401(k) Check Cashing: Where to Go for Fidelity, Vanguard, & Others

Maintaining a 401(k) account allows you to put away money you’ve earned from your job without having to pay income taxes on it right away. The money you contribute to your 401(k) is known as a salary deferral contribution, meaning that as your savings earn investment income within the 401(k) plan, you don’t have to pay annual taxes on the investment gains.

Instead, income taxes are deducted from your 401(k) savings at the time that you withdraw them — but making that withdrawal comes with its limitations. So, if you’re considering cashing out on your 401(k) investments, we have what you need to know about 401(k) check cashing, as well as where to go for the service.

What to Know About 401(k) Check Cashing

The rules of your 401(k) account vary depending on your employer, so make sure to speak with your employer or HR representative to get a clear picture of your plan’s rules. The following are typical limitations of a 401(k) plan:

Early Withdrawal

Typically, you can’t reap the full benefits of withdrawing from your 401(k) fund until you’ve reached age 59 1/2. If you make an early withdrawal, you’ll owe income tax on the amount you withdraw, plus an additional 10% penalty tax for early distribution of the funds.[1]

Keep in mind that due to the penalty tax and income tax, early withdrawal from your 401(k) is not recommended unless it is truly necessary. While it may seem preferable to a high-interest loan or credit card debt, its taxes and fees are expensive, and it will leave you with less money for retirement. Every dollar you withdraw is a dollar taken away from your retirement income. Instead, you may want to consider taking a loan from your 401(k) if your plan allows it;[2] since the loan will need to be paid back into your 401(k), you won’t lose any of your retirement income as long as you’re able to repay it.

The early withdrawal penalty tax may be avoided if you:[3]

  • Pass away and a beneficiary receives your account
  • Become disabled
  • End employment at 55 years old or older
  • Withdraw a medical expense deduction within the allowed amount
  • Start making periodic payments that are substantially equal
  • Relate your withdrawal to a qualifying domestic relations order

Delayed Withdrawal

Starting April 1 of the year after you turn 70 1/2, you’re obligated to withdraw your required minimum distribution each year.[4]

The required minimum distribution amount depends on your account balances at the beginning of the year and your life expectancy, as determined by the IRS. If you don’t take your minimum distribution amount each year after the point that you’re required to do so, you may face steeper penalties than you would have for early withdrawal and be required to pay 50% of the difference between what you should have withdrawn as required and what you actually withdrew.[4]

Comparison Table

See the table below for a quick comparison of the fees associated with 401(k) check cashing at the places that offer it, then click any business or scroll for more information.

Establishment Business Type Fees
Citibank Bank Free for checks up to $5,000, then variable
Fifth Third Bank Bank 1% ($4 maximum)
HSBC Bank Free for HSBC personal checks; $3 for checks up to $100, then $5
KeyBank Bank $7 (1.5% at KeyBank Plus locations)
SunTrust Bank Bank $7 for SunTrust checks; 1% to 3% for other checks
Chase Bank Bank $8
Regions Bank Bank 1% to 5% ($5 minimum)
ACE Cash Express Check cashing store Vary
PLS Check Cashing Check cashing store Starting at 1% plus $1
Check Into Cash Check cashing store Vary ($2 enrollment fee)
Advance Financial Check cashing store 1% to 5% ($5 minimum)
The Check Cashing Store Check cashing store Vary
Money Mart Check cashing store Vary
CheckSmart Check cashing store Vary
Friendly Check Cashing Check cashing store Typically 10% ($3 minimum)
Giant Food Grocery store Typically $1 to $1.50
Kroger Grocery store $3 for checks up to $2,000, $6 for checks $2,000.01 to $5,000
Fred Meyer Grocery store $3 for checks up to $2,000, $6 for checks $2,000.01 to $5,000
Ralphs Grocery store $3 for checks up to $2,000, $6 for checks $2,000.01 to $5,000
King Soopers Grocery store $3 for checks up to $2,000, $6 for checks $2,000.01 to $5,000
Walmart Grocery store $3 for checks up to $1,000; $6 for checks $1,000.01 to $5,000
Stop & Shop Grocery store Vary
Food Lion Grocery store Vary
Giant Eagle Grocery store Vary
Hannaford Grocery store Vary
Dillons Grocery store $3 or $5
Fry's Food Stores Grocery store $3 or $5
Meijer Grocery store Vary
Safeway Grocery store $2.25 for every $200 cashed
Shaw's Grocery store Vary

