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How to Cash a Cheque in the U.S.

How to Cash a Cheque in the U.S.

While it is not as common as it was before, it is still likely that you will have to use cheques at some point in your life. Electronic payment systems are not fully established everywhere, after all! An important part of knowing how to use a cheque is to know how and when to cash it.

This will vary according to the type of cheque it is. Therefore, always check what type you are dealing with beforehand. Here at OneHowTo we'll show you how to cash a cheque in the U.S. easily.

Source photograph: actualicese.com

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How to Cash a Cheque: General Instructions

Using a cheque means that the writer is asking their bank to pay a sum of money to the person named in the cheque. Therefore, there is a process that must be followed, which means that cashing a cheque can take some time - a day or so for small amounts -, even in countries like the U.S. where using this system is very common.

If you're the beneficiary - that is, the person who will get the money from the cheque - it's up to you to cash it or not. First of all, check that the information from the writer is real and correct; it should include their full name and contact information, and the bank must be able to verify it.

You should cash the cheque as soon as possible; read it closely to find the expiration date, and remember that once 6 months have passed the bank is not obliged to pay you. The writer won't be charged until you cash it, so it might be a big mistake to wait for a long time - they might have forgotten all about it, or their economic situation might have changed.

Right before cashing the cheque, endorse it. This means you have to sign it on the other side, where there is a line. You can do that before leaving your house or at the bank or ATM itself - especially if you're afraid of losing it. If you can't cash the cheque yourself, you can endorse it and also sign a written permission for someone else to cash it.

You can cash a cheque in the U.S. in different ways:

  • Cash a cheque in your own bank: The most advisable option, since they know you and have your information. Remember to bring identification and a verification of your account.
  • Cash a cheque at the bank it was issued in: You'll need to bring the cheque and ID. However, this is not advisable because they might charge you a fee.
  • Cash a cheque at an ATM of your own bank: Deposit it as you would cash money and it will go directly to your account, although that could take some days. You won't get cash right away, though; it will only deposit it.
  • Cash a cheque with a banking app: Some banks have an app that you can use by taking a picture of the cheque and confirming it.
  • In the U.S. you can also cash a cheque in large stores and retailers or in check-cashing companies for a fee, which can get quite high. It might be expensive, but it's practical and immediate, so it depends on what you prioritize.

How to cash specific cheques

Given the various types of cheques that there are in the U.S., it follows that some of them have different ways to be cashed. Here are some to which we should pay special attention:

  • Order check: It can only be cashed by the named person or the person they endorse.
  • Open, bearer or uncrossed check: If the beneficiary is unnamed, whoever has the cheque can cash it.
  • Counter or blank check: Given by the bank to a beneficiary if their cheques are not available yet.
  • Crossed or account payee cheque: It can only be cashed at the bank where the money is deposited.
  • Local cheque: It can only be cashed in the writer's city and branch, or else a surcharge can be applied.
  • At par cheque: It can be cashed at all branches of the writer's bank.

If you'd like to read similar articles to How to Cash a Cheque in the U.S., we recommend you browse around our Personal Finance category.

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