By Zachary Ehrlich  Wed Sep 26, 2012

Cashing a Check at Someone Else’s Bank? It’ll Cost You

CarbonNYC / Flickr source

Check out our updated article on what it costs to cash a check at someone else’s bank.

What do you do if someone gives you a check, but you don’t have a bank account in which to deposit it? Or what if you have an account, but don’t want to wait for that check to clear? You could cash the check at the bank that issued it. But in that case, you better hope the issuer is not PNC Bank or M&T Bank. They have the steepest fees — $10 — to cash a check of their own.

While it is free to cash a check at your own bank, if none are nearby and you need the cash now, your only option (aside from an independent check-cashing service) is to go to the bank that is on the check, i.e. the bank of the check writer. Unless you go to Capital One, which is the only bank that is completely free, the bank will likely charge you a fee.

However, the amount of these fees is completely arbitrary. They exist to cover the cost of the processing of the check and probably to discourage walk-ins. Of course, you can always open an account at the bank and cash the check for free.

The list below does not expose any patterns. Some banks charge a percentage of the check and others impose a limit. Some differentiate between business and personal, and still others utilize a combination of the above mentioned methods.

For example, U.S. Bank will charge $5 for any check over $50, which even includes two checks that total $50 together. And no, you cannot cash one, walk out, and then come back to cash the other one — we asked. But you can probably wait a few hours until the changing of the guard to get all your $49.99 checks cashed, or else just come back the following day.

Bank Fee Policy
Bank of America $6 (Caliornia: $5 for business checks; $0 for personal checks)
Bank of the West $5 for checks over $50, free for checks under $50
BB&T $8
BBVA $7
BMO Harris $5
Capital One Free
Chase $6
Citibank Free for checks under $6,500, will not cash checks over $6,500
Citizens Bank $7
Comerica $10 for checks over $100, free for checks under $100
Fifth Third $4 for checks under $100, 1.5% of the check's value for checks over $100
Huntington $6 for checks over $200, free for checks under $200
KeyBank $7.50
M&T $10
PNC Bank $10 for checks under $1,000, will not cash checks over $1,000
Regions Bank Free for checks under $10, 1% of the check's value for checks over $10
Sovereign $5
SunTrust Free for personal checks, $7 for business checks
TD Bank $5
U.S. Bank $5 for checks over $50, free for checks under $50
Wells Fargo $7.50 for business checks, free for personal checks

(This is an updated chart from a previous article.)

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Add Your 2 Cents

  • Rossiferous

    Charging a fee to cash a check drawn on the payee bank is tantamount to dishonor of the check — no matter how small the ‘fee’ — under the Uniform Commercial Code. A check is a type of negotiable instrument instructing the drawee bank to pay $X to the order of someone. Anything less than $X is dishonoring the instrument and (but for the extreme hassle of making the point) creating liability for the drawer (writer of check) or bank to the drawer for dishonor.

  • anonymous

    update on bank of america check cashing fees: $6 only on some business checks, no fee for cashing personal checks.

  • Amy

    BB&T did not charge me anything for cashing a check recently. Before I even handed them the check, I asked what they charge to cash checks written on their bank for non account holders and was told their was no fee. Maybe for that bank it varies by region or state?

    • Bill

      I think this practice is sickening. This is a somewhat recent (within 10 years), and it really makes me sick to think that a bank that I have an account at, is going to charge the person I am writing a check to, just to simply cash the check. It is easier today, and takes less effort than it ever did in the past, however they want to charge now. Why didn’t they charge people before they had the internet, and computers, and all of the modern conveniences they have today? I guess the recession hit the banks harder than I thought.

      • Robert bohannon

        It’s through and through corporate greed, getting worse everyday. Don’t believe me? Take a look the next time you are the store.

  • salek10

    I work as a bank teller for BofA.. Only checks over $50 dollars are subjected to a fee of $5.00 (In California I’m not aware if it’s a different in other states). no fee for cashing personal checks. On top of that, your employer (who has an account with BofA) has the option to pay for those $5 so you won’t have to. I cash many checks on a daily basis and I have cashed paychecks to non-customers for free since their employer had already cover that service.

    • http://www.mybanktracker.com Simon Zhen

      salek10, thanks for pointing that out. We’ve edited the table to include the state exception.

  • Ruth

    Even if you have a bank account with regions, they still charge you to cash a check.

  • mark

    with all there great wisdom the banks do not seam to understand they are charging there own members to write checks
    when I get a check written from a bank that has this penalty (fee) I have the penalty added to the amount of the check
    the check writer pays not me
    If you are getting a check from someone have them call the bank to see if there is a penalty before they fill in the amount and then they can add it to the total
    When I have people do this it really gets them mad at there bank to the point they have closed there accounts and went to a bank that cares about them and there money with no BS fees