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 (California: $5 for business checks; $0 for personal checks)
Bank of the West $5 for checks over $50, free for checks under $50
BBVA Compass $7
BMO Harris Bank $5
Capital One Free
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 Bank $4 for checks under $100, 1.5% of the check's value for checks over $100
Huntington Bank $6 for checks over $200, free for checks under $200
M&T Bank $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 Bank $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.)