Are you searching for the best place to cash a personal check?
In the age of mobile banking, direct deposit, and mobile payment services like CashApp, PayPal, and Venmo, checks may seem like a thing of the past.
However, while checks are no longer used as much as they once were, we by no means live in a checkless society. According to the Federal Reserve, there were more than 14 billion check payments in 2018 alone.
Furthermore, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp found in a 2019 survey that more than 7 million United States households have no bank or credit union account.
This is known as being “unbanked.” There are many reasons some Americans are not serviced by financial institutions.
For example, they may not have access to a bank where they live, lack a smartphone, don’t want to pay minimum balance fees, have distrust in financial institutions, or lack government-issued photo identification.
That said, whether you simply still use checks or don’t even have a bank account, we’ve got you covered.
This article will provide the 11 best places to cash a personal check. While researching your options, we considered fees, accessibility, and convenience.
What You Will Need to Cash a Personal Check
Before we cover the places you can cash a personal check, you should know what you need to bring.
That said, the most important thing you will need is some form of government-issued identification and, in some cases, two forms.
This is so places that offer check cashing services can protect themselves from potential fraud. It’s also because they run the risk of the issuer of the check not having sufficient funds to cover the check amount.
Here is a list of several acceptable forms of ID:
- Driver’s license
- State ID card
- City ID card
- Military ID
- Green card
- US citizen ID card
Where Can I Cash a Personal Check?
Now that you know what you need to cash a personal check, here are the best places to do so.
Ideally, the best place for you will be one that offers the lowest fees. However, you should also consider convenience and how close the locations are to where you live.
1. The Bank That Issued the Check
“Where can I cash a personal check without a bank account?” If you’re asking this question, your best option is at the bank that issued the check, especially if you need to verify there are sufficient funds or you’re not sure the check is valid.
While banks and credit unions aren’t obligated to cash checks for noncustomers, many will if the check was written by an account holder at the bank, regardless if it’s payable to a noncustomer.
However, as a noncustomer of the bank, be prepared to pay a fee. The fee will be a flat fee or a percentage of the check amount, such as 2%.
For instance, if you cash a personal check of $1,000 and are charged 2%, you will pay a fee of $20. While this may not sound like much, if you’re constantly paying a fee to cash checks, it will add up quickly.
Considering this, it may be a good idea to simply open a bank account.
2. Your Personal Bank
The best and most obvious place to cash a check is your personal bank. As a customer of the bank, all you need is a signed personal check and a deposit slip. You will also receive free check cashing services with high cashing limits.
If your bank doesn’t offer free check cashing services, it may be time to switch. Open an account with a local bank in your area that provides this service to customers for free. You should also look for one with a low minimum balance requirement.
That said, to cash a check at your personal bank, you can either cash it inside the bank or drive-thru window if you’re in a hurry or cash it at an ATM and then wait for it to clear to access the money.
You may even be able to cash it from the comfort of your home if you have your bank’s mobile app on your phone.
3. Local Credit Union
Like your bank, a credit union you’re a member of is also the best and most obvious place to cash a check.
Unlike banks, credit unions are member-owned but offer most of the same financial services as banks, like check cashing, bank accounts, business accounts, loans, and certificates of deposit (CDs).
The process of cashing a check is also the same at a credit union as it is at a bank.
However, your local credit union may provide these services at lower rates and offer exclusive memberships and increased lending flexibility.
Furthermore, many credit unions offer bank accounts with lower minimum balance requirements than accounts provided by banks.
Considering this, if you don’t have an account with a bank, you may want to open one with a credit union.
That said, the downside of a credit union is that their customer service experience is typically not that of a bank.
4. Walmart Check Cashing
Will Walmart cash a personal check? Is there anything Walmart won’t do?
Unsurprisingly, Walmart is one of the most convenient places to cash a personal check, and if you’re like 90% of Americans, you probably live within 15 minutes of one.
Walmart is also a great option if you frequently shop there, as your cashed check can double as your grocery money.
That said, Walmart charges a $4 fee to cash check amounts up to $1,000 and an $8 fee for any amount greater. The maximum check value Walmart will cash is $5,000.
However, it does accept checks up to $7,500 from January to April.
When you cash a check at Walmart, you have two options: receive your funds in cash or have them loaded onto a Walmart MoneyCard.
If you load them onto a Walmart MoneyCard, some stipulations may apply, and if you receive your funds in cash, you will pay a fee, as mentioned above.
