Checks are still very much a part of everyday financial transactions. While it is true many banking options have gone electronic, paper checks are still very much used and valid for collecting and paying funds.
Cashing a check is pretty straightforward. Typically you go to the bank, endorse your check and provide a bank account number so the bank can ensure they get their money from said account if the check does not clear. Most people have bank accounts they can deposit checks into or use as a guarantee they can cover the money they collect from a cashed check until it clears.
What do you do if you do not have a bank account?
If you do not have a bank account you can still cash your check. It may cost a nominal fee or take some extra work on your part, but you can still get the money from a check you have received even without possessing a bank account.
Here are a few ways you can cash a check without a bank account:
• Cash at bank where check has been drawn from
Most banks will cash a check if the funds are drawn from one of their accounts. If the person who’s written the check has their checking account at their bank, the bank already knows whether or not the check is good.
Keep in mind most banks will ask for at least one, if not two, forms of identification you’ll need to provide before you’ll be given your money. This is done as a safety precaution to ensure you are the same person the check is written out to and are the legitimate recipient of the money.
• Do a third party endorsement
A quick way to get access to the money from a check is to endorse the check over to someone else that has a checking account. They can either accompany you to the bank and get your money for you or give you the cash upfront in exchange for the check.
If you opt to go with a third party endorsement it is important to choose someone you consider to be very trustworthy. Once you sign a check over to someone else you give up legal rights to the check, so be sure the person you’ve asked will give you the money.
• Check cashing store
Check cashing stores are probably the most common way people who do not have bank accounts cash checks they receive. They are quick, easy and a guaranteed way to get money immediately. The biggest disadvantage to check cashing stores is you’ll have to pay the store a fee.
How the fee is calculated may vary depending on the store. Some stores will charge a flat fee while others will calculate based on the dollar amount on the check; typically a percentage of the check amount is taken as a fee. This can get costly, especially if you receive checks on a regular basis.
• Grocery or convenience stores
There are some stores who are more than willing to cash checks for people they know or for customers in good standing; a fee may or may not be charged. Keep in mind that many stores may limit how much the dollar amount on the check and may not be willing to cash large checks.
Not all stores are willing to cash checks, but if you know the proprietor well or if the grocery has a check cashing policy, this is an option worth exploring.
It is helpful to have a bank account to use as leverage with financial transactions such as cashing a check, but it is not impossible to cash a check without one. By using one of the above options you should easily be able to obtain the money from the check you have received.