Cheque cashing services can let you cash in a cheque instantly but charge significant fees for the service. You will usually need to pay a transaction fee plus a percentage of the amount you’re cashing in. In some instances, taking out a payday loan could mean you pay less in fees than a cheque cashing service, explained in this section.
What is cheque cashing?
Cheques usually take three business days to clear with banks, but cheque cashing services can clear a cheque within minutes. This service is generally provided in exchange for a fee, as the lender providing the service is taking a risk by forwarding the money before the cheque clears.
How does it work?
If someone has a cheque that needs clearing immediately, cheque cashing offers the option of paying a fee to bypass the typical three-day waiting period. There’s a waiting period because a cheque acts like written instructions between two financial institutions. The waiting period gives both institutions time to make sure the payment is completed correctly.
Lenders who provide cheque cashing services essentially forward the money without guaranteeing that the cheque will not be dishonoured. Cheques are dishonoured for several reasons, although a common one is that there are insufficient funds in the payer’s account. Cheque cashing providers will forward the money for a fee, usually, a percentage of the cheque amount, as they wait for the cheque to clear. Applicants must provide 100 points of identification.
Types of cheques that can be used
Different service providers will have other criteria but may generally honour the following types of cheques:
- Business cheques
- Company cheques
- Bank cheques
- Account payee cheques
- Government cheques
- Benefit cheques
- Gaming and lottery cheques
- Insurance cheques
Which lenders can cash my cheque?
The following lenders have branches and offer cheque cashing services:
- Cash Converters
- OK Money
- Cash Stop
- Money Plus
Options for cashing a cheque
- Take the cheque directly to the bank/branch and request the money to be deposited in an account OR deposit the cheque at the bank’s ATM. Both of these options mean there will be a wait for the cheque to clear, which can range from three to five days. If the funds are required urgently, there are options to request a special clearance, but this may incur a fee and depend on the bank.
- Alternatively, you can take the cheque to be cashed at a cheque cashing retailer, which may provide instant access to the funds but will also incur a fee.
Pros and cons of cheque cashing
- Faster access to money. The cheque amount will be available immediately, instead of waiting three days to clear at the bank.
- No bank account required. Cheques can be paid out in cash, which means a bank account isn’t necessary to receive the money.
- Transparent fees. Cashing cheques does cost a price, but this will be upfront.
- High fees. This may be a percentage of the cheque amount or a fixed amount. The price will vary between different providers and can often be relatively high.
- Restrictions. Some providers may refuse certain types of cheques or limit the amounts that can be cashed out.
How to compare cheque cashing services
Cheque cashing providers can be an option for you to consider if you need a shorter turnaround time for your cheque, but you must choose the right provider. Here are a few things to keep in mind when comparing your options:
- Turnaround time. As this is likely to be the main reason you’re opting for cheque cashing services, you should check how quickly you can expect to receive the money. Some lenders may be able to provide you with the cash within a few minutes, while others may take longer.
- Fees. All cheque cashing providers are likely to charge fees, but the question is how much? Some may charge you a flat price, while others may charge you a percentage of the cheque amount.
- Restrictions. Some providers may have regulations regarding the kinds of cheques they’ll cash, whether business, personal, government or another type. They’re also likely to have limits on the cheque amount they’re able to cash. Check these restrictions before you apply.
Alternatives to cheque cashing
A payday loan may be an alternative to cheque cashing if you need access to money straight away. Payday loans are short term loans and can provide a fast turnaround on cash if required. However, it’s essential to know that payday loans are usually high cost and must be paid back within a relatively short time frame, so compare all the options before applying.
Frequently asked questions
Our cheque cashing services safe?
Generally, it’s safe to use a cheque cashing service, but it’s essential to be clear on what all the fees are before committing to the service as prices can vary dramatically.
How much as the fees?
This will vary depending on the service provider. Some charge a flat fee, while others will charge a percentage of the cheque amount.
What’s needed to use the service?
This will also vary by provider, but generally, identification is required. The cheque, personal identification, and if it’s a cheque being cashed on behalf of a business or company, a business registration may also be required.
What is the
purpose of crossing a cheque ‘A/C Payee Only’ or ‘A/C Payee’?
Adding a crossing to a cheque increases its security in that it cannot be cashed at a bank counter. Still, it must be paid into an account in precisely the same name as that which appears on the ‘payee’ line of the cheque (i.e. the person who has received the cheque, who is legally the “payee” and “holder” of the cheque).
What does the term “payee” mean?
It means the intended recipient of the cheque – the person or business to whom the payer makes the cheque payable.
Are all cheques crossed?
No. Cheques that are not crossed still exist, but they are no longer commonplace because of their lack of security. A cheque that has no crossing at all is called an open cheque.
If crossing a cheque is a fraud protection measure, then why aren’t all cheques crossed?
It is standard practice for banks to issue chequebooks with cheques crossed ‘A/C Payee Only’ or ‘A/C Payee”, but ultimately this comes down to customer choice. Customers who specifically request a chequebook with open cheques may have good reasons for doing so, but their bank will explain the possible risks.
Can a crossed cheque be endorsed by the recipient and paid into an account other than the one named in the payee line?
Not if it is crossed ‘A/C Payee Only’ or ‘A/C Payee’. The Cheques Act 1992 and Section 81 of the Bills of Exchange Act 1882 give statutory power to the ‘A/C Payee’ and ‘A/C Payee Only’ crossing when it is used. The legislation means that a cheque that bears the ‘A/C Payee’ or ‘A/C Payee Only’ crossing can only be paid into an account in the name of the cheque receiver precisely as it appears on the cheque.
Can a crossed cheque be ‘uncrossed’ by the payer – or the recipient of the cheque – (for instance, by writing ‘crossing cancelled’ on the cheque) and then cashed over the counter by the recipient?
