Third-Party Checks & Places Where You Can Cash Them

Cashing a third-party check can be a convenient way to access funds, especially if you don’t have a bank account. However, not all financial institutions accept third-party checks, and the ones that do may have specific requirements and fees. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of third-party checks, how to cash them, and the places where you can do so.

What are third-party checks?

A third-party check is a check that is signed over to someone other than the original payee. For example, if John receives a check for $500 from his friend Mark and wants to give it to his sister Sarah, he can sign the back of the check and write “Pay to the order of Sarah” to make it a third-party check. Third-party checks can be a convenient way to transfer funds, but they can also be more difficult to cash than regular checks.

Can you cash a third-party check at any bank or credit union?

No, a bank or credit union is not obligated to cash a third-party check. If you go to a bank or credit union where neither you nor the person writing the check has an account, the institution will often refuse to cash the check.
However, many banks or credit unions will cash a check if:

  • It is written by one of their account holders
  • There is money in the account to cover the check
  • The check is not more than 6 months old
  • You are the payee shown on the face of the check
  • You show proper ID
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The bank or credit union might charge a fee if you don’t have an account with them.

The bank or credit union where you have your checking account may allow you to cash a check from another bank or credit union. However, it might require you to first deposit the check into your own account. If you deposit the check in your checking account, the funds will usually be available in one or two business days.

Some banks and credit unions do provide fee-based check cashing services, including to consumers that do not have an account with the bank or credit union and who are presenting third-party checks

Where can you cash a third-party check?

If you don’t have a bank account or if your bank doesn’t accept third-party checks, there are still several options available to you:

  • Check cashing stores: These stores specialize in cashing checks for a fee. They may have more lenient policies regarding third-party checks, but their fees can be high, sometimes up to 3% of the check amount
  • Grocery stores: Some grocery stores, such as Kroger, offer check cashing services. They may cash third-party checks, but their fees can also be high, and they may have restrictions on the types of checks they will cash
  • Prepaid cards: You can load the value of your check onto a prepaid card at certain locations, such as Money Services, to be spent at your local grocery store or to withdraw in cash at an ATM. The prepaid card must be registered before you can withdraw cash
  • Check cashing apps: There are several apps available that allow you to cash checks using your smartphone. These apps may accept third-party checks, but they may also charge a fee or require you to wait a few days for the funds to be available
  • Payday lenders: While not recommended due to their high fees and interest rates, some payday lenders may cash third-party check.
  • Friends or family: If you have a trusted friend or family member with a bank account, you can ask them to cash the check for you and give you the cash in return. However, this method may not always be feasible or convenient.
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Conclusion

Cashing a third-party check can be a convenient way to access funds, especially if you don’t have a bank account. However, not all financial institutions accept third-party checks, and the ones that do may have specific requirements and fees.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to cash a third-party check, consider the options available to you, such as check cashing stores, grocery stores, prepaid cards, check cashing apps, or asking a trusted friend or family member for help. Be sure to compare fees and requirements before choosing a method, and always be cautious when dealing with your personal and financial information.

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