Where Can I Cash My Stimulus Check?
If you don't have a bank account, here are a few check-cashing options to consider if you receive a paper stimulus check in the mail.
There are three ways to receive your $1,400 third stimulus check (if you're eligible to receive one). You could have it deposited directly into your bank account, you could receive a prepaid debit card, or you could receive a paper check in the mail. Over 100 million Americans have already received electronic third stimulus payments from the IRS via direct deposit. About 5 million debit cards have been sent, and the IRS has already mailed paper checks over 15 million more people.
If you end up getting a paper stimulus check, you can either cash it or deposit it into your existing bank account. But what if you don't have a bank account—what are your options? Assuming you don't want to open a bank account with your stimulus check, here are a few other ideas to consider. (Use our Third Stimulus Check Calculator to see how much you should get.)
Ask a Local Bank to Cash Your Stimulus Check
Since government checks are considered "safe," some banks will cash stimulus checks for non-customers—but you might have to pay a fee. While many banks are waiving fees for stimulus checks, it's best to call ahead to make sure. If there is a fee, it could run anywhere from $5 to over $20. Also make sure you bring at least two photo IDs with you (e.g., driver's license, passport, military ID, etc.).
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which helps regulate banks and insures bank deposits, has encouraged financial institutions to work with people impacted by the coronavirus crisis, including by waiving fees and easing restrictions on cashing non-customer checks. So, hopefully, there's a bank (or credit union) near you that will cash your stimulus check without a fee.
Go to Walmart (or Another Store that Cashes Checks)
Some large retailers will cash your stimulus check for you. Expect to pay a fee, though. Walmart, for example, will cash a government check of up to $5,000. Their fee is $4 for a check up to $1,000; $8 for a check above that amount. You can also have the amount of your stimulus check added to a Walmart "MoneyCard," which is a prepaid debit card.
Your neighborhood grocery store might cash your check, too. For example, if you shop at Kroger, Dillons, King Soopers, Smith's, Fry's Food, or another affiliated grocery store with a Money Services counter, you can cash your stimulus check for a small fee (restrictions may apply). Other grocers across the country cash government checks—so touch base with your local store to see if they offer this service.
Have the Money Credited to a PayPal (or Similar) Account
PayPal has a service that lets you cash checks and have the amount credited to a PayPal "Cash Plus" account. You can do it all on your phone or other mobile device using the PayPal app. Just take a picture of the check and send it for approval. You pay a fee if you want the money credited to your account immediately, but there's no fee if you can wait 10 days. And now for the good news—PayPal is waiving the fees for paper stimulus checks, so you can get the money into your PayPal account right away for free.
Convenience story giant 7-Eleven also has a debit card program that you can use. Anyone with a Trans@ct Card can cash a check and apply the funds to your debit card account using a smart phone. Undisclosed fees may apply, though (see the cardholder agreement for details).
Visit a Cash-Checking Store
Every city and even many small towns have cash-checking businesses that will handle a stimulus check for you. However, there's a good chance you'll pay higher fees at these stores than if you use one of the other options discussed above. For some people, though, the extra cost is worth it because of the store's hours, location, or additional services—and you don't have to have a pre-existing relationship with them.
Some states limit the fees charged by check-cashing businesses. Pennsylvania, for example, limits the charge for cashing a government check to 1.5% of the check's face value (or $21 for a $1,400 stimulus check). In California, the maximum fee for cashing a government check is $3. In other states, like Michigan or Texas, check-cashing businesses are not regulated. As a result, there is no limit on the fees businesses in these states can charge for their services.