CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

$1,400 third stimulus check: where can I cash my payment?

Millions of Americans don’t have a bank account that are expecting a $1,400 stimulus check. If you are one, here are some options to cash your check.

$1,400 third stimulus check: where can I cash my payment?
SHANNON STAPLETON REUTERS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has already begun sending out direct stimulus payments to eligible recipients and President Joe Biden has said that he wants to get 100 million payments out in the next 10 days. The money will be sent one of three ways; direct deposit, EIP debit cards and paper checks.

More and more Americans have some form of bank account, but there was still over 5 percent of the nation without a bank account in 2019 according to the FDIC. For these people receiving an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) they will want to consider their options in order to keep as much of their direct stimulus payment in their pocket when they cash it. Fortunately, there are several possible ways at their disposal to change their paper check into another form so that they can use the funds to make purchases or pay off bills.

Things to consider before cashing your stimulus check

Before heading off to cash your stimulus check you should consider which option would be best for you based on your needs, the fees that you may be charged and how much you will receive from the EIP. This will be the largest payment of the three so far, and some options may limit the amount you are able to cash.

It is always wise to read the fine print before signing up to any service and inquire ahead of time. Also is cash the best option or would you want to have the money put onto a debit card or use some electronic payment system to be able to use the money.

Contact your local bank or credit union about cashing your stimulus check

This option could let you solve two problems in one, setting up a bank account and safely storing your stimulus money until you need to use it. However, if you are averse to setting up a bank account, you can ask a local bank if they will cash your stimulus check, what fees they charge and if they have a dollar limit.

Banks are more likely to cash a government check like your stimulus payment. The FDIC has encouraged financial institutions to help people affected by the covid-19 crisis, including waiving fees and easing restrictions on cashing non-customer checks. Call ahead to see what fees the bank or credit union charges, if any, to cash your stimulus check, as well as any other requirements.

Check with local merchants if you can cash your stimulus check

Some grocery stores and large retailers will cash stimulus checks up to a certain amount and possibly for a fee. You can check with Kroger affiliated grocery stores with a Money Services counter, to cash your stimulus check for free, however restrictions may apply. Walmart will cash a government check of up to $5,000 but for a fee between $4 and $8. You can also deposit the money onto a prepaid debit card through Walmart MoneyCard but you may have to pay a monthly fee.

Check cashing stores can cash your stimulus check

Every city and many small towns have at least one check cashing store that also offers payday loan and title loan services. This would be a good option if you don’t have a bank, a grocery store or retailer that can cash your check, but be prepared to pay higher fees. However, the convenience and hours may outweigh the downside of the higher fee.

They may have a cash limit of $5,000 but some are able to put the money onto a prepaid debit card for you. It would be best to call ahead so you can compare their rates and judge if it is the best option for you.

Use your smartphone to cash your stimulus check

With your smartphone’s camera you have a number of services at your disposal to cash your stimulus check. Each service varies in the fee that they charge and the amount that you can cash. If you are willing to wait to have the check cashed most services waive the fee. However, always make sure you understand the fees and other requirements before you sign up.

This option can be useful for other transactions as well, giving you the ability to make purchases, withdraw money from ATMs or stores and cash other checks.