Tips & Advice
What types of checks do check-cashing services accept?
Check-cashing services accept government checks, employment checks, and money orders. Some also will cash personal checks, although usually they will first call and verify details with the issuing bank.
Can a check be cashed without an ID?
A check cannot be cashed through a service without proper identification. In fact, many places require two forms of ID--at least one with a photo.
How does a check-cashing service work?
Check-cashing service offer quick cash to people who don’t want to or are unable to conduct their business with a bank. They make money on fees, which are assessed based on a combination of factors, including the amount of the check and how risky (i.e., likely to be fraudulent) the check might be. Check-cashing services make a significant effort not to process fraudulent transactions, which is why many will take extra precautions, such as calling the issuing bank to verify funds, and taking a photo of the person cashing the check.
Where can I cash a check?
Check cashing services are offered through a variety of outlets including companies like Western Union, as well as independent businesses such as grocery stores, liquor shops. Banks will also cash paychecks even if you do not have an account with the bank. Walmart is the largest retailer offering check cashing (and other basic banking) services.
What is a check cashing service?
A check cashing service is a licensed money-services company that will cash people’s checks and be compensated with a fee and/or percentage of the check. It offers people a way to access the funds issued to them via checks or money orders without depositing them into a bank account. It is classified as “alternative financial” service because it provides an alternative to a bank.
What documents are necessary when opening a bank account?
Generally, when opening a standard domestic bank account you will need two forms of government issued identification, like a social security card and a driver’s license (or legally issued ID), or a passport. Some accounts may require an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or a proof of address, meaning you need to bring in something like a utility bill with your name and address on it. More complicated accounts can have different requirements. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you might be able to open an account with a state-issued identification from your country of citizenship.
The best way to pick a bank is to identify exactly what your financial needs are and find a bank, or banks, that provide those services. If you need basic checking and/or savings accounts, nearly any local bank can set you up. Some banks can cover the entire spectrum of needs, while some are more specialized toward businesses, international account holders, or high-end clients. If you are in a specific industry that has a corresponding credit union, those can be a great place to go. Do some research or get referrals or recommendations.
Online banking allows you can access your bank accounts on your computer (or smartphone) and pay your bills, write online checks, deposit checks (via the bank’s app) transfer money, check on account balances from the comfort of your home. Online banking is the new normal and is a convenient tool to manage your finances without ever having to step foot in a bank.
What is an overdraft fee?
An overdraft fee is when a checking or savings account is overdrawn. If you don’t have electronic notification set up when you balance gets below a certain amount, you might find out when a check bounces.Usually your bank will cover the difference and charge you a fee. These fees vary depending on the amount of the overdraft, how long you’ve been with the bank, how much money you keep there, etc. These fees can sometimes be waived if the overdraft is minor and/or if you are a valued customer in good standing with the bank.
Credit unions are non-profit banking institutions that are set up to serve their members. Credit unions provide many of the same services other banks provide, such as checking and savings accounts, loans and investment opportunities. The big difference between credit unions and banks is credit unions are also member owned -- the depositors are the owners and it works as a cooperative institution -- which provides a lower-interest loans and services.