The Cheapest Ways to Cash a Check

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A bank may charge a fee to cash a check.
A bank may charge a fee to cash a check. (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

One of the quickest ways to receive funds from a check is to cash it. When you cash a check, the bank will verify your information and possibly take a thumbprint. Some banks require two forms of identification and a thumbprint to cash a check for a non-customer. Some banks will charge a fee, and national banks may refuse to cash the check even if it is drawn on that bank.

Cash the Check at Your Bank

Cashing the check at your own bank is the cheapest way. Your bank should not charge a fee for you to cash a check. They may refuse to cash a check and put a hold on it until it clears if the check is large and drawn off another bank. This is more likely if the bank is from out of state. They may also refuse to cash a check if you do not have sufficient funds to cover the check if it were to be returned to them or if your account is currently overdrawn.

Cash the Check at the Bank It Is Drawn On

Many banks do not charge a fee to cash a check drawn off their bank. The bank will verify your identity and may require two forms of recognizable identification, one of which must have a picture on it. The bank may also require you to thumbprint the check. This protects them if the check is forged or stolen. If the bank charges a fee for cashing the check, you can take that money out of the amount they would pay you.

Cash the Check at Another Bank

Some banks may be willing to cash a check for a fee even if the check is not drawn on them. Generally these checks are recognized as good. For example tax refund checks from the IRS or tax refund stores, government checks such as Social Security, or payroll checks from a well-known business in the area. The identification requirements will be the same as those if you do not have an account there. Some businesses make arrangements with local banks for payroll checks to be cashed for a reduced fee; check with your employer to see if it has such an arrangement.

Cash the Check at a Store

The final option to cash a check is at a grocery store or department store. The stores will generally only do this for a government-issued or payroll check. The fee for cashing these checks is usually on a sliding scale depending on the amount of the check; the larger the check, the larger the fee.

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