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How To Cash a Check Without a Bank Account
Do you have a bank account that exists solely for the purpose of cashing or depositing your paychecks? I'm willing to bet that you have frustrating monthly fees associated with that bank account too. Banks will charge anywhere from 5 to 15 dollars per month for 'account maintenance' fees, but it's hard to see what kind of 'maintenance' is being done to your account on a monthly basis.
Those fees are likely the result of the bank noticing that you don't keep much money in your account, and therefore they can't use it to generate their own income, so they charge you fees in order to make money from you. If you consider the number of accounts that are held by the larger banks, then those fees add up to a nice tidy bit of profit.
Of course, you may have had an offer from your bank that you won't be charged any fees if you just keep a certain amount in your account, like $100 or more. But then, you don't get to use that $100 so what sense does that make to anyone on a tight budget?
Can You Live without a Bank Account?
How to Cash a Check Without a Bank Account
We're going to show you a few ways you can cash your paycheck without the need to have a bank account. One or two of these will depend on where you live, but others will apply to everyone. Stick around for the very last option we talk about, because you might find it to be the most appealing.
Casinos Cash Checks
First, let's talk about the geographically dependent option. Casinos. If you live in Reno, Vegas, or near any of the tribal casinos in the Phoenix area, you can cash your paycheck without incurring a fee. The only cost is the inconvenience of having to go to the casino in the first place, but many places offer incentives like free spins on a giveaway wheel or tokens for a free drink, etc. Why do they do this? Simple: they're betting on the likelihood you'll plug a few bucks into the gaming machines or play a few rounds at the tables, and that's a perfectly reasonable expectation. Utilizing this method will depend on your self control and will power. If you can walk straight into a casino, cash your check, and walk straight out again without spending any of it, then you're only out the cost of the gas it took to get to the casino in the first place. There are restrictions: generally they have to be in state check and not third party issued. Spend at your own risk, but remember, the house always wins in the end.
Family or Friends Could Help You Cash a Check
Do you live close to your friends, or do you have a large family? It might be advantageous for one of you to maintain a bank account, and use it to cash everyone's checks, this way only one person is paying the banking fees necessary. The way this works is, you endorse your check to the person with the account. Sign the check and on the back write 'pay to the order of (their name)'. The bank will either deposit the check or cash it depending on the person's request and you can have your money without paying a fee or risking the temptation to gamble. This method does require trust and a close bond with the person whose name is on the account as it can be an inconvenience at times. But that inconvenience can be minimized with planning. Maybe have a check cashing outing once a month where everyone goes to the bank and maybe out to enjoy a meal afterward. Just make sure you're contributing to the fees incurred by the person whose name is on the account.
Visit a Check Cashing Place
Check cashing places are an option, but generally they take out more than you would pay to your bank in account fees. This should be considered a last resort option if none of the others are available to you. If you do utilize a check cashing store, make sure you are aware of the fees up front and even then, do think about it before you go ahead. Do not cash your check if you don't understand clearly what fee you will be paying. Some places try to confuse you with a percentage based on an obscure formula in order to make you think their fees are reasonable when they aren't.
If you get paid once or twice a month, a viable option just might be your local Walmart. Many of us do our grocery shopping there anyway, so it can be a convenient option to cash your check at the customer service desk and then go get your food (and other needs) shopping taken care of. Walmart generally charges a fee of $3 for checks up to $1,000 or $6 for checks over that amount up to $5,000. We're talking about payroll checks though, and not personal checks so make sure you understand that Walmart doesn't function as a bank. But as we said, if you are going to the store anyway, you can get your check cashed and get your shopping done without having to make a bunch of stops.
Cash Your Check at the Bank That Issued It
The issuing bank will cash your check as well. This means that if your job issues your paycheck drawn from an account on, Say, Bank of America, then any Bank of America branch in your town will cash the check with no added fee. Like the casino option, the only inconvenience here is the extra stop needed to get to the bank. And if you are cashing your paycheck in this manner, be prepared to hear sales pitches for bank services. Kind of comes with the territory.
Get a Prepaid Debit Card
The last option, and one that might be the best for you, is a prepaid debit card. Right now, this only works if you have direct deposit service available with your employer, but many prepaid card companies are beginning to experiment with check depositing services. This is a great no-fee option because the card companies charge retailers for the service of processing payments instead of charging you. Do an internet search for 'prepaid debit cards' and find out what your options are.
CASH 1 likes the idea of saving you money. If you need an infusion of cash to cover unexpected expenses, take a look at our services and see if one of them is a fit for you.
Joseph Priebe takes pride in assisting audiences with his articles to help them make sound financial decisions.
With over ten years of experience writing financial content his goal at CASH 1 has always been creating engaging and easy-to-digest information for anyone searching for immediate or long-term monetary solutions.
When Joseph is not writing about personal finance, you can find him photographing the Southwest United States with his 4x5 Graflex Crown Graphic camera. He is based in Phoenix, Arizona.