Can You Cash a Check at an ATM?

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  • Post last modified:July 18, 2021

Are you wondering if there is another more convenient way to deposit or cash a check aside from standing in line at the bank? If so, then try using the ATM nearest you. The question now is, can you cash a check at an ATM?

The answer is yes. However, you may only cash personal checks via an ATM. If you have other kinds of checks or don’t trust ATM deposits, you can cash them in person at any issuing bank branch. Just go to a cash checking store, or endorse the check so another person can cash it for you.

If you are using an ATM, deposit the money into your bank account before the withdrawal. It will likely charge a nominal fee for the check cashing service.

Read on to learn more about whether you can cash a check at the ATM and other ways for you to do it.

Can You Cash a Personal Check at an ATM?

can you cash a check at an atm

Most banks offer their customers the option to deposit and/or cash personal checks through their ATMs. However, to be sure, call your bank, or check their official website. This is important, so you will know if they allow this kind of transaction. Also, note that some banks allow check deposits via their official mobile app. This means you do not even have to leave your home.

Note that you can only deposit checks through your bank’s ATM. You cannot do it when using another bank’s ATM. Depositing a check via an ATM is more convenient than waiting in line at your local bank. You can also do it before or after banking hours. However, mobile check depositing trumps them both when it comes to sheer convenience.

Typically, you need to take a couple of pictures of the check using your bank’s mobile app. A couple of taps and swipes later, the check amount will be in your bank account. However, you should hold onto the check until you confirmed that the money is indeed deposited into your account. After that, you can destroy the check.

On that note, can you cash a cashier’s check at an ATM? Yes, however, you need to use the issuing bank’s ATM. It is also important to have an account with the said bank.

How to Deposit or Cash a Check at an ATM

Here’s the thing. You may be unable to cash a check through an ATM if you do not have enough in your account to cover it. However, you can still deposit the check, and the process is quite easy.

Here are the usual steps:

Step 1 – Insert Your Debit Card and Enter Your PIN

Even if you do not have an account with the bank, it will still do if you have a debit card. Just log into the debit card before you begin.

Step 2 – From the Menu, Select “Cash Check” or Equivalent

Once you are in the ATM’s system menu, choose the cash check option. Do not panic if you do not see this same option. Some machines list this as cashback, check deposit, or other similar wordings. If you see the cashback option, then it means that you can cash the check right from the machine. However, most machines only have the option of depositing the check.

Step 3 – Endorse Your Check

When the machine prompts you to insert the check, you will need to endorse it first by signing the back. Here is an important safety tip. Never endorse a check unless you are planning to deposit it immediately after. If you endorse a check in advance and happen to misplace it, another person can cash it.

Step 4 – Insert the Check into the Machine and Verify the Amount

Insert the check into the machine after you endorse it. The machine will then ask you to verify the check amount. However, before you input the amount, double-check if you entered the right information. An error may not allow you to proceed with the transaction, but the worst-case scenario is that your account gets put on hold for an indefinite amount of time.

Can You Cash A Check at an ATM Without A Bank Account?

You will need an account with the bank if you want to deposit a check via an ATM. However, you can only do so using your bank’s ATM. Moreover, you can cash the check yourself in the issuing bank. You may also visit a cash checking store or endorse it so another person can deposit it for you.

If you are using an ATM, the bank must first deposit the money into your bank account before withdrawing it. The machine will also require you to have a debit card and a registered PIN to confirm your identity. It is the reason why you need a bank account to cash a check when using an ATM.

Cashing a Check With No Bank Account

can you cash a personal check at an atm

If, for whatever reason, you may have, you don’t have a bank account; you can still cash a check. However, you will be paying convenience fees for the service.

It usually takes a longer time to process. It also involves a bit more risk than taking the check to a bank where you opened an account. Your options include:

1. Cash It at The Issuing Bank

Banks and other financial institutions are not obliged to cash checks from non-customers. However, many will still cash it provided it is from one of their account holders. Note, though, that you need to have sufficient money in your account to back the amount on the check.

Also, the bank will require you to show some identification. Any government-issued ID will usually do.

Also, a convenience fee may be charged to you. It is usually around $8. It might not seem that much, but if you get a paycheck every week, that is a total of $416 in fees for a year. Also, you need to cash your checks as soon as you can. Many banks would decline cashing checks older than six months, even if they issued the check.

2. Use It to Pay for Groceries

Many big retail stores, including Walmart, Target, and Kmart, have check-cashing services. If you are lucky enough to live near a Kmart that has not permanently closed its doors yet, they are the best option for cashing checks.

