Long before the days of direct deposit and Venmo, paper checks were used for everything. Now, we don’t encounter paper checks as often as we used to, and it can be difficult to find the time to cash them during regular banking hours. So you may be wondering, “Can I cash a check at an ATM?”
Luckily, most banks have implemented solutions for this exact reason, and cashing a check at an ATM is a pretty popular practice.
Can I Cash a Check at an ATM? 5 Tips
If you plan on cashing a check through an ATM, it is important to be prepared, since you won’t have the help of a bank teller. Here are the basics of getting your money during the off hours.
1. Check Your Bank’s Website
Most banks will have information about the services that are available at their ATMs. You can check your bank’s website to see if they are able to cash checks at an ATM. Most banks will have rules about whether or not you are able to cash a check immediately or simply deposit it.
If you don’t have enough money in your bank account to cover the amount of the check if it bounces, they will probably only allow you to deposit your check instead of cashing it. This will result in a hold being placed on the money until the check clears the issuer’s bank.
Most of the time, the hold on checks only lasts for a day, so it is still a great solution if you can’t make it to the bank during normal business hours. However, if you need cash-in-hand the same day, you’ll need to search for alternatives.
2. Bring Some Supplies
Just like when you are cashing a check with a bank teller, you will need to have your account information and a pen to endorse the check. Before depositing the check, make sure that the back is signed.
The ATM should prompt you to enter your account information and your pin. If you have a debit card, you will have to insert the card in order to access the screen that provides you with the prompts. From there, you should be able to easily deposit or cash your check.
3. Ask a Friend for Help
If you don’t have a bank account, or your bank doesn’t allow checks to be cashed through their ATM, you can always sign your check over to a friend.
On the back of the check, write “Pay to the order of (your friend’s name)” and they may be able to help you cash your check through their bank account. This works especially well for personal checks, since they can’t be cashed at large retailers.
4. Find Alternatives
If you are cashing a payroll check or a government check, it may be easier to cash the check at a retailer like Walmart. Their money services department will give you cash in just a few minutes for a small fee, with Walmart boasting rates as low as $4.
If you aren’t able to get to a retailer with check cashing services, many neighborhoods have small check cashing stores that offer services like paycheck advances, too.
It’s important to note that most of these places will not cash a personal check (like that birthday money from Grandma!) because they have no guarantee that the check will not bounce.
5. Try Mobile Banking
Don’t feel like leaving the house at all? There’s an app for that! Most major banks offer mobile check deposits.
All you have to do to cash a check on mobile is download your bank’s app, enter your account information, endorse the check, and upload a picture of the front and back of the check.
They will ask you to verify the amount of the check, and that’s all you need to easily deposit your check from the comfort of your own home. However, it will still likely take time for the check to clear.
Obviously, you won’t have cash in hand this way either, but you can access your money as soon as your mobile deposit is verified, making this one of the easiest ways to deal with a paper check.
With so many options available to quickly access the money from a paper check, the hassle of dealing with banking during traditional hours is much easier to deal with. Check cashing is now easier than ever.
Cashing a check at an ATM is just one of many options in order to get the money you need as conveniently as possible. There’s no need to rush to the bank on your lunch break or worry about waiting until Monday to use your paycheck.
Looking for places to cash your check? We have the list of 24-hour check cashing places here, including banks with ATMs, grocery stores, gas stations, and more.