When you’re struggling to get things done and get ahead, there always seem to be new roadblocks in front of you. Like when you get a job and get your first paycheck, but you can’t cash it because you don’t have an ID. Well, don’t worry, because this is one roadblock you can smash right on through.
Just because you don’t have an ID, or don’t have your identification with you, doesn’t mean you can’t get your money. I’m going to give you some suggestions on how and where to cash a check without ID so you can get your money fast. So, have a good look through all the options to find the one that’s going to be most convenient for you.
- Don’t Have ID?
- 4 Ways to Cash a Check WITH an Account
- How and Where to Cash a Check Without ID or an Account?
- Troubleshooting Problems with Cashing Checks
- Got More Financial Questions?
- Final Thought
Don’t Have ID?
If you’ve received a check from an employer, a stimulus check, or even a personal check, that’s supposed to be money in the bank. But the problem so many people run into is that almost all banks require identification to cash a check. And most actually require two pieces of ID, one of which should be a photo ID.
Just to be clear, we’re talking about bringing a check to a bank where you don’t have an account. Of course, it’s basically impossible to open a bank account if you don’t have ID anyway.
Even though this is frustrating, it makes sense. The banks doesn’t want to give money to the wrong person, so they have to cover themselves by confirming who you are. And if you don’t have ID to back it up, they don’t want to risk making a mistake.
Different banks in different states follow different rules and procedures. So before you go thinking that you don’t have the right ID or enough ID to get your check cashed, let’s look at what can be used as identification.
Banks will accept various pieces of ID, but here are some of the main ones you can usually use:
- Driver’s license
- Birth certificate
- Military ID card
- Government employee ID card
- School/student ID card
- Veterans health card
- Employer-issued ID card
- Social security card
- Health Insurance card
- Credit card
Whether a bank asks you for one or two pieces of ID, you will definitely need one with your photo on it to confirm that it’s you. And if your name’s not on it, well, it’s not an ID!
Sometimes people lose their ID or have it stolen along with their wallet. This can be one of the most frustrating situations ever, since you normally need one piece of ID in order to get other pieces. And if you have no ID at all, even temporarily, it can almost be like you don’t exist in the eyes of banks, government service providers, and corporations.
So check out the rules a bank follows, and you may be able to use something as ID that you didn’t think they would actually accept.
4 Ways to Cash a Check WITH an Account
If you have an account at a bank or an online banking service, you probably had ID when you set it up. So by connecting to this account, you can usually cash a check without having to once again confirm your identity.
1 With a Bank Teller
So you’re holding a check that is payable to you as the payee or the receiver. If you have a bank account already, most often, you don’t need ID to get that check cashed. You can walk into your bank and choose to make a deposit to your account. The teller will be able to help you with the deposit by swiping your ATM card and getting you to input your PIN with their keypad.
The next step is to sign and hand over your check. The teller will take it for their files and will credit the amount on the check to your account. Or if you want to walk away with the money in cash, they can let you withdraw some or all of the money.
But be warned!
Many banks still have a waiting period on checks. This means that they may have to hold the check for anywhere between 12 and 48 hours before crediting the money to your account. They do this to verify that the check is real and not a Catch Me If You Can style forgery, so you can’t blame them. But it sure is frustrating to have to wait for your money.
Before cashing your check with your bank, find out if they have a waiting period and how long that is.
2 ATM Check Deposit
Got no time to stand in line? A lot of ATMs these days offer a check deposit service. This basically means you can put your check into the ATM and pull out cash all in one go. Of course, you have to use an ATM that offers check deposits, because only some of them do. You can look on your bank’s website for locations of these machines, or even search for the nearest one on Google Maps.
Once you find one that will accept your check, here’s how to deposit it:
- Put in your ATM card and key in your PIN.
- Select the option ‘Deposit Check’ or ‘Check Deposit,’ which may be under the ‘Deposit’ menu.
- Key in the exact amount that the check is payable for. Be very sure you have it keyed in exactly as it should be, because if it is later found that the amount you put in isn’t the same as the check, even by a penny, your transaction will be voided.
- Sign your check on the back to endorse it if required to do so. Some machines will ask you to put your check in an envelope – there should be some provided.
- Put the check into the ATM’s deposit slot or drawer. Once that closes, the transaction should end, and the money will be put into your bank account.
- To get your cash, choose a new transaction and withdraw the amount you need.
As you can see, you don’t need to show any ID to the ATM in order to deposit your check. But take note of this. Just like with live tellers, many banks have waiting periods for checks that come in through their ATMs, too. So depending on your bank, you may not be able to get your money immediately.
3 Mobile Banking App
Once again, you need to already have a bank account to use this method. But these days, most mobile banking apps have some advantages over using a bank teller or an ATM. You don’t have to wait in line. You don’t need to travel to the bank or look around for a machine. And many banking apps don’t have waiting periods for cashing checks.