Walmart offers check cashing for many different types of checks, such as:
- 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
5. Local Grocery Stores
Are you wondering, “where can I cash a personal check on Sunday?” Check your local grocery store!
While some grocery chains and mom-and-pop grocery stores are hit-and-miss when it comes to cashing a check, many do offer this service.
Ones that won’t cash a personal check are doing so to protect themselves from potential fraud. They also have no way to tell if the account has sufficient funds.
If you’re unsure, simply call your local grocery store or check their website to verify ahead of time.
That said, the fee your local grocery store will charge to cash a check can be anywhere from 2% of the check amount to $6 per check.
However, some grocers will waive the fee if you opt for store credit instead of cash. If you frequently buy groceries there, this may be a better option.
Here are countless grocery stores that offer cash checking services:
- Market Basket
- Giant Eagle
- Food Lion
6. Transact by 7-Eleven
What comes to mind when you think of 7-Eleven? Slushies? Me too. However, 7-Eleven also has other things to offer.
While most gas stations no longer provide check cashing services, Transact by 7-Eleven still does, including cashing personal checks.
However, you will need to download the Transact 7-Eleven mobile app. Once you download the app, you can cash the check by simply taking a picture of it with your phone.
The check should clear within 48 hours. Once it does, the check amount will be deposited onto your reloadable 7-Eleven prepaid card. You can then use your 7-Eleven card wherever accepts MasterCard, such as retail stores and online.
That said, another way to cash a personal check with 7-Eleven is with their Vcom check cashing kiosk if your local 7-Eleven has one.
Vcom check cashing kiosks offer various financial services like cashing checks and paying bills.
7. Gas Station Travel Centers
While many gas stations no longer offer check cashing, whether the check is handwritten, from your employer, or even a government check, due to the risk of fraud, you may have success at some gas station travel centers.
Considering this, you should probably call the location closest to you or check online ahead of time to confirm they do.
Tip: You may be able to get your check cashed for free if you buy fuel within two hours of cashing it.
8. Endorse Your Check to Your Friend
One unique and cost-efficient way to cash a personal check is to endorse it to a friend who can cash it for free. That’s what friends are for, right?
When you endorse a check made out to you to a friend or anyone else, it becomes what’s known as a third-party check.
The process of endorsing a check to someone else is pretty straightforward.
On the back of the check, write “Pay to the order of ‘person’s name” on the top line and then sign the check below the endorsement. The other person will then need to sign their name on the third line.
That said, places that accept third-party checks have varying policies. For example, in an effort to combat fraud, some places may require both you and your friend to be present with your IDs.
Some places may also require you to fill out and sign a form that states the other person has permission to cash the check.
Keep in mind that many check cashing stores and even some banks won’t accept third-party checks at all. Considering this, you should always call ahead of time to verify they do.
If you’re interested in endorsing your check to a friend, you can learn everything you need to know about third-party checks here.
9. Check Cashing Apps
Where to cash a personal check made out to me online? If you’re asking this question, your best option is a check cashing app if you don’t have a bank account.
A check cashing app is a mobile app you download on your phone that allows you to cash checks. You simply install the app of your choice, snap a photo of your check, and then wait for the check to clear.
Depending on the check cashing app you use, it can take anywhere between a few minutes and 2 hours for the check to clear.
Here are a few of the most popular check cashing apps:
The process to cash a check with PayPal is straightforward. Once you download the PayPal mobile app, click “cash a check” in your wallet, take a picture of both sides of your signed check, and then choose how quickly you want to receive your money.
You can pay a minimum fee of $5 to receive your funds within minutes or choose the free option and wait 10 days. Check deposits can range from $5 to $5,000, with a limit of $15,000 per month.
The Process of cashing a check using Venmo is very similar to PayPal. Once you download the Venmo app, go to the “Me” tab, tap “Manage Balance,” and select “Cash a Check.” You will then need to take a picture of both sides of your check and then wait for it to clear.
Like PayPal, Venmo also offers an “In minutes” and a free option. If you choose the “In minutes” option, you will pay a 1% for government and payroll checks and a 5% fee for all others. If you choose the free option, you will have to wait 10 days to receive your money in your Venmo account.
Here are a few other popular check cashing apps that work very similar to PayPal and Venmo.
