Payroll Check Cashing: How and Where To Cash Your Paychecks

Cole Mayer
Closeup of a businessperson in a suit handing a paycheck over a desk to an employee.

Payroll checks, or paychecks, are the paper versions of checks a company uses to pay you for work done. While the general trend has been to recommend electronic transfers (using direct deposit) straight to your bank account, some people prefer hard copies. Let’s look at how to cash paychecks, and what to do if a bank is unavailable.

Table of Contents

Payroll Checks vs Personal Checks

This is different from personal checks in that they are pre-printed, rather than written by hand for a typical check. Payroll checks are generally seen as “safer” by banks and other check cashing services, as they are backed by a company, rather than just a person.

Compared to an individual, a corporate bank account is generally considered less likely to lack the funds to cover a check, and paychecks are thus less likely to bounce when cashed or deposited. Because they are typically printed rather than handwritten, there is also less likelihood of fraud. They are not, for example, just made out to “cash,” which could be cashed by anyone, and it is much harder for someone to change the amount of the check.

Where Can I Cash a Payroll Check?

Paychecks can be cashed just about anywhere that cashes checks. Your best bet is using banks and credit unions, especially where you have an account. Your bank or credit union will deposit or cash your payroll check for free. You can also use ATMs to cash or deposit your paycheck.

Many grocery or convenience stores, as well as check cashing stores and payday lenders. Some retailers, such as Walmart and 7-Eleven, will also cash payroll checks.

If it is not a bank or a credit union, you will likely incur a fee for cashing the check, and may face a maximum limit on what you can cash. Paychecks are less common targets for fraud and are written by larger companies. The lower risk of the check bouncing, such as not having sufficient funds, means cashing services are willing to cash them at lower rates compared to personal checks.

You can also use an online cash checking service. While your bank might also provide this service, there are third-party apps that will also process your check. This can be handy if your bank is small and does not offer online services, and it’s after business hours.

How To Cash a Paycheck

Cashing a paycheck is largely the same as cashing a personal check. You will need to go to your bank, credit union, or check cashing service and be prepared to present ID or your account number. If going to a retailer or grocery store, check their policies in case there are cash limits, and to understand any fees they might add on.

It’s also important to know that, unlike personal checks, there is no hard time limit for cashing a business check. However, it is important to think of the stability of the business and balancing the corporate checkbook when determining when you should cash or deposit the check. From the company’s perspective, the sooner payroll expenses are balanced, the better. Of course, as this is your main source of income, it’s also better for you to have money in your account.

Have Photo ID Ready

You will need a photo ID to cash your paycheck. This could be a driver’s license or state-issued ID, a military ID, or a passport. You might need to write the ID or license number on the back of the check.

Some check cashing services might also require your Social Security Number and Tax Identification Number. In another effort to combat fraud, you may also be asked for your fingerprint, in order to identify you should the check bounce.

Endorse the Check

Just like a normal check, you will need to endorse the back of the check with your signature. This helps prevent fraud, and the name in the payee line should match the name of the signature.

Make a Deposit or Ask for Cash

Finally, you will hand over the check, or insert it in an ATM. You can either deposit it in your account, or ask for cash. In the case of check cashing services, grocery stores, or retailers, you will only be able to cash the check. Remember that they will take a fee out of the total amount.

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