Receiving a check can feel great; however, that feeling can quickly be overtaken with the need to cash and use the money from that check. During regular business hours, you can head to a bank or credit union that provides the service to cash checks. Mobile deposits are also an option when you have a day or two to wait for a pending direct deposit.
However, what happens when you need to cash your check outside of those business hours? ATMs are one option you can turn to when you need to access the funds from a check. Keep reading below on ways you can cash a check at an ATM, and other alternatives when ATMs are not an option.
The Basics of an ATM Check Cashing Process
Cashing a check in an ATM vs. using a retail bank or credit union may seem like the same process, and for all intents and purposes, it is; however, there can be some transactional differences between each cashing process.
For example, if you go to a bank, a teller will take your check and provide you with cash; there is no connection between that check and a checking account. However, when cashing a check through an ATM, most of the time, your check will be deposited into your checking account first, and then you can get cashback. Your checking account will likely need sufficient funds to cover the check amount in your bank account. Some ATMs do offer straight cashing services, but it is not too common.
How To Get Cash From a Check at an ATM?
When you are ready to cash a check from an ATM, you will need to have:
- A debit, ATM, or prepaid debit card
- An endorsed check
- Your card’s pin number
From here, you can head to the ATM of your choice; one that you bank with is always the more affordable option. Once you get there, you will have to insert your debit/ATM card, enter your four-digit pin and follow the prompts. In most cases, you will see a “cash check,” “deposit check,” or something along those lines. You will then be prompted to deposit your check into the ATM. The ATM should then allow you to withdraw cash from the check.
Keep in mind you may only be able to withdraw a portion of the cash when working through an ATM for checks of around $5,000 or more. Because each financial institution’s ATM is so different, these limits depend on where you go, but generally, expect some kind of hold for a portion of the funds for a few thousand dollars or more.
What Kinds of Checks Are Generally Accepted at an ATM?
There will be a short verification process at an ATM, and some checks are easier to verify than others.
Government checks will be the easiest to verify with an ATM, and the full funds can be available right away. And although personal checks are readily accepted into most ATMs, banks are only required to allow access to around $200 after the first business day, so accessibility is at their discretion. Cashier’s checks and foreign checks may have a more prolonged verification period and you may not be able to access the funds right away when working with an ATM.
What ATMs Allow Check Cashing?
Your best bet to cash a check will be going to an ATM with which you have a bank account, especially with major banks or credit unions. Below are some of the bank ATMs that allow for people to deposit checks or cash a check at an ATM:
- JP Morgan Chase
- Bank of America
- TCF Bank
- Wells Fargo ATM
- US Bank
What Are My Alternatives if I Cannot Use an ATM?
Suppose you cannot cash a check at an ATM, but you have some time to wait for normal business hours. In that case, you have a few options that will work for you. With some of these places, if you aren’t an existing customer, there will be a fee to cash personal checks and other check options. Here are some alternatives to ATMs when you have some time:
Visiting the Check’s Issuing Bank or Credit Union
Your best bet to getting a check verified quickly is visiting the financial institution that issued the check. Because it is their check, they can quickly determine its authenticity and provide you with cash. Bring the endorsed check and two forms of valid government-issued ID (one if you bank with them) with you for the bank teller. Many banks will provide their own deposit slip.
Heading to Your Own Bank, Credit Union, or Depository Institution To Cash Checks
If you have a bank account with a bank, credit union, or other depository institution, you can also head to them to cash a check. The great thing about being an existing customer at a place is that fees to cash a check are often waived. In this case, you will also need the endorsed check and a valid government-issued ID. Once you cash the check, you can carry the cash with you, or if you have your bank card with you, you can deposit money into your bank account, which you can use via debit or credit.
Keep in mind that when online banking and using an online bank account, you may not have the option to visit a bank branch to cash or deposit checks. Instead, you may have to turn to a mobile banking app to deposit a check. A mobile deposit can usually be made via your bank’s mobile app by simply taking a picture of the front and back of your check via your mobile device. It may take a few days to process.
Sometimes you will not be able to use an ATM to cash your check, or you may have to wait a few business days for the check to be processed. If you need to cash your check in full right away, you may have to head to retailers or check-cashing stores. Keep in mind that you may need two forms of valid gov.-issued ID along with the endorsed check. Below is more information and lists of retailers and check cashing stores that you may be able to look into:
Major Retailers That Offer Check Cashing Services
Here is a list of some grocery stores and retailers that offer check cashing services for a fee:
- Jewel Osco
- Food Lion
- Check Cashing Stores
Below are some stores that focus on financial services:
- Ace Cash Express
- PLS Check Cashers
- Money Services
- Advantage Cash Express
Although you can’t avoid fees when you cash with a check-cashing store and a convenience store, sometimes these places are open 24/7 and can be a good alternative to cashing a check at an ATM. Keep in mind that these retailers are not financial institutions and have limitations with check amounts and check types. Most may only accept either a government-issued check or a personal check. On top of that, check limits vary, so contact them before heading over.
Other Options if You Need Money Right Away and Cashing a Check Immediately Is Not an Option
If you face a financial emergency and cannot wait for processing after your check deposit, then a loan option may work for you as a last resort. You can then repay your loan with the money from the check once the deposit goes through.
Keep in mind that you will be paying for this convenience in interest and sometimes finance charges—charges created through loan origination. For fast funds, an online loan option may work best. Here are some loan options that are available to inquire about:
Online personal loans are some of the most commonly used loan options people turn to when they need money. The standard personal loan is unsecured and repaid in regular monthly installments. Your finances and the lender you work with will determine repayment terms and interest rates. You could get approved for a personal loan with bad credit with the right lender.
You may see payday loans advertised as “no credit check loans, guaranteed approval” and that is because they are really easy to get approved for. Payday loans are meant to help people in between paychecks. These loans can be fast and flexible for bad credit borrowers, but the interest rates and fees can be extremely high, leading to a cycle of debt.
Title loans are secured loan options that use a vehicle as collateral. To qualify, you must own your vehicle outright, and your vehicle must be in safe working condition. These loans can take some time to process; however, eligibility is flexible. Keep in mind that interest rates are incredibly high, and there is the risk of losing your vehicle if you miss payments or default.
Cash advances are available through loans and credit cards. If you already have a credit card with a cash advance option, it may be highly convenient to get cash from it. All you will have to do is to head to an ATM. Cash advances with credit cards will have higher interest rates than using the credit card itself, and there may be several fees associated with the withdrawal. Cash advance loans also come with higher interest rates.
Most people have more than one credit card they can use for extra money. If you don’t already have a credit card you can use, you will have to apply for a new one. You will have to have good credit to be approved for one. And keep in mind that there can be all sorts of fees like annual fees and overdraft fees with credit card options. Not to mention that they can lead to a cycle of debt.
And so, as you can see there are many loan options available if you need emergency cash. Weigh some of the pros and cons to decide which one fits your finances the best.
The Bottom Line With Cashing a Check at an ATM
You can head to an ATM to cash a check. To avoid fees, head to an ATM that you bank with. You will need your debit card, and the endorsed check. A personal check and a government check have the best chances of being verified quickly. Most ATM check cashing will require sufficient funds in your account when you deposit a check.
If you don’t want to take the chances of the uncertainty of the ATM process, retailers and money-cashing stores are open 24/7. If you have some time to wait, heading to a bank or depository institution during business hours will be your best bet. When visiting any of these locations bring two forms of government-issued ID and your endorsed check. And finally, if you need money while your check is processing as a deposit, a loan option can help!