10. Prepaid Debit Cards
Another way to cash a check if you don’t have a bank account is to load the funds onto a prepaid debit card.
A prepaid debit card is a reloadable card that works just like a checking account debit card. The amount you can spend on the card is limited to available funds.
Some prepaid debit cards will even allow you to set up direct deposit so that all your checks are automatically loaded onto them.
Other prepaid debit cards will come with a mobile app that allows you to load your funds onto the card by taking a picture of your check.
You might even have the option to load money onto your card by depositing your check at an ATM.
That said, the amount of time it will take for your check to clear and the cash to appear will depend on which prepaid debit card you use.
Here are several of the most popular debit cards:
- Green Dot Prepaid Visa Card
- Bluebird Prepaid Debit Account
- PayPal Prepaid Mastercard
- Ace Elite Visa Prepaid Debit Card
- NetSpend Prepaid Visa Debit Card
11. Check Cashing Stores
Last on our list of places to cash a personal check is check cashing stores, and for a good reason. Of all the places on our list, a check cashing store is by far the most expensive option.
The fees they charge can be anywhere from 1% to 20%, depending on which check cashing store you use, which is a complete rip-off.
Furthermore, if you put the balance on one of their reloadable debit cards, you may have to pay a monthly maintenance fee.
If you want a reloadable debit card, choose a better option like a Walmart MoneyCard or a PayPal Prepaid Mastercard.
Considering this, a check cashing store should be seen as your last resort option for a one-time transaction.
The only advantage of a check cashing store is that some of them will accept checks that other retailers won’t, like personal checks and even checks from small businesses.
That said, a check cashing store should be easy to find in your local area if you do need to use one. Simply do a Google search for “places to cash a personal check,” and many options should appear as well as ads at the top of the results.
Places to Avoid Cashing a Personal Check
Now that you know the best places to cash a personal check, here are some places you should try to avoid, such as payday and title loan companies.
You should avoid these places because they charge relatively higher fees, among other reasons.
Of course, if you have no other option, you’ll obviously have to make due. However, steer clear of them if possible.
Most Check Cashing Stores
While we mentioned check cashing stores above, I wanted to mention them again to get the point across.
Only use a check cashing store to cash a personal check if you have absolutely no other option.
Check cashing stores will rip you off by charging you massive fees.
Here are two examples of check cashing stores you should avoid:
Ace Check Express
While Ace Check Express is popular because they’ll cash almost any check of any amount, they charge a massive percentage of the total check amount. While you may not care if it’s a one-off thing, it adds up quickly if you constantly use their services.
Banks, credit unions, and even grocery stores like Kroger and Walmart will cash your checks for a much cheaper rate.
That said, some of the types of checks they’ll cash are:
- Payroll checks
- personal checks
- business checks
- Income tax refund checks
- Government checks
- Insurance settlement checks
- Money orders
Aside from check cashing services, Ace Check Express also offers bill pay, tax services, loans, and even debit cards.
Check Into Cash
Like Ace Check Express, Check Into Cash will also charge much higher fees than banks, credit unions, and many grocery stores.
Here are some types of checks they accept:
- Printed or handwritten payroll checks
- Government checks
- Tax refunds
- Financial loan checks
- Insurance drafts or checks
- Money orders
- Cashier’s checks
- Two-party checks
- And many others
Can You Cash a Personal Check at an ATM?
Yes, you can cash a personal check at an ATM. However, it does have to have to be an ATM at a bank or credit union you’re a customer of. In other words, you can’t cash a personal check at an out-of-network ATM.
That said, keep in mind that it will take longer for the check to clear if you use an ATM than if you simply went inside or used the drive-thru window.
If your bank offers a mobile app, using it to cash your check may also be a quicker option than an ATM.
Final Thoughts on Where to Cash a Personal Check
The problem with cashing a personal check is that it involves an increased risk of fraud compared to a check issued by the government.
As a result, some places like check cashing stores are reluctant to accept them. However, you still have several options. If you have a checking account with a bank or credit union, you should cash it there.
If you don’t have a checking or savings account, cash it at the bank it was issued at. If that’s not an option, you should consider:
- Walmart check cashing
- Local grocery stores
- Transact by 7-Eleven
- Gas station travel centers
- Endorsing your check to a friend
- Check cashing apps
- Prepaid debit cards
- Check cashing stores that accept them (avoid)
When determining which option is best for you, consider fees, convenience, and accessibility.