services. 

  1. Apps: 

Probably the most convenient as it saves you a trip to any of the aforementioned places, apps let you cash checks from the comfort of your home. They’re easy to download and easy to use! Stay tuned to learn more about cash apps and how to use them.  

Check out a few apps you can use to cash a check

More info on how to cash a check

Sometimes life happens and there’s unusual circumstances. Maybe you need to cash a check, but don’t have a bank account. Maybe you need to cash a check, but don’t have your ID. In any case, there are alternative ways to cash a check.  

How to cash a check without a bank account

If you do not have a bank account, you can still cash a check. However, there might be fees involved. You can cash your check at the issuing bank, or the bank who’s name is on the check.  

Issuing bank on check

Or you could cash it at a retailer or grocery store. Another way would be to deposit the check at an ATM and into a pre-paid card account. 

Please note that that all of the above options will involve some amount of fees. It is advisable to open a bank account to save you some time and money. 

If you don’t have a bank account and choose to cash checks at a bank, we have a list of top banks in the country along with the fees they charge. Remember that banks usually ask for two forms of government-issued identification for non-customers. 

See common bank fees for cashing checks

How to cash a check without an ID

Although an ID is necessary in several places for cashing checks, there are ways to circumvent it in case you don’t have an ID. You could deposit your check at an ATM and into your account. Alternatively, you could use ATM check cashing. You also have the option to sign the check over to someone you trust and request them to cash it for you.  

How to endorse your check to a friend or family member 

When you receive a check, you have to sign at the back of it in order to cash the check. The act of signing at the back of a check is called endorsing the check. 

The easiest and most secure way of endorsing a check is to write down the words “for deposit only,” followed by the account number. The next step is to sign your name below and you’re good to go. This method tells the bank to deposit the money to the account you endorsed. If you’re uncomfortable with writing down your account number, you can simply put “for deposit only.” However, most banks print the account number when they process checks. 

If you receive a check and you wish to hand it over to a third-party for payment, your endorsement will be slightly different than usual. On the back of the check, you need to write “Pay to the order of [person’s name].” The next step would be to put down your signature.  

Bear in mind that some banks and check-cashing places refuse to accept third-party checks due to risk of fraud. Confirm with the bank before endorsing a third-party check.  

For more information on endorsing checks, click here.  

Can I cash a check online?

Yes, you can cash a check online! It is a simple procedure and can be employed unless you’re looking to get physical cash in your hands instantly. If you’re comfortable with receiving funds in your account, going online is a great solution. 

How to cash a check online with an app

The following graphic depicts the steps necessary to cash a check online with an app 

Cashing a check through an app
Cashing a check online
cashing a check in an app requires a photo of the check
Where to cash a check online

The following avenues are some of the best options when trying to cash a check online: 

  1. PayPal 

The PayPal app is arguably one of the most popular cash apps today. It offers a “Cash a Check” service that lets you cash checks and credit them to your PayPal Cash Plus account. There are no fees but there is a 10-day waiting period to get your money unless you want to pay a fee. 

  1. Ingo Money 

Akin to PayPal, there are no fees with Ingo Money. However, there is still a 10-day waiting period applied, unless you agree to pay a fee. Ingo Money allows you to cash personal checks, paychecks, business checks etc. The app can be downloaded on Apple as well as on Android devices. 

  1. Chime 

Chime allows you to deposit checks 24/7 and with no fees! Deposits after 9pm CT usually show in your account the next business day.  

  1. Brink’s Money Prepaid 

If you want your money fast and are okay with paying a fee, Brink’s Money Prepaid is a great choice. It is a prepaid card account that offers a cash-checking option.  

  1. ACE Elite 

The ACE Eline Prepaid app allows users to load their checks directly to their accounts. Access your funds within an hour for a fee, or for free if you agree to their 10-day waiting period.  

  1. Your bank’s mobile app 

Most banks have mobile banking options and a free app to facilitate that. Check with your bank to confirm they allow cashing checks using their mobile app. 

A lot of these apps do not charge users for depositing checks but there could be wireless carrier fees that are charged by your service provider. Confirm with your service provider to avoid unexpected fees. 

How to deposit a check

In a lot of ways, this is similar to cashing a check. However, instead of getting cash in exchange for your check, your check would be automatically deposited into your bank account.  

There’s a lot of similarities between the two processes.

Where to deposit a check 

To deposit a check into your bank account, you have two options. You’ll either need to go to your bank or credit union where you have an account. Or, you’ll have to use that’ bank or credit union’s mobile app.

How to deposit a check at a bank

You can deposit a check at a bank in the following steps: 

  1. Endorse your check 
  1. Present it to the bank teller or deposit at an ATM 
  1. Show your ID 

How to deposit a check via a mobile app

Each app may be a little different, but here are the common steps.  

  1. Take a picture of your check using your cellphone camera (both front and app) 
  1. Choose how you want to be paid 
  1. Submit for approval 

Regardless of what your wants and needs are, we all love getting paid. Turning a paper check into cash in your hands or funds in your account is a task we all need to perform at some point. It is smart to be armed with the necessary knowledge and information. We hope to have enriched you with some useful insights on how to cash a check the next time you need to process one. 

Cheers to getting paid!