How old do you have to be to cash a check?

If you’ve recently received a check for yourself or a minor, you may be asking, “How old do you have to be to cash a check?” 

While the golden age for cashing a check is 18, some minors may be able to cash a check if they hold a joint or custodial bank account with someone who is 18 years or older. Minors can also endorse a check to a trusted adult who can then cash the check for them.

After an endorsement, the check could be cashed by a trusted friend or loved one. You would do this through their bank account or at a retailer for those with no bank account.

Luckily for you, I’ll show you how old you have to be to cash a check. I’ll even show you ways to cash a check as a minor.

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How to Cash a Check as a Minor

Minors given a check in their name have two options: cash a check through a bank account that’s held under their name or endorse the check and give it to a legal adult to cash on their behalf.

If the minor is a young child who has received a check as a gift from another adult, the check will need to be endorsed by their parent or legal guardian. The check can then be cashed through their account or a local retailer.

1. Cash a Check Through a Bank Account

If the minor has a joint or custodial bank account, they can cash the check at their local branch. They will need to go to the bank with their bank ID or card (if available), photo ID, and check. After endorsing the check by signing the back, they should cash it with the teller.

If the person does not have a photo ID, they may need to bring other proof to confirm their identity, such as a Social Security card. Check your bank’s requirements before proceeding.

2. Cash the Check Through Another Adult

If the minor does not have a bank account, they can cash the check through another adult. After endorsing the back of the check, the minor can hand it off to this adult. The adult will then sign under the minor’s name and cash the check.

This adult can cash the check at:

  • Their bank
  • The bank that issued the check
  • A retailer
  • A check-cashing store

After the minor endorses the check over to the adult, the check is legally in the adult’s possession. If you are a minor using this method, make sure you trust the adult you endorse enough to return your money to you once the check is cashed.

3. Cash a Check for Your Child

Sometimes grandma or a family friend doesn’t think the situation through and writes a check to a child as a gift instead of giving them cash. If your child has received a check, you may have to cash it on their behalf and even store the money – especially if they are too young to know what a check is.

The parent or legal guardian can endorse the check on their behalf for young children. Next to their name, write “minor.” Then, sign your name (the parent or legal guardian) under the child’s name, and next to it write “parent/guardian.”

Your best bet is to cash this check at your local bank. Alternative check-cashing locations may not accept this type of endorsement. Your bank also has the right to deny this check or to ask you for proof of guardianship. Since most children do not have a photo ID, you can present a birth certificate in this case.

If you are an adult without a bank account, you may be able to use another check-cashing method for your child’s check.

Can a Minor Hold a Bank Account?

Cashing a check is most accessible at the bank where you have an account. This helps you avoid fees and gives you your money in minutes.

Minors in most states have the option of opening a joint or custodial account for a minor in conjunction with their parent or guardian. So long as this adult signs off on the account, minors can have access to a checking or savings account that is also under their name.

The exception to this is if the minor is emancipated, in which case they can open a bank account on their own.

In these accounts, the minor can even receive a debit card to spend their money as they wish. At the same time, the parent has monitoring abilities to keep track of their child’s spending.

Some examples of bank accounts for minors include:

  • Alliant Credit Union Teen Checking Account: for teens ages 13-17
  • Bank of America Joint Account: for teens ages 13+
  • Chase First Banking: This program adds a minor-banking function to the parent or guardian’s account, giving the teen between 6-17 years old their own debit card.
  • USAA Youth Spending Accounts: for teens 9+

Note that some banks may require the minor to have sufficient funds in their account to cover the check in case it is “bad.” Check with your local bank to understand their requirements for cashing a check through a minor’s bank account.

How to Cash a Check Without a Bank Account

If you don’t have a bank account and want to cash a check for yourself or a minor, you may be able to do so via:

  • The bank that issued the check
  • Any other bank
  • A local retailer
  • A check-cashing store
  • An online app

Not all locations will cash personal checks, so be sure to call the location before making the drive there. Many locations that are not banks will restrict this service to government checks. These include stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, Social Security benefits, etc.

You’ll need to make sure the check is properly endorsed and present your ID before cashing it.

The other options above also charge a fee ranging from 1%-5% or more.

1. Cashing a Check at a Bank Without a Bank Account

Generally speaking, the bank that issued the check will likely cash it for free; however, alternative banks usually charge a flat fee between $4-$25. So long as your check is endorsed correctly and you carry a photo ID, you should be able to cash your check at any bank.

2. Cashing a Check at a Retailer

Retailers like grocery stores often offer cash-checking services at their customer service center. Each retailer has different fees and restrictions when it comes to cashing checks. Some may only offer the service to its members.

3. Cashing a Check at a Check-Cashing Store

Check-cashing stores often double as payday lenders and specialize in this field. Their fees are a percentage of your check’s total. Most will allow you to cash another person’s check, but they may have restrictions if the other person is a minor.

4. Cashing a Check Through an App

Cash apps like PayPal, Money Mart, and Transact (by 7-Eleven) allow you to scan your check and automatically “cash” it out into a debit-card format. Some, like Transact, have a physical card you can use, while others, like PayPal, debit the amount into your account, which you can then use for online transactions.

FAQs: Minor check cashing

These are some of the most frequently asked questions about check cashing as a minor

How Old Do I Have to Be to Cash a Check?

Anyone 18 years or older can cash a check at most locations.

Can a Minor Cash a Check?

Minors can cash a check if they hold a joint or custodial bank account, so long as they have a valid ID to present to the teller. If they don’t have a bank account, they can endorse the check for a trusted adult to cash on their behalf.

Where Can I Cash a Check?

Checks can be cashed at banks, credit unions, certain retailers, check-cashing stores, and via online apps like PayPal, Money Mart, and Transact.

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