The List

Regardless of where you have your 401(k) account, there are several places you can go to cash your 401(k) checks. We list these places below, categorized by the type of establishment; we organized the list in each category starting with the best overall options.

Banks and Credit Unions

Your personal bank or credit union can cash your 401(k) check for you, free of charge. You may be limited to immediately cashing the amount you have available in your account so if the check bounces, the bank can recover its funds. You can deposit the remaining amount. If you don’t have an account at a bank or credit union, the following banks and credit unions can still cash your 401(k) check, but you will likely need to pay an additional fee.

1. Citibank

  • Fees for non-account holders: Free for checks up to $5,000; varying fees for checks over $5,000.[5]
  • Requirements: Two forms of ID, including one valid photo ID[5]
  • Find a Citibank

Find out more in our dedicated article on Citibank’s check cashing policies.

2. Fifth Third Bank

  • Fees for non-account holders: 1% of the amount of check; maximum $4.[6]
  • Requirements: Must have two forms of ID, including one valid, government-issued photo ID. Suggested second forms of ID are a debit or credit card.[6]
  • Find a Fifth Third Bank

3. HSBC

  • Fees for non-account holders: Free for HSBC personal checks. All other checks are $3 for amounts up to $100; $5 for amounts greater than $100.[7]
  • Requirements: Two forms of ID, including one valid government-issued, photo ID.[7]
  • Find an HSBC

4. KeyBank

  • Fees for non-account holders:[8]
    • Regular KeyBank branches: $7 per check
    • KeyBank Plus Centers: 1.5% of the amount of check
  • Requirements: Government-issued photo ID[8]
  • Find a KeyBank (To find a Plus center, select “Show filters” and check the “KeyBank Plus” box. Plus centers are available in CO, IN, ME, NY, OH, and OR.)

5. SunTrust Bank (Now Truist)

  • Fees for non-account holders: Flat fee of $7 for cashing a SunTrust check; all other checks 1% to 3% of the amount of check[9]
  • Requirements: Valid photo ID[9]
  • Find a SunTrust Bank

6. Chase Bank

  • Fees for non-account holders: $8 per check[10]
  • Requirements: Government-issued photo ID[10]
  • Find a Chase

Our dedicated article has more about Chase Bank’s check cashing policies.

7. Regions Bank

  • Fees for non-account holders: 1% to 4% of the check amount ($5 minimum fee)[11]
  • Requirements: Must have a free Regions Now card — you can apply online. Requirements for the card include an email address, social security number, government-issued photo ID, and a funding source (checking account, debit card, or credit card).
  • Find a Regions Bank

Find out more about banks and credit unions that cash checks in our article about banks and credit unions that cash checks even if you don’t have an account.

Check Cashing Stores

If you don’t want to use a bank or credit union, you can usually find 401(k) check cashing at major check cashing stores. Keep in mind that check cashing stores sometimes have higher fees than banks, so it’s a good idea to check the fees at a few different places in your area in order to save.

1. ACE Cash Express

2. PLS Check Cashing

  • Limit: Varies by location[13]
  • Fees: Starting at 1% of the check amount plus $1[13]
  • Requirements: Valid, government-issued photo ID[13]
  • Find a Money Mart

Find out more in our article detailing the PLS check cashing policy.

3. Check Into Cash

4. Advance Financial

  • Limit: None[15]
  • Fees: 1% to 5% or a minimum of $5, whichever is larger. Advance Financial may charge a maximum membership fee of $10.[15]
  • Requirements: Valid, government-issued photo ID[15]
  • Find an Advance Financial

5. The Check Cashing Store