Check Cashing in Berkeley, CA Near You
Although most financial services have moved online, if you receive a check in Berkeley it will still have to be cashed, even if you do not have a bank account. This can be done at check-cashing stores or at one of many retail stores that offer check cashing services. This will usually come with a fee but allows you to access the cash right away. Our directory of check-cashing services in Berkeley, CA will help you find the solution most suitable for you.
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How check cashing works in Berkeley
There is an abundance of check cashing stores in Berkeley and wider California, so whether you're going straight from work with your wages or traveling from home with a check you've received by post, there will usually be a store that does check cashing near you.
Most designated check cashing stores provide the option to cash any type of check (including money orders) and offer a range of other financial services, such as currency conversion and payday loans that are helpful to those that don't have a relationship with a traditional bank.
All you typically have to do is show a designated form of identification to prove it's you and the process will be completed in minutes. Simply sign the back of the check (endorsement) and the cashier will register it in their system.
First, however, you must agree to the check cashing fee which must be disclosed to you before the process is finalized. Check cashing services are marketed to those who are unbanked, so you'll be able to get the money in the form of cash rather than it being deposited into your bank account.
Fees can vary greatly depending on the size of the check but typically doesn't go higher than 12% of the amount cashed. This is simply taken out of the cash given to you.
E.g. if the fee is 3% and your check is for $1,000, you will receive $970 as $30 is taken for the fee. You may opt to pay the fee using a different payment method, but this is uncommon since there is cash right there to be used.
If you will be regularly using the same check cashing store, you might opt for a membership that can cost a one-time fee of up to $10 but will speed up the verification process in the future and, in some cases, lower fees.
Who can use check cashing in Berkeley, CA?
As noted, check cashing in Berkeley, CA, is usually a service needed by the 'unbanked' or 'underbanked', who therefore cannot receive wages or other money by bank transfer or other digital forms of deposit.
It can also be of use to those who need to cash a check quickly and get the money right away, even if they have a bank account. Anyone is permitted to use a check cashing store and the business is regulated by California state law.
Is check cashing legal in Berkeley?
Yes, cashing checks at a licensed store is totally legal and safe in Berkeley and as long as you receive the cash right away, you shouldn't have much to worry about. To protect consumers, the California Civil Code states that check cashing businesses should display the fees publicly alongside the forms of ID that are required.
If you do not agree to the fee, you are free to walk away. The process is only legally binding once you have signed the check, handed it over, and agreed to the fee. At this point it is unlikely for a check to be reversed simply because the customer has changed their mind, so make sure you understand the process before proceeding.
Check cashing is available for the following Berkeley zip codes: 94702, 94703, 94704, 94705, 94707, 94708, 94709, 94710, 94720, 94712, 94701.
Check cashing fees in Berkeley
In Berkeley, check cashing stores have the right to set their own fee within California's state regulations. These stipulate that if the check is for your wages (i.e. a payroll check) or a welfare check from the government, you cannot be given a fee higher than $3 or 3%, depending on which method produces the highest fee.
The only time the fee can be higher than this is if you opt to cash without producing ID, which is a slight risk for the cashier. In this circumstance, they can charge you 3.5%.
Furthermore, you can be charged a maximum of $10 to open a check cashing account which might come with an ID card for faster processing.
Difference between cash checking stores and banks
Most people who have a bank account will simply cash their check at the bank, so all their money is in one place, and they don't have to carry around cash. However, check cashing services do have some benefits over banks. The first is that they're quicker than banks.
Once your ID is verified, you will receive the cash then and there. Banks can take several days to process a check and for it to appear in your balance. If you are in an emergency and need money fast, cashing a check outside of your bank is therefore a better option.
The negative is that check cashing stores charge you a fee, though this is relatively small.
Alternatives to check cashing stores in Berkeley
If you are unbanked but still don't want to use a traditional check cashing store, there are some alternatives in Berkeley that may be of use.
- Apps: Mobile apps are starting to pop up that allow you to cash checks to a prepaid card, which you can then use at the ATM. However, the first time you do this will obviously involve having to wait for the card itself to arrive.
- Retail Outlets: You might not realize, but many large retail outlets like Kmart and Walmart offer check cashing with very low rates. They will usually require ID though.
- Credit Unions: A credit union is a type of financial services organization that is owned by its members and typically operates to benefit each other rather than a corporate owner. This means fees for cashing checks might be low, but you'll have to shop around to find a Union that suits you and they are not as widely available as other solutions.
List of Check Cashing Companies in Berkeley, CA:
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