How to Cash a Check Without an ID

Updated on June 8, 2024
At a Glance:
  • When cashing a check, an acceptable form of identification is typically a government-issued ID such as a driver’s license or state-issued ID.

  • Some banks may also accept a passport or military ID, but policies can vary.

  • Foreign licenses or out-of-state IDs may not be accepted, and some banks may require additional forms of identification such as a utility bill or credit card.

  • However, it is possible to cash a check without an ID by using mobile check-cashing apps like Ingo Money.

  • Or by signing the check over to a trusted person who can cash it on your behalf.
  • Usually, when cashing a check, people use an ID to complete the transaction. Banks are required to have an identity verification policy by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which is why an ID is necessary. But there may be ways for you to cash a check even if you don’t want to use an ID.

    So, here is how to cash a check without an ID.

    Acceptable Forms of Identification (Primary)

    When cashing a check at a bank or a check-cashing store, you typically need to provide a valid, government-issued photo ID. Some locations might also request your Social Security Number (SSN), though you often won’t need to present the physical card. Photo IDs are crucial for financial institutions to combat identity theft, which impacts millions annually in the U.S.

    For check cashing, you can use either primary or secondary IDs, but some places may only accept primary IDs. Here’s a list of common primary IDs you can use:

    Driver’s License

    • A driver’s license is a widely accepted form of ID in the U.S., displaying your photo, legal name, age, and address.
    • You can obtain a driver’s license from any Secretary of State facility.

    State-Issued ID

    • Another essential primary ID is a state-issued ID card, available at Secretary of State facilities or Department of Motor Vehicles offices.
    • Note: Out-of-state IDs may require additional forms of identification at some banks, such as a utility bill or credit card statement.

    Military Identification Card

    Issued by the Department of Defense, military IDs are provided to active and retired members, as well as dependents, through RAPIDS ID Card Offices. Types of military IDs include:

    • Common Access Card: For active-duty service members, reservists, National Guard, Defense Department civilian employees, and certain contractors.
    • Uniformed Services ID Card: For military retirees, spouses, dependent children, and other authorized individuals.
    • Department of Defense Civilian Retiree Card: For civilians retired from a Defense Department agency.

    Passport Book or Card

    • A passport book or card is a valid travel document that also serves as an acceptable form of ID for check cashing in most financial institutions.
    • Ideal if you lack a driver’s license or state ID.

    Acceptable Secondary IDs for Check Cashing

    While primary IDs are generally preferred by most financial institutions for check cashing, certain institutions may accept secondary IDs as well. It’s a good practice to contact the financial institution beforehand or check their website to verify their specific ID requirements for cashing checks.

    Here are some examples of secondary IDs that might be accepted for check cashing:

    • Employment ID: An ID issued by your employer.
    • U.S. Birth Certificate: An official document certifying your birth in the U.S.
    • Social Security Card: The card issued as part of the Social Security system.
    • Welfare Photo ID: Identification provided as part of welfare benefits.
    • Health Insurance Card: Your card from a health insurance provider.
    • Firearms Permit Photo ID: An ID associated with a registered firearms permit.
    • Government Employee ID: Identification for employees of the government.
    • Auto Insurance Card: The card is provided as proof of your vehicle insurance.

    Remember, the acceptance of these secondary IDs can vary based on the policies of the specific financial institution and the type of check being cashed. Always confirm beforehand to ensure a smooth transaction.

    Do I Need an ID to Cash a Check?

    Believe it or not, but it’s not uncommon to come across people who do not have a valid identification form. In fact, there was a study done by the Brennan Center which revealed that there are more than 21 million adults in America who do not own an ID form with a photo issued by the government. In some other cases, people may have an expired ID, or their document got stolen or lost.

    In general, you need to have an ID available in order to cash a check, so you should always be ready to present it. The good news is that there are different documents that may be accepted as ID, so you need to contact your bank and find out what they use. If you have a particular document you would like to use as an ID, you can ask them whether they’ll accept it.

    Fortunately, you can also cash a check even if you don’t have an ID, so there is no need to worry.

    How to Cash a Check without an ID

    Not having a valid form of identification should not stop you from cashing a check. Actually, it is possible to perform this transaction even without an ID.

    For instance, you can use a mobile app in order to cash a check. All you have to do for that to be possible is install the app and link your bank account, prepaid card, or PayPal account. Then, you will be able to scan the check.

    How long it will take for the money to be processed depends on the particular app you are using. It may take a matter of hours or days. One of the most popular check-cashing apps that exist is Ingo Money. It only takes a few minutes for it to process your check. Other known apps include Lodefast Check Cashing app and Brink’s Money Prepaid.  

