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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Taxes & Financial Planning > Cashing a Check

Cashing a Check Cost


How Much Does Cashing a Check Cost?

 
low costBank: Free for Customersaverage costBank: $3-$5 for Noncustomershigh costStandalone Check Cashing Outlet: 1%-12% of Check Amount
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Consumers can have their checks -- personal, payroll, public assistance or tax refund -- cashed at many different locations, with varying fees and levels.

Typical costs:

  • The cost for cashing checks varies, with most states setting limits on how much a business can charge to provide this service. The fee charged is often a percentage of the amount of the check being cashed, and can range from 1%-12%. That's a range of $10-$120 for a $1,000 check. According to directory CheckCashing.com, it's more common to pay fees[1] of 1%-5%. Businesses in some states, such as California[2] , charge as much as 12% for cashing a personal check.
  • Banks often allow noncustomers to cash checks in their branches, but usually for a fee of $3-$5. Those with bank accounts can often have their checks cashed for free at a local branch.
  • According to the Consumer Federation of America's critical position paper[3] on check cashing outlets' rates nationwide, the average cost to cash a payroll check was 4.11% and varies by state: cashing a $500 computer-generated paycheck costs $8.20 in New York, $12.50 in Ohio or $25 in Kentucky.
  • Many check-cashing businesses offer a discounted rate of 1.5%-3% for cashing state public assistance or Social Security checks. That's $15-$30 for a $1,000 check.
  • Often, check-cashing businesses will have a standard check-cashing rate for payroll checks and another, higher rate for personal checks or money orders, typically in the 10% range.
Related articles: Payday Loan, Credit Card

What should be included:
  • The check-cashing procedure is simple: bring the physical check and, usually, a form of photo identification, to a check cashing service or bank, sign the back of the check and perhaps fill out and sign a form accepting the fees. Cash will be in hand within minutes.
Additional costs:
  • Some check-cashing businesses charge a fee to become a member of their service. This is typically a one-time charge of about $10.
  • Some check-cashing businesses charge more -- typically around a 1%increase - to cash a check without proper identification.
  • If a check "bounces," meaning the bank account it's tied to doesn't have sufficient funds to cover it, the check casher could face a bad-check fee of about $20.
Discounts:
  • Patrons can usually cash checks for free at a branch of a bank where they have an account.
Shopping for cashing a check:
  • Local chapters of the Better Business Bureau[4] have details on standalone check-cashing businesses.
  • CheckNGo[5] is one of the largest check-cashing institutions in the nation, and national retailers including Walmart[6] offer in-store check cashing.
  • Each state sets and administers its own laws regarding check-cashing businesses. Check with the state's Attorney General's Office to vet a business.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.checkcashing.com/faq/check_cashing_faq/how-much-does-it-cost-to-cash-a-check.htm
  2.  www.la.bbb.org/GIReport.aspx?DocumentID=76
  3.  www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/CFA_2006_Check_Cashing_Study111506.pdf
  4.  www.bbb.org/
  5.  www.checkngo.com/resources/faq/check-cashing/check-cashing-work.aspx
  6.  www.walmart.com/cp/Check-Cashing/632047
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