In this digital age, it’s understandable why many people are nervous about checking accounts and other services that involve printing checks. But as inconvenient as it might seem to deal with printed checks instead of simply using a card or some other digital payment system, the benefits of having a checkbook far outweigh these inconveniences.
When you have a checking account, your bank will often provide free checks as part of their services. If you don’t have an online bank account, it doesn’t mean you can’t cash a check without a bank account. You can use any local branch of your preferred bank to cash your check. As per the experts at SoFi, “Not all banks will do this, however, and those that do often charge a flat fee (say, $8) or percentage of the check amount.”
However, if you want to ensure the process is as easy and fast as possible, open an online bank account. Read on for more details about whether banks clear checks without a bank account.
What is a Checking Account?
A checking account is a standard bank account that allows its owner to make deposits and withdrawals from an ATM or a bank teller. It’s a very convenient account type since you can access your funds almost anywhere at any time with a debit card.
Why Do Banks Clear Checks?
Checking accounts are designed to facilitate payments between individuals. When you write a check to someone, they don’t receive the check itself. Instead, they receive a notice informing them of the payment amount. When someone deposits that check into their account, the bank recognizes that the funds are available.
Once the funds are cleared, the bank credits your account with the same amount. The process of clearing a check is automatic. No one clears the check; the funds are made available once deposited into the recipient’s account.
Can Online Banks Clear Checks Without a Bank Account?
Yes, you can use an online bank account to clear a check. However, you must select an “online” method of clearing the funds. The most common way to clear checks without a bank account is to use a debit card. This process is very similar to using a credit card.
Your debit card initiates a transaction and withdraws the funds from your checking account. If you use a debit card to clear a check, the money will be available in your account immediately. Most debit cards allow you to withdraw funds from ATMs, so you can also cash the check immediately if you prefer.
Other Ways to Cash Checks
If you don’t have access to online banking services, there are still other ways to cash checks. You can visit the nearest branch of your preferred bank and ask to cash your check. However, if you don’t have an account with the bank, you might have to pay a fee to cash the check. Planning ahead is important when you don’t have access to an online bank account, so you never run out of cash.
Checking accounts are an essential part of modern banking and accessible to just about anyone. However, banks generally require customers to maintain a minimum balance to avoid monthly service fees.
If you don’t have an account with a local bank, you might not be able to first clear your check before making arrangements with your bank to deposit the funds into your account. While some banks may require you to have an account to cash a check, you can use an online check cashing service to clear checks without an account.