California Check Cashing Stores Near You

Even if you don’t have a traditional bank account, checks can still be cashed at a designated check cashing store, credit union or even some retail stores which have check cashing services. Our site can help you find your nearest Californian check cashing service.

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Despite modern digital technology, checks in California are still designed to be cashed, no matter whether they’re personal checks, from payroll, tax refunds, insurance payments etc.

Use our directory to find a cash checking store in California that suits you. Some of these may charge as little as $1 and are open all day and night.

Many also offer a range of different loan and financial services to help the underbanked or those with bad credit.

How to cash checks in California

There are many different check cashing stores in California, whether you’re in Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco, and every town and city in-between. Most will allow you to cash any type of check or money order that has been legally written, while many will also offer payday loans and installment loans, currency exchange, and other financial services.

Cashing checks usually comes with a small fixed fee or one based on the amount that is being cashed. Using our directory, you can find the most beneficial service for your own personal needs.

The check cashing process is quick and easy and typically requires little more than an ID to verify your identity. You will also need to endorse (which means sign) the check, and the cashier will carry out a verification process that will take no longer than a few minutes.

Once verified, you will be asked to agree and pay the required fee. Because check cashing stores are aimed at the unbanked, you will be able to receive the money there and then in cash instead of it going into your bank account. Fees can vary from anything from $1 to 1%-12% of the check amount depending on certain circumstances.

For example, if you cash a check of $1,000 that comes with a 3% cashing fee, you will be charged $30. This may be taken directly out of the check i.e. you receive $970 in cash or you may opt to pay it in another form – though this is less common.

Some check cashing services require you to open an account or will offer the option for doing so. This may cost up to a $10 initial fee but speeds up the process in the future if you use the same store multiple times.

Who uses check cashing in California?

Most people who seek out check cashing services in California are unbanked (which means they don’t have a traditional bank account or checking account) or they need cash quickly and are closer to a store that does check cashing than their actual bank.

These services are invaluable as they allow people to get paid their wages, receive tax refunds, get insurance payouts, and cash money from friends and family, all without having a bank account.

Is check cashing legal in California?

Cashing checks in California is perfectly legal and for the most part safe since the end user receives cash. Under the California Civil Code all check cashing services must provide a full and clear schedule of fees associated with the service, along with all the forms of ID which they accept from customers.

Customers have the right to back out at any time prior to agreeing to the service and endorsing the check. Check cashers do not have to accept reversals without grounds.

What fee will I be charged for cashing checks?

The amount you will be charged for cashing a check will vary from store to store. According to state law you cannot be charged more than $3 or 3% (whichever is highest) for a payroll check (i.e. your wages) or a government check (i.e. welfare check) if you have provided ID. You can in some circumstances cash a check of this kind without ID, but you may then be charged 3.5% because of the extra risk.

If you open an account for check cashing purposes in California you cannot be charged more than $10 for an opening fee and you cannot be charged extra for an identification card related to the service.

Banks vs check cashing stores

While most people go to their bank when they receive a check, thinking nothing of it. There are some benefits to using a check cashing store. Firstly, it’s much faster as you get cash almost instantly once the check is verified. Banks, however, take time to clear a check before the money is available in your bank account to spend. This isn’t ideal if you need quick cash or are in a financial emergency.

The downside is that check cashing services will charge a fee. However, in the long run banks also charge fees for maintenance, certain ATM withdrawals, and other services that add up from year to year.

Check cashing alternatives in California

If you are one of the thousands of unbanked people in California there are a handful of other options that can help you cash a check without applying for a traditional bank account.

These include:

  • Credit Unions: Local not for profit organizations designed to help the community or associated group. These will typically provide lower fees on financial services than banks, but you will also either have to live in the area of the Credit Union, meet its criteria (which can greatly vary), or even be employed by a certain company to be eligible. However, some credit unions are designed specifically for the less fortunate, so it could be a good option.
  • Retails Stores: Often large chain retail stores like Walmart or Kmart offer check cashing services and they may even have lower rates than smaller storefronts. They will however typically be more stringent on requiring ID.
  • Apps: There are now mobile apps that can aid with check cashing, though you will need a prepaid card if you don’t have a bank account. You simply use the app’s check cashing function and send it to the card, then you use the card to withdraw the cash from an ATM machine.

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