People can cash a check by going to a branch location of the bank or credit union that issued the check, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Individuals must present proper identification to cash the check.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises that banks are only required to cash checks issued by their institution if the check is less than 6 months old and the person or business who wrote the check has sufficient funds in his account. According to Bankrate, many banks charge check-cashing fees that may be waived for account holders. Although banks are not required to do so, many banks cash checks for account holders even if the check was issued by another bank, states the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Individuals can also cash checks for a fee at check-cashing stores and retail locations. According to U.S. News and World Report, these stores usually charge customers a flat fee, a percentage of the check amount, or both. For example, Walmart charges a flat check-cashing fee of $3 for checks of $1,000 or less and $6 for checks more than $1,000. It does not cash checks valued at more than $5,000. Consumers should compare fees in their local stores before cashing a check.
Many retail and check-cashing locations do not cash personal checks. For example, Walmart states that it only cashes payroll checks, MoneyGram money orders, tax refund checks and other government-issued checks.