How to Cash a Check without an ID

a man taking a picture of a check for a mobile deposit without an ID

Since the end of the 17th century, checks have been commonplace in Western civilization. While innovative digital payments — such as peer-to-peer (P2P) payments and digital wallets — have dominated the financial scene over the last decade, physical checks are still in use. If you've recently received a check, you may want to convert this paper IOU into cash. However, not having acceptable identification can make it difficult. Fortunately, we've outlined what you need to know about cashing a check without an ID.

Understanding the Process of Cashing a Check

Cashing a check is relatively straightforward — as long as your ducks are in a row. The first step is to take the check to a bank, credit union, financial institution, or any other check-cashing facility. If you have a checking or savings account, you can deposit the funds into the account. Before you do either, you will endorse or sign the back of the check.

If you cash the check at your bank or credit union, there typically will not be a fee. On the other hand, many banks and credit unions charge check cashing fees for non-members. Additionally, most check-cashing facilities charge a fee to cash checks, no matter affiliation. The fee levied can be up to 12% of the check's amount.

What Types of IDs Are Required to Cash a Check?

While check-cashing fees can vary, retailers and banks will always verify you are authorized to cash the check. To do so, institutions require you to present a primary form of identification. Primary identification documents prove your identity with information like your name, photograph, and date of birth. The information on the primary ID is compared to the name on the check. The teller or customer service professional must be able to verify your identity to cash the check. Examples of the primary IDs include:

  1. Driver's license
  2. State-issued ID
  3. Military ID
  4. Passport

Driver's License

Driver licenses are one of the most common types of IDs in the U.S. This official document proves your identity and verifies your authorization to operate a vehicle. Driver licenses will display:

  1. Photograph of you
  2. Your age
  3. Legal name
  4. Physical address
  5. Date of birth
  6. Signature

Other State-Issued IDs

If you don't drive or operate a vehicle, state-issued identification is the next-best option. State-issued IDs include most of the same information as a driver's license but don't authorize you to operate a vehicle.

Military Identification Card

Another form of primary identification is the military identification card. Military IDs are issued to active military members, retired members, and dependents.


Passports are official travel documents issued by the Department of State. Your passport is an acceptable type of primary identification.

Secondary IDs

A secondary ID is a supplemental document that can help verify your identity. Examples of secondary IDs include:

  • Social Security Card
  • Firearms Permit
  • Government Employee ID
  • Employment ID
  • U.S. Birth Certificate
  • Health Insurance Card
  • Auto Insurance Card

Can I Use a Secondary ID?

Most financial institutions and check cashing facilities will require a primary ID to cash a check. However, some will allow you to use a secondary ID to cash a check. It's best to call the financial institution or visit their web page to confirm their check-cashing policies.

How to Cash a Check Without an ID?

If you do not have an acceptable form of ID, there are still ways for you to cash a check. Let's look at a few different options you can use to cash a check without an ID.

Use Your ATM

One of the best ways to cash a check without an ID is to use an ATM. For example, if you have a checking account at Bank of America, you can go to one of their ATMs, insert your card, and choose to deposit a check or get cash back. While using an ATM to cash a check without an ID can be easy, there may be restrictions on how much you can receive immediately. Some banks may only allow you to withdraw a portion of the check's face value and place a hold on the remaining amount.

Use a Mobile Check-Cashing App

Certain mobile apps allow you to deposit and cash checks without ID. For example, PayPal may cash checks instantly for account holders and offer instant access to the funds.

Use Your Bank's Mobile App

Some banks offer mobile apps that allow you to cash checks, such as:

How to Cash a Check without a Bank Account

Here are a few ways to cash a check without a bank account.

Go to the Issuing Bank

The fastest way to cash a check without a bank account is to take it to the bank where it's drawn. When you do, the teller will verify your identity, and the check writer has funds to cover the withdrawal before giving you cash. Some banks may charge a check-cashing fee for non-customers.


Many big-box retailers offer check-cashing and money services. Major retailers like Kroger, Walmart, and Safeway may cash your check for a fee.

Check-Cashing Stores

Another option to cash a check without a bank account is to visit a local check-cashing store. While convenient, check cashing stores tend to be a more costly option in terms of fees.

Alternatives to Cashing a Check

If you're looking to avoid the inconveniences and potential costly fees associated with cashing a check, there are many alternatives to cashing a check.

Ask for a Different Payment Method

One solution is to ask the payer to use a different payment method. Whether it's cash or peer-to-peer payment apps, many payment methods do not require an ID or account.

Open a Bank Account

If you do not have a bank account, consider opening one with a bank or credit union. Doing so can make it much easier to deposit money and manage it. If you are declined for a bank account because of negative items in your history, look for a second-chance checking account. Second-chance checking accounts allow you to open a checking account even with a negative banking history.

Use a Prepaid Debit Card

Another alternative to cashing a check is to use a prepaid debit card. In addition to setting up direct deposit, most prepaid debit cards allow you to deposit checks at local ATMS or through mobile apps. Then, you can access the funds.


  1. Fin - Checking out: A brief history of checks
  2. How to Endorse a Check & What Check Endorsement Means | Huntington Bank
  3. Primary and secondary identification documents – Help Center
  4. Welcome to | A guide to free and low-cost legal aid and services in Washington, D.C.
  5. Driver’s Licenses Contain Too Much Personal Info to Use at a Bar
  6. Military ID Cards Eligibility and Access | Military OneSource
  7. What is a Passport Card?
  8. Passport Card vs. Book: 4 Key Differences - NerdWallet
  9. What Is a Third-Party Check? | Nasdaq
  10. 5 Ways To Cash A Check Without A Bank Account | Bankrate
  11. What Is Second Chance Banking? - Experian
  12. How Can I Use a Prepaid Debit Card?

Recent Posts

How Does Credit Card Interest Work?

The importance of your credit score can't be overstated. Lenders, employers, apartment landlords, and retailers use your credit score to determine eligibility. A high credit score can open many doors and serve your financial needs for several years. One way to potentially establish or improve your credit score is by using a secured or unsecured credit card. And if you have a credit card, you must understand how credit card interest works. Let's take a closer look at how credit card interest works.

Read More >
Debits vs Credits in Accounting

If you've read the most basic accounting book, you've likely heard of debits and credits. While the terms may be familiar, they take on an entirely new meeting in accounting. For example, when you slide your bank debit card, you remove money from your account. In this instance, debits decrease your asset account balance. On the other hand, if the bank makes an error or decides to reverse fees charged to your account, they will issue you a credit. In personal finance, a credit would increase the balance in your asset account. However, it's almost the exact opposite when it comes to accounting. Let's take a closer look at the debit vs credit in accounting.

Read More >
What State Has the Highest Minimum Wage?

In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and a national minimum wage to provide a standard of living to protect the well-being and health of American workers. Today, over 143 million American workers are covered by the FLSA enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Let's explore the federal minimum wage and which state has the highest minimum wage.

Read More >

Apply Quickly & Securely

Apply Quickly
& Securely

Fast, short and
secure application
Instant approval
Choose how much
cash you need
Money in your account
as early as tomorrow*