The reason is that they only charge $1 per check up to $500 in value. However, you must be a member of their customer loyalty program so that you can avail of such service. Fortunately, it is a free program, meaning you do not have to pay anything.

On the other hand, Walmart charges $4 for checks with a max value of $1,000 and then $8 for more. Walmart also processes 2-party personal checks. However, they also charge $6 and limit the amount to just $200.

3. Load the Check into A Prepaid Debit Card

If you do not have a bank account, you may use prepaid debit cards to cash checks. However, it will depend on the amount of money loaded on your debit card.

You will have several choices for cashing a check using a prepaid card. Some cards allow the user to set up a direct deposit to load the checks into the card automatically. Meanwhile, others allow the user to use their app to take a photo of the check. It will then be loaded into their card.

Although prepaid cards are convenient, they do have a lot of fees. For instance, Walmart MoneyCard has a $2.50 charge from an ATM cash withdrawal. This is on top of the charges that the machine automatically takes from the card.

They also charge 50 cents to check the balance. Also, you will be charged around $6 per month. The good news is that it can be waived if you load at least $1,000 into the card every month.

There are also cards that charge fees to reload them, and they can be quite steep. For instance, Green Dot prepaid cards charge $5.95 to load the card. The company also charges $3 for using ATMs.

So, even though debit cards may seem convenient, it is still a better idea to open a bank account.

4. Go to a Check-Cashing Outlet

Check-cashing outlets might be the costliest way of cashing checks. However, if you need the money right away, they could be a viable choice. Some check-cashing establishments need their customers to be members.

They may also require you to buy check-cashing IDs and pay other ridiculous fees before processing your check. Some also charge a “first-use” fee. The main reason is that they know that most of their “customers” don’t go back.

Some check-cashing companies charge fees ranging from 1% to 12% of the check’s value. This means you might pay up to $120 for a $1000 check. Some companies even charge a flat amount in addition to the check’s percentage.

Aside from the fact that these check-cashing stores are costly, deceptive business practices are also imminent. The BBB (Better Business Bureau) warns consumers about a scam involving check-cashing stores.

In any case, only consider going to check-cashing stores if you have exhausted all the other options you have.

5. Endorse the Check Over to a Person You Trust

If you have a good friend or relative that you trust with an account in the bank that issued the check, you can entrust them to cash the check for you.

First, make sure that your trusted someone and the bank are eager to cash the check. In case the bank asks for identification, accompany your friend when cashing the check.

Your friend should also have proper IDs on him. It is also important that he is prepared to cover the fees that his account will be hit with for helping you cash your check.

Again, can you cash a check at an atm? You can only cash personal checks using your bank’s ATM. To do this, first, you have to deposit the money to your bank before you can withdraw. To cash other types of checks, you may visit the issuing bank or a cash checking store. Or you can endorse the check.

Reasons Why Banks Won’t Cash Your Check

can you cash check at atm

There is no guarantee that banks will cash your check, even if it is legitimate. Here are some of the reasons behind it:

1. You Don’t Have Proper Identification

It is only natural for banks to protect themselves against fraud. If a person cashing a check cannot provide proper IDs, a bank can legally refuse to process the check.

Bring at least one government-issued ID, like a driver’s license or a passport (both should still be valid) when you cash a check.

2. The Check Is Too Large

Not all financial institutions can handle large cash transactions, at least without prior notice. Small branches of national banks may not have enough cash on hand to clear a large check.

For instance, a bank can routinely have $50,000 for daily transactions. It is only normal for it to hand all, or almost all, its funds to clear one large check and then tell the other customers to come back the next day.

3. The Check Is Stale

Some banks’ checks have notices that indicate that the check is void after a particular amount of time passed. In other words, the check is stale-dated.

Depending on the bank, a check can be stale-dated in as early as 60 business days. Although the Federal Reserve considers these notices as guidelines instead of strict rules, some banks still enforce them.

4. There’s a Hold Payment Request Pending

If you are trying to cash a post-dated check and the bank refuses to cash it, it may just be following the instructions given by the person who issued the check.

An account owner can give advanced written notice to their bank to not cash a post-dated check from them. Federal law obligates banks to follow these kinds of requests as these are measures to protect the account holder.

Conclusion – Can You Cash a Check at an ATM?

Can you cash a check at the ATM? The answer is yes but note that you can only use personal checks. If you have other kinds of checks or are not comfortable using an ATM, visit the issuing bank or a cash-checking store. You may also endorse it over to a trusted friend.

If you are using an ATM, note that the money would first be deposited into your bank account before the withdrawal. You will also most likely need to pay a certain amount for convenience.