Separating Check Cashing Myths from Reality

ELIZABETH S. | June 3, 2024

Surely, you have heard and used the term check-cashing at least once in your life. And when you think of the term, you may think of one of two things. First, you may think of what most of us do—cashing a check from a family member or friend or even a paycheck at your local brick-and-mortar bank. However, you may also have a bit of a negative connotation when it comes to check-cashing, thinking of sleazy check-cashing operations that charge you an arm and a leg to cash your check outside of a bank.

But the truth is, check cashing isn’t what it used to be. In this article, we’ll debunk some of those myths that still might be lingering in your head. After all, being in the know about how to cash a check outside of your bank, may be helpful to you one day.

A couple depositing money into their piggy bank from a cashed check

Four Common Myths (and Realities) About Check Cashing

Our goal with this article is to help set the record straight. Here’s what we think you need to know.

Myth #1: Check Cashing Businesses are Sleazy and Often Illicit

The image of check-cashing businesses as shady operations is a stereotype popularized by movies and TV shows. In reality, many modern check-cashing services are far from confined to run-down strip malls; they've moved online, offering convenient digital services. 

Myth #2: Check Cashing Can’t Be Done Online

It's a common misconception that check cashing services are outdated and can only be accessed in person. In fact, several states, including Texas and Wisconsin, now allow you to cash checks online through platforms that offer cash advance loans as well. 

These digital options provide the same level of service as physical locations but with the added convenience of accessibility from anywhere with internet access. So yes, today, online check cashing and getting a cash advance online are not only commonplace but safe, too—when you do your homework in advance.

Myth #3: People Who Need Check Cashing Must Have Mismanaged Their Finances 

Needing to cash a check quickly does not necessarily mean someone has poor financial management. Nearly 78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. With inflation rates high and the cost of goods and services on the rise, managing your budget is harder than ever. 

And as we know, especially in recent years, life is unpredictable—emergencies like medical bills, urgent car or home repairs, or even sudden necessary expenses during the holiday season can arise. 

Check cashing services offer a fast solution for those needing funds, without the waiting period that often comes with bank transactions. 

Myth #4: There is a High Risk of Fraud When Cashing Checks 

Contrary to this myth, the risk of fraud in check cashing has significantly decreased with advancements in online security and financial regulation. Modern check cashing portals implement stringent security measures and provide detailed terms and conditions. These platforms ensure that consumers are well-informed and protected, allowing them to compare different services to find the best and safest options for cashing their checks.

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