What Is Personal Check Cashing?

Personal check cashing is a service provided by check-cashing stores and some retailers for people who do not have bank accounts. In addition, the bank that issued a check is often willing to cash the check if it is presented in person by the payee. Because check-cashing services can be expensive, it is important to compare fees when choosing between services.

Check-cashing stores typically charge a significant fee to cash a personal check. Usually the fee is a percentage of the check's amount, although there may be a separate fee imposed on top of that. Check-cashing stores typically cash payroll checks, income tax refunds, Social Security checks, money orders and unemployment checks as well as personal checks.

Some retailers provide personal check-cashing services, usually charging less than the check-cashing stores do. Walmart and 7-Eleven are among the major retailers offering check-cashing services. Some 7-Eleven stores host electronic kiosks that provide check-cashing services for a small flat fee. Some large supermarket chains, such as Safeway and Lucky, cash non-personal checks. In addition, local small grocery stores or liquor stores often provide check-cashing services to known customers.

Some banks also offer services to those without bank accounts. Prepaid debit cards allow consumers to deposit and cash checks for a monthly fee. The service also allows customers to use ATM machines.