    On top of that, you can also sign the check over to a person that you trust. This way, they will be able to cash it, creating a third-party check as a result. You just need to be aware of the fact that with this method, banks will have to verify whether the original payee offered authorization for signing the check. Thus, the original payee has to present an ID.

    3 Ways to Cash a Check Without an ID

    As such, you may be able to cash a check without an ID by:

    • Signing it over to another individual
    • Using ATM check cashing if it’s offered by your bank
    • Depositing it into your own account using a bank ATM

    Each of these ways is discussed in detail below.

    Depositing and Withdrawing without an ID

    If you do not have the ID form that the bank requires, there is something else you can do with your check. You can deposit it into your account. The only thing to keep in mind is that this may take a while, so you need to wait until the check clears to gain access to your money. This entire procedure can take about 3-5 business days.

    When you are depositing a cashier’s check, you’re in luck because the very next business day, you will gain access to the funds. Also, banks like TD Bank, for example, will allow you to access the first $100 as soon as you deposit the check.

    Then, when the full amount becomes available, you have the chance to withdraw the money. What makes this even better is that no ID is required in order to make the withdrawal. The only thing the bank will pay attention to is whether the signature on your check is the same as the one on file when you withdraw the money.

    ATM Check Cashing without an ID

    Automated teller machines are generally a blessing because they allow you to deposit your cash. Nevertheless, there are some banks that also let you cash them, which makes things even better.

    For instance, if you are someone with a checking account or a prepaid debit card at Regions Bank, you can insert your check into the ATM and cash it. In an instant, you can receive up to $3,000 from the check. If there is any remaining amount, though, you have to deposit it into the prepaid or checking account.

    Luckily, no ID is required to do this, so if you don’t have any, this can be a very useful way to cash your check. You just need to ensure you have your debit card with you because it’ll be necessary.

    Signing the Check Over

    Another way to cash your check if you don’t have an ID is by signing the check over to someone else. This can be a family member or a friend that you trust. The check can be endorsed if you sign your name and then write “Pay to the order of” on it, then write the full name of the person you trust with this.

    The check will be endorsed underneath, and after this, the person that you sign the check over to will have to show a form of identification. The ID should match the name written by you on the check. Meanwhile, your ID doesn’t have to be shown. The bank will then have to decide if they cash the check or deposit the money, and then wait for the clearing of the check.

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    Can I Cash a Check Without an ID?

    Cashing a check without an ID can be challenging as most financial institutions and check cashing services require valid identification. However, there are a few alternatives you can explore.

    What Are Some Alternatives to Using an ID for Cashing a Check?

    Alternatives to using an ID for cashing a check include using a debit card linked to your bank account, having a trusted person with an ID cash the check on your behalf, or using mobile deposit services if available.

    Can I Endorse My Check to Someone Else to Cash?

    Yes, you can endorse your check to another person, known as a third-party check. This person can then cash it at their bank. However, both your and their bank must accept third-party checks.

    Are There Any Banks That Cash Checks Without an ID?

    Some banks may cash checks without an ID, especially if you’re a long-standing customer with a consistent banking history. However, this is at the bank’s discretion and is not common practice.

    Can I Use a Mobile Banking App to Cash a Check?

    Many banks offer mobile deposit features in their banking apps, where you can deposit a check by taking a picture of it. This doesn’t require an ID, but you need a bank account with the institution.

    What Is a Prepaid Debit Card and Can It Be Used to Cash Checks?

    A prepaid debit card is a card loaded with funds for transactions. Some prepaid cards have check cashing features that allow you to deposit checks directly onto the card, often without needing an ID.

    Can I Cash a Check at a Retail Store Without an ID?

    Some retail stores may cash checks without requiring an ID, but they usually have limits on the check amount and may require other forms of verification.

    What are Payroll Checks and Are They Easier to Cash Without an ID?

    Payroll checks are checks issued by employers. They are sometimes easier to cash without an ID at locations like grocery stores or check cashing centers, but policies vary.

    Is It Possible to Cash a Government-Issued Check Without an ID?

    Cashing a government-issued check without an ID is difficult, but some banks may accept alternative forms of identification or a statement from a known customer vouching for your identity.

    What Risks Are Involved in Cashing a Check Without an ID?

    Cashing a check without an ID can be risky as it increases the chance of fraud. It’s also more challenging to resolve disputes or errors without proper identification.

    Read More

    Final Thoughts

    Not having an ID could quickly make you panic, as you may think you will not be able to cash a check without showing this type of document. Fortunately, it is possible to cash it when you don’t have an ID.

    This can be done by signing the check over to someone else, making a deposit and a withdrawal, or doing an ATM check cashing with your bank if it’s possible. All in all, you just need to find the method that works best for you, and you will be able to cash a check in no time, even without an ID.

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    Rohit Mittal

    Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.

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