You also don’t need an ID to cash your check
So how can you cash a check using your online banking app? It’s actually quite simple.
- Log into your banking app through your phone or tablet.
- Choose to make a deposit, and then choose the option to deposit a check.
- Key in the exact amount that the check is for.
- Take clear and complete photos of your check’s front and back sides. Upload these two photos to the app.
- Key in any other required information, and then proceed with the transaction.
The amount of the check should be immediately credited to your account. Once again, there may be a waiting period, but these days more and more banks are allowing you to use your money right away. Of course, if you want that in cash, you’ll have to find an ATM to get your greenbacks, but at least using the app may let you get the money without waiting.
***Important! Don’t tear that check up or throw it away. Keep it and the photos you took of it, at least until the money lands in your account. Because if you made a mistake or the check doesn’t clear yet, you’re really, really going to be glad you held onto it!
4 Online Banking Services
If you don’t have a bank account, you might still have an account with an online service that offers money storage and transfer, like Wise, PayPal, Venmo, or more. And a lot of these services let you make payments, take payments, and, yes, deposit checks.
The procedure is different for each of these services. However, it’s generally going to be about the same as using a mobile banking app. In general, you’ll:
- Log into your account.
- Select a Deposit Check option.
- Key in the amount and other necessary details.
- Take photos of the front and back of your check and upload them to deposit the check.
Once again, keep the check around until you are sure the money gets into your account! You don’t need to provide any ID to deposit a check in this way, but keep in mind that some of these services may charge you a fee for the deposit. You should always find out about fees first, so you won’t find a nasty surprise later.
How and Where to Cash a Check Without ID or an Account?
If you just read my four suggestions and felt like there’s a real catch-22 going on, I understand. You may need an ID to cash a check, but you also need ID to open up a bank account or online service account in the first place!
But there is still an option left for you if you don’t have ID and you also don’t have an account in your name. This involves signing your check over to someone else who can cash it for you.
Obviously, this should be someone you know and trust completely, like a partner, close friend, or family member. And that person needs to have ID or a bank account in order to help you. Once you sign your check over to that other person, the money becomes theirs, and you have to be absolutely certain you can depend on that person to give the money back to you.
Here’s how this option works…
- Turn your check over. You should find a printed line or box that says “Endorsements” on it or under it.
- On this line or in this box, write “Pay to the order of” and your trusted person’s full legal name. Then sign under or next to that sentence. You have now endorsed, or ‘signed over’ your check to the other person.
- Depending on their preferred method, they can deposit the check with a bank teller, with an ATM, or even with a mobile banking app. You may wish to go along to the bank with this person to ensure things go smoothly.
- Once the check clears, that person can give you your money in cash. Once again, this can take some time, up to a few days, with some banking methods.
***I can’t stress enough how important it is that you really know and completely trust this other person. When money’s involved, you’d better be sure!***
Troubleshooting Problems with Cashing Checks
A few snags seem to come up again and again with cashing checks, whether you have ID or not. To help you out, here are the main issues people run into and how to solve them.
1 The check bounces
This is the slang way of saying that the check could not be paid because the paying account had insufficient funds. In other words, somebody wrote you a check for money that they didn’t have. At least not when you tried to cash it.
To avoid this problem, you can actually contact the issuing bank. Call them up and tell them the check number and amount and ask if the paying account has enough money in it. If it does, you can cash that check now.
2 Your check photos are not accepted
You need to upload clear, complete photos to apps so they will accept that your check is real. It’s normally best to take the photos against a plain background. The easiest thing to do is put the check on a blank piece of paper or on a plain table top. Also, to avoid shadows that may block some parts of the check, don’t stand between the check and your light source, or use your camera’s flash.
3 Your endorsement is denied
If you want to sign the check over to someone else, you have to do it properly, or it can be denied by a teller or a digital scan of your photo. Make sure you only write “Pay to the order of,” the other person’s name, and your signature. Write only in the provided box or on the provided lines. Write clearly, which generally means printing and not handwriting.
And don’t write extra messages like “I’m only signing this check over because I don’t have ID.” They won’t help!
Got More Financial Questions?
Then there’s a good chance that we’ve covered them, so search the site to find the answers to questions such as Where are the Best Cash Checking Places Near Me, Does Walmart Cash Handwritten Checks, How To Find Your Bank Of America Routing Number, Does Target Do Cash Back, or How To Find Your TD Bank Routing Number in 2023?
You may not have any acceptable ID, or yours may have been lost or stolen, leaving you without ID temporarily. Either way, you can still cash a check without using ID, though it might take more time to get your money. You can visit a bank teller or an ATM, or use a banking app if you have a bank account already. You can use an online services like PayPal if you have an account set up.
But in a pinch, you can sign your check over to someone you trust who has ID and can cash it for you. Any way you choose to cash your check, you should have cash in your hands within a couple of days at most.
Happy check cashing!