Despite advancements in online payments, chances are you’ll either write a check or receive one at some point. Though writing a check is a simple way of paying someone, cashing a check involves a few more steps — from deciding where to cash it to waiting for the funds to land in your account.
When it comes to checks, think of them as a method to pass money to an individual or a company. They can be used in many instances, such as to pay bills, receive payment from a customer, or give someone money as a gift.
Checks are written for a specific amount of money and addressed to the name of a person or company, known as the payee. The person or business writing the check is referred to as the payor.
When it’s time for the payee to take hold of the funds, the check can either be deposited in person or online into a bank account or cashed for immediate access.
Checks have been used as a form of payment for many years, which means the average financial institution is equipped to cash checks. Often, checks are cashed at banks or credit unions, even if the payee doesn’t have an account with them.
Cashing a check requires you to either go to the check provider’s bank and request the check amount in cash or deposit the check into your bank account. The simplest process is to cash it at a financial institution where you already do business.
Cashing a written check at a bank (or credit union) requires the following steps:
It’s helpful to understand how to cash a check online — since it’s often more convenient than in person.
Many financial institutions now offer online or mobile deposit options for cashing checks online, which means you can simply deposit a check using your smartphone with a few easy clicks. It generally requires a picture of both the front and back of the signed check and some basic information. You can also deposit a check at your institution’s ATM using your debit or credit card.
A typical worry when cashing a check is usually how long it will take. Concerns of whether you can cash a check instantly online may arise or maybe you’ve been tasked with cashing someone else’s check that has been signed over to you. Different circumstances can cause varied timing, but in general, a quick way to get the funds is to cash the check at the provider’s bank (the bank listed on the check). This isn’t always possible if the bank or credit union doesn’t have a location near you, and it may result in a check-cashing fee if you’re not an account holder.
Regardless of how you cash your check — either online or through a bank — it can take several days for the check to clear and the funds to be made available to you. The check’s money amount can also influence how fast you receive the funds. For instance, higher-value checks may take longer to clear.
Sometimes there are fees associated with cashing a check, so make sure to understand and compare your options in advance. If you need the money right away, you may be willing to incur fees. But if you’re not in a hurry, it may be worth it to avoid the extra charge and wait a few more days to receive the funds.
Your financial institution likely offers the online deposit option for free if you choose to deposit a check instead of cashing it.
Most banks allow their customers to deposit or cash a check for free in person or online, so this is your best bet if you’re trying to avoid fees.
If you’re not an account holder or need to cash a check quickly, then you may be charged a fee, which varies depending on the financial institution you choose. For example, a large check cashing store may charge a percentage of the check versus a small fee from a bank or retailer.
No matter how you choose to cash a check, make sure to stay updated on the timeline and the fees involved.
Snap a photo with the Cash a Check feature in the PayPal App for quick mobile check cashing. Learn more here.