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Can I cash a check at any bank or credit union?

No, a bank or credit union is not obligated to cash the check. If you go to a bank or credit union where neither you nor the person writing the check has an account, the bank or credit union will often refuse to cash the check.

However, many banks or credit unions will cash a check if: 

  • It is written by one of their account holders,
  • There is money in the account to cover the check,
  • The check is not more than 6 months old, 
  • You are the payee shown on the face of the check, and
  • You show proper ID. 

The bank or credit union might charge a fee if you don’t have an account with them.

The bank or credit union where you have your checking account may allow you to cash a check from another bank or credit union. However, it might require you to first deposit the check into your own account. If you deposit the check in your checking account, the funds will usually be available in one or two business days.

Some banks and credit unions do provide fee-based check cashing services, including to consumers that do not have an account with the bank or credit union and who are presenting third-party checks.