No, the recipient of the cheque (sometimes called the “payee”) cannot remove a crossing from a cheque, nor can the cheque be transferred over to a third party. It cannot be cashed over the counter by the payee; it must be paid into an account in the same name as that appearing in the payee line of the cheque.
Legally, if you have written the cheque, you are entitled to ‘uncross’ the cheque by writing CROSSING CANCELLED over the crossing and then signing it, but it is not recommended that this is done. It removes your legal protection against fraud and loss.
Could someone who has a cheque cancel the crossing, change the recipient’s name and initial the cheque to pay it into an account it’s not intended for?
Not where the cheque is crossed. With regards to a cheque crossed ‘A/C Payee Only’ or ‘A/C Payee,’ the relevant legislation means that a cheque that bears one of these crossings can only be paid into an account in the name of the person who has received the cheque (the payee) precisely as it appears on the cheque.
Any alteration or attempt at the alteration of the crossing would be treated with caution by a bank as it could be fraudulent.
Is there a difference between a cheque being crossed and marked ‘A/C Payee Only’ or ‘A/C Payee’ instead of just being crossed and having no wording printed on it?
There are four types of crossing with varying degrees of security. Still, the most secure and the most commonly used travelling today is the ‘A/C Payee’ or ‘A/C Payee Only’ scratching, and it is the only crossing backed by legislation.
The four different types of crossing are:
- The ‘A/C Payee Only’ or ‘A/C Payee’ crossing: This crossing is a protection against fraud and indicates that the cheque must be paid into an account in the name of the payee precisely as that name appears on the cheque. This crossing is the only crossing to carry statutory force wherever it is present.
- General Crossing: This crossing is also a protection against fraud and is placed on the cheque by the payer (legally the “drawer” or payee (legally a “holder”) and indicates that the cheque must be paid to a banker. However, this crossing carries NO statutory force.
- Particular Crossing: This crossing provides another layer of security against fraud. The specific hub requires the cheque to be paid not simply to any banker but the named banker. This crossing carries NO statutory force.
- Not Negotiable: This crossing is used to indicate that the cheque should not be transferred from one person to another. It is not commonly used nowadays, replaced by the more secure ‘A/C Payee’ or ‘A/C Payee’ only crossing. This crossing carries NO statutory force.
What is the reason for having a cheque that is crossed but doesn’t have ‘A/C Payee Only’ or ‘A/C Payee’ printed on it?
This describes a general crossing, which was the forerunner of the ‘A/C Payee Only’ crossing. A general crossing does not have the benefit of the statute and can be ‘opened’ (i.e. deleted) by the payer (i.e. the “drawer” in legal terminology) of the cheque provided he adds his full signature to the act of opening/deleting the crossing. In practice, today’s bank cashier is likely to view such amendments with caution, given that they are rarely seen.
Is there any situation where a crossed cheque can be paid into the account of someone other than the named payee or recipient?
Not for a cheque crossed ‘A/C Payee Only’ or ‘A/C Payee’. The Cheques Act 1992 and Section 81 of the Bills of Exchange Act 1882 give statutory power to the ‘A/C Payee Only’ or ‘A/C Payee’ crossing when it is used. The legislation means that a cheque that bears the ‘A/C Payee Only’ crossing can only be paid into an account in the name of the person who has received the cheque (i.e. the payee) precisely as it appears on the cheque.
If I have received a cheque made payable to me that isn’t crossed or marked ‘A/C Payee Only’ or ‘A/C Payee’, can I travel it and write ‘A/C Payee’ on it myself?
Yes. Section 77(2) of the Bills of Exchange Act 1882 allows explicitly, using, cheque’s face value if the receiver (i.e. payee or holder) of an uncrossed cheque adds a crossing. Moreover, the addition of the words ‘A/C Payee Only’ should not be considered a material alteration of the cheque. If you cross the cheque and write ‘A/C Payee only’, you merely ensure that payment is made for your account.
If a cheque crossed ‘A/C Payee Only’ or ‘A/C Payee’ has to be paid into a named account, how can I cash a cheque over the counter?
It may be possible for a customer to cash one of their own crossed cheques over a bank counter if they go into their bank as the bank will be able to identify them as one of their customers, but this service is not always offered. Customers would generally find it more convenient to obtain cash over the counter using their debit card.
Can a crossed cheque be cashed at a cheque cashing shop such as ‘The Money Shop’?
Cheque cashing shops have special arrangements with their bank to pay in cheques to their account where the cheques themselves are made payable to other people. The cheque cashing agencies will have already cashed the cheques for the person who has received the cheque (the person named in the payee line). There is a charge for this service, which means that the person to whom the cheque was made payable will get back less cash than the cheque’s face value.
The cheque cashing agency will have lost the protection of the crossing, and the arrangement with its bank is that it is liable for any loss if these cheques are unpaid (i.e. they ‘bounce’).
Strictly speaking, cash payment should not be made for any crossed cheque. If cash payment is made for any crossed cheque, the protection is not available to the paying banker as per the negotiable instruments act.
However, the bank manager can, at his discretion, make cash payment for a crossed cheque, taking into consideration the following factors:
- The payee is a well-known customer of the bank
- The cheque is payable to the customer only
- There is no doubt about the genuineness of the person who is receiving the money for the cheque.
In case of improper payment, who can question the bank?
- Only the payee, as mentioned in the cheque, is entitled to the payment
- On behalf of the payee, the drawer of the cheque can file a complaint against the bank
- As mentioned in the preceding paragraph, when payment has been made to the well-known customer who holds the title of a payee, there is no question of any wrong amount, and the percentage of any claim on account of incorrect payment is almost nil