Cashing a check is fairly straightforward when you have a bank account. However, getting your money can be more complicated and can involve several steps without an account.
If you are due a check after a personal injury lawsuit, you may be wondering how to cash a personal check without a bank account. While it can be easy to cash a check with a smaller amount at any convenience or grocery store, cashing a more substantial check, such as a personal injury settlement, can be tricky. Moreover, every check-cashing method has its advantages and disadvantages.
Morgan & Morgan could help if you want to get justice and compensation after experiencing a personal injury. If you win, we can track your injury settlement and assess your options for cashing the check when it arrives. Contact us now for a free and confidential consultation.
Not Having a Bank Account Is Common
Having a bank account can make life much easier. However, you are not alone if you do not have a bank account. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), more than 5 percent of US households did not have a bank account in 2019. There can be many reasons why individuals lack an account, such as:
- No access to a branch
- Mistrust of banks
- Unable to meet minimum balance requirements
- Not having a government-issued ID (required to open an account)
Moreover, gender, age, and racial differences can also play a role. For example, women are less likely to have bank accounts than men.
In addition to those who do not have a bank account, there are so-called “underbanked” individuals who have savings and checking accounts but rarely or never use them. Underbanked persons may have difficulty accessing bank services or prefer to pay bills and cash checks in alternative ways.
Morgan & Morgan understands that there can be many reasons why individuals may not have access to a bank account. We are here to help the injured get what they deserve and can advise you on your options of cashing your settlement check.
Options for Cashing Your Personal Check Without a Bank Account
Individuals without a bank account can have various options for cashing a check, such as grocery stores, the issuing bank, or check-cashing stores. Some choices are more convenient or affordable than others. Learn more below.
The Issuing Bank
Cashing your check with the issuing bank can have various advantages, such as a short hold on the funds and affordable fees. However, not all banks will cash checks for non-customers. Moreover, there can be substantial differences in costs.
If the bank that issued your check allows cashing, remember that it will want to prove that you are the person whose name is on the check. Banks generally require non-customers to show two forms of government-issued ID when cashing a check. Depending on the bank’s policies, accepted IDs can include:
- Driver’s license
- Birth certificate
- Military ID card
- Social Security card
- Permanent resident card
Some banks allow secondary sources of identification, such as utility bills, property tax bills, and others provided one source of identification includes a photograph.
Most banks’ fees for cashing a check range from $7-10 per check. However, some banks take a percentage of the check amount as their fee, which can be expensive. A small number of banks offer free cash checking to non-customers.
Retail and Grocery Stores
You could cash your check in your local grocery store or another retail establishment. Some of the most common retail locations for check cashing include:
- Local grocery stores (Walmart, Kroger’s, Winn Dixie, etc.)
- Department stores
- Convenience stores
- Gas station travel centers
Cashing checks at grocery stores and other retailers can work out relatively cheap, as fees are generally lower than bank prices. Most stores cash checks for $3-$6. However, grocery and convenience stores generally only allow you to cash checks up to $5,000; some have even lower limits. Therefore, if your injury settlement amount is substantial, you will have to look for alternative ways to cash your check.
Check-cashing and payday loan stores should be the last resort for cashing a check, as fees can be exorbitant compared to other options. Such stores often base their prices on a percentage of the check amount, typically around 4-5 percent. However, some charge as much as 10-12 percent.
You can find payday loan and check-cashing stores in many locations, which makes them convenient. Moreover, customers can generally leave with their cash on the same day, which is a considerable advantage over banks, which often put long holds on funds.
Prepaid Card Accounts
Opening a prepaid debit card account can be a good option if you want to avoid opening a bank account. After opening the prepaid account, you will receive a debit card, allowing you to deposit your check into the account. You can then withdraw the cash from an ATM with your new debit card.
Prepaid debit cards do not usually require credit checks or bank accounts, which makes them a great solution for those without access to traditional banking. You can buy a prepaid debit card from credit card companies, banks, retailers, and other financial providers.
However, before opening a prepaid card account, ensure you know all the terms and conditions. Prepaid accounts can come with steep fees. They may also place an initial hold on the funds, which can be as long as ten days. Moreover, if you receive a high settlement amount, you may not want to have all the money tied to a prepaid card that could get stolen or lost.
Signing the Check Over to a Relative or Friend
If you have a trusted relative or friend with a bank account, you could ask whether they would cash the check for you. Banks generally allow individuals to cash checks for someone else.