Money·3 min read

So You Just Got a Check. Now What? Here's How to Cash It.

accessibility, woman taking picture of a check
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
Dec 14, 2022

PSA: Checks are still a thing. And if you get one — whether it's a paycheck from your job or a personal check your grandma sent you for your birthday — you're going to need to cash it to put those funds into your bank account. Don't worry, we've got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about how to cash a check.

First, can you tell me where to cash a check IRL?

The best starting point is your bank. But that’s not your only option. The bank that issued the check can also cash it for you. The issuing bank is normally listed on the front of the check, or you can search the routing number on the check to figure it out. Heads up: Some banks may have a check cashing fee for non-account holders.

Also, there are check cashing places that aren’t banks, which can be convenient if you can’t make it to a bank before closing hours. Like check cashing stores and even some grocery stores. The downside: They’ll usually charge 1-2% of your check. Sure, it may not sound too bad at first, but those fees can add up over time.

Can you cash a check online?

Yep. You can deposit the money from the check into your bank account online. PS: Remember to check with your bank to find out if you need to follow special instructions. Like writing ‘for electronic deposit’ or another message in the endorsement section (scroll down to see what we mean). Another tip: Hang on to the check for a few days in case the bank has questions. After that, shred it and throw it away, or write ‘void’ on the check to cut down on fraud.

If your bank doesn’t offer the mobile deposit feature, you can use a check cashing app to make your deposit. This is a more expensive option, though. As in, expect to pay up to $5 to cash your check.

Can you cash a check at an ATM?

Yes, depending on who you bank with. Insert your debit card, enter your pin number, and choose the option to deposit. Next, you’ll be prompted to insert your check. Endorse the check aka add your signature on the back, then put your check into the ATM. The caveat being that you likely wouldn’t have access to the total check amount for a few days.

Design: theSkimm

Once it’s cashed, how long does it take a check to clear?

Most banks offer $200 of the check deposit immediately while the check is processed. Meaning, if you deposit a $1,000 check, it'll need to be processed before you can access the additional $800.Which usually takes one to two business days. But sometimes a bank may opt to hold it for a few more days to verify the check. If the check is higher in value than your usual deposits, the bank might spend extra time reviewing it to make sure it's legit.

Wanna be sure about how long you’ll have to wait? Timeframes are listed on the account info you received when you opened your account. If it’s been a while, contact your bank and ask for specific details.

theSkimm

Checks are still pretty common. Examples: paychecks, health insurance refunds, stimulus checks, and monetary gifts. The good news is, you've got lots of options for cashing any check that comes your way — from your bank to your cell phone.

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