If you don’t have an ID and need to cash a check, don’t worry. Usually, you need a government-issued ID to cash a check, but, with today’s technological advances or a little creativity, there are several ways around that rule. A few options are to deposit it through your bank’s mobile app, deposit it directly into your bank account through an ATM or at a local branch, or use a third-party check.
Whether your identification is lost, stolen, expired, or you simply don’t have any, it could be a source of anxiety, especially if you need to cash a check and think you need a photo ID to do so. Luckily, there are several options you can look into when you need to cash a check and don’t have a photo ID.
Today we’ll take a look at the many different ways to cash, or at least deposit, a check without an ID. This includes depositing through your financial institution’s app, your institution’s ATM, signing it over to a friend, and other methods.
How to cash a check without an ID
It’s important to note that not every way to cash a check without an ID may be available to you. A lot depends on your bank account features and other factors, but there’s certainly a way for you to get your check cashed without too much hassle, even without an ID.
ATM check cashing
If your bank or credit union offers the service, you may be able to cash a check without an ID right from the ATM. All you need to do is use your debit card, insert the check and there should be an option to either “deposit check” or “cash check.”
Select the “cash check” option and withdraw cash. Easy peasy, no photo ID needed. However, there may be some limits on how much you can withdraw.
If your financial institution doesn’t offer an ATM check cashing feature, you can still deposit checks into your bank’s ATM. The funds should be available within a day or two depending on the type of check you’re depositing. Personal or business checks typically take longer to clear than a government check, for instance.
Bank’s mobile app
There’s a pretty good chance if your bank account has online banking services, it also has the ability to make mobile app deposits. This is one of the easiest ways to deposit checks and get cash without an ID.
All you have to do is download the credit union or bank’s mobile app onto your iOS or Android device, sign in, take a picture of the front and back of the check, upload the photos, and submit. Depending on your institution’s regulations, you might be able to withdraw the cash right away.
Cash a check with your PayPal account
If your ID has gone missing, but you have a PayPal account (or Venmo and others), you can use their “cash a check” feature to cash your checks and have the funds added to your PayPal balance account. (If you don’t have one, you’ll need to set it up first.)
The process is pretty much like using your institution’s mobile app. Take a picture of the front and back of the check and upload it. For a small fee, you can have access to the funds in minutes. However, if you’re willing to wait for the check to clear, the money could take several days to be added to your account.
Prepaid card with a check cashing app
Many financial institutions that issue prepaid cards also offer a check cashing app, which is another convenient way to get your check cashed without needing an ID.
With these mobile apps, you may only be able to immediately withdraw a portion of the money or you may have to pay a fee or wait for the check to be approved. Be sure to check your card issuer rules for the details on this type of transaction.
A third-party check is when someone writes a check to you and then you sign it over to someone else (who becomes the third party) to cash it for you.
In the endorsement section on the back of the check, you’ll need to write “Pay to the order of,” then write the person’s name, and sign it yourself. Your friend can then cash or deposit the check and give you the money. Obviously, the person signing it will need to produce a photo ID to be able to cash it.
Primary and secondary IDs
Many places that require identification when cashing checks will require what is considered a primary government-issued photo ID. While you might be able to use a secondary ID, you may be required to produce two forms of ID in that case (or an ID plus a utility bill, for example).
Examples of primary ID
- State-issued driver’s license. This is probably the most common form of valid ID and is generally sufficient to verify your identity. It contains your photo, legal name, address, and age. It’s important to note that a driver’s license is not considered a valid ID if it’s expired.
- State-issued ID. A state-issued ID is essentially the same as a driver’s license, minus the driving privileges. It’s accepted pretty much anywhere your driver’s license is, so it’s a valid ID to cash checks. It also must not be expired to be considered valid.
- Passport. A passport book or passport card is an official travel document most commonly used when flying internationally. In most cases, it also counts as a valid ID when cashing checks. If in doubt, check first with the financial institution where you wish to cash a check.
- Military ID. Military IDs are available to active-duty service members, military veterans, some military family members, active and inactive National Guard members, Department of Defense civilian employees, some contractors, and other eligible members of the military community. Like passports, military IDs should be sufficient to cash checks, but you may want to confirm.
- Tribal ID. Tribal identification cards are issued by tribes as proof of membership within the tribe. What some people or places may not be aware of is that a tribal ID is also a federally recognized valid form of government-issued photo ID that can be used at airports and banks. If this is your primary ID, it’s a good idea to verify first that you can use it to cash a check at certain financial institutions.
Examples of secondary IDs
While financial institutions do typically require a government-issued photo ID to cash a check, there isn’t necessarily a specific list of what’s considered acceptable forms of ID. If you lost your driver’s license, for example, you still might be able to cash personal checks, business checks, or others with an alternative form of ID.
