While going to your bank to cash a check might be preferable, sometimes using a check cashing store to get your green comes in handy. Check cashing stores often are open longer hours than many banks, which makes it convenient. Also, while a bank may make you wait for the funds, a check cashing store lets you walk out with money in hand. But before you visit, find out what you need to ask so you can decide if this option is right for you and ensure that the process goes smoothly.
Ask if the company supports the laws, regulations and best practices of the check cashing industry. Ask if it belongs to the Financial Service Centers of America or another organization that regulates the industry and ensures that check cashing businesses adhere to ethical standards that protect their customers.
Types of Checks
While check cashing places often cash payroll, income tax, personal, insurance drafts and cashier's checks for customers, they may not cash a three-party check. It's best to know before you go -- so call in advance and ask what types of checks the place will cash.
Find out if the check cashing place has a limit on the amounts of checks it will cash. If your check is unusually small or large, the check cashing place might refuse to cash it.
While you probably carry all of the needed information to present when cashing a check, it's a good idea to confirm what's needed with the check cashing place. All check cashing places will want to take a look at your photo ID and maybe one other form of identification. Some businesses may also ask you to fill out an application or have some other requirement that you won't be prepared for if you don't ask.
Dollar Amount of Fees
This is an important question. Many check cashing places state their fees in percentages -- such as 2 percent check cashing fee -- which can be hard to wrap your mind around when all you want is get the cash in hand. Ask the check cashing representative to figure the dollar amount of the fees so you know, up front, exactly what you will pay to use the service. If you're cashing a large check, the fee can add up. For example, two percent of a $3,000 check is $60.
Sometimes check cashing places charge you more than one fee. Ask for an itemized receipt for the transaction so you can look at the breakdown of fees. This will keep you from staring at your cash and scratching your head in bewilderment as you drive away.
You usually do not have to wait until your check clears for your cash. Some check cashing locations may have policies that require you to wait for the funds on checks employees can't readily verify.
Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.