“Most banks require your ID be presented before they cash a check, but there’s no standard list for what’s considered an acceptable form of ID. Check with your bank or the bank that issued the check to see if you have a document that they’ll accept as ID,” suggests Huntington National Bank. One of the following options may be acceptable.
- Employment ID
- Firearms owner ID
- Student ID
- U.S. birth certificate
- Social Security Card
- Welfare photo ID
- Health insurance card
How to cash a check without a checking account
Another problem that many people face is the challenge of cashing checks when they don’t have a checking account option. However, there are ways around that too, some of which are similar to cashing a check without an ID.
The issuing institution
One of the easiest, and possibly cheapest, ways to cash a check without a bank account is to go to the bank that issued the check — that’s the name preprinted on the check. You’ll want to call first, though, because some financial institutions may not cash a check for you if you don’t have an account there.
In addition to this, they may charge a small check-cashing fee, and you’ll need a photo ID to cash a check this way. That said, if you’re tired of paying those fees, you may want to consider using one of the below accounts instead.
Create a third-party check
Just like cashing a check without an ID, you can also use third-party checks to cash a check without a bank account. Just sign it over to a friend or family member and they can deposit it in their account and hand the cash over to you.
Retail store that cashes checks
Discount department stores like Walmart and Target will cash a check for you (with the proper ID). You can also go to some grocery stores, gas stations, or other retailers.
Check cashing store
A check-cashing store is a place that, obviously, specializes in check-cashing. Unfortunately, it’ll probably be your most expensive option to cash a check without a bank account, and you’ll need a photo ID.
The amount of check cashing fees varies by state but could be anywhere from 1% to 10% of the amount of the check. The fees are also dependent on the type of check you’re cashing.
Prepaid debit card
A prepaid debit card is another option for those who want to cash a check without a bank account. If your prepaid card has mobile app deposits, just take a picture of the check and upload it.
It may take several days for the check to clear, or you may be able to get it quicker for a fee. If your prepaid card doesn’t offer mobile check deposits, you can use an app like Ingo Money (or others) that can be used to fund most prepaid cards.
If, on the other hand, you prefer to use prepaid cards instead of checking accounts, take a look at some of the prepaid card options below.
Avoiding excess fees
Keep in mind that most of these options will charge check cashing fees. The fees are usually pretty small but it still eats into your money, especially if you have to do it on a regular basis, like needing to cash paychecks.
Do yourself a favor and open up a free checking account to avoid check cashing fees. Most banks have no minimum balance or maintenance fees and you could save yourself a lot of money in the long run. You may also be able to get direct deposit paychecks (if your employer offers that), engage in online banking, pay bills, and cash or deposit checks through your institution’s ATM or app.
Does Walmart cash checks without ID?
Walmart absolutely requires identification to cash a check. The only acceptable forms of ID that Walmart accepts per its check-cashing policy are:
- Driver’s licenses
- Military IDs
- Tribal IDs
- State IDs
- U.S. passports
It should be noted that Walmart does not cash personal checks and, because of state restrictions, it does not cash checks in New York, New Jersey, or Rhode Island.
How do I cash a check anonymously?
Cashing a check “anonymously” isn’t really possible because your name is written on the check (unless it’s made out to cash). However, if you don’t want the money to land in your bank account, you can do your check cashing at a retailer that cashes checks, a check cashing store, or deposit it at an ATM or through a mobile app onto a prepaid debit card.
- You usually can’t cash a check in person without producing a government-issued ID to verify your identity.
- There are other ways to cash a check without an ID. This includes depositing through a Venmo or PayPal account, ATM check cashing services, most financial institutions’ mobile apps, or third-party checks.
- If you want to cash a check without an ID — and have instant access to the cash — you may have to pay a fee to withdraw the funds right away.
- There are also a number of ways to cash a check without a financial institution or checking account. For instance, you could use retailers that cash checks, go to a check-cashing store, or use a prepaid card or third-party check.
View Article Sources
- Customer Identification Program — Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
- Types of Veteran ID cards — U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Can I Write a Check to Myself? — SuperMoney
- How To Deposit a Paper Check on Cash App – Complete Guide — SuperMoney
- Checking Account Fees (2023) How To Avoid Them — SuperMoney
- Can You Cash a Ripped Check? — SuperMoney
- Third-Party Check: What It Is and Where To Cash It — SuperMoney
- Where Can I Cash a Check If I Don’t Have a Bank? — SuperMoney
- How To Cash a Cashier’s Check — SuperMoney
- How To Endorse or Sign a Check Over to Someone Else — SuperMoney
- What Is An eCheck And How To Send an eCheck? — SuperMoney
- Best Free Checking Accounts — SuperMoney
- Best Checking Accounts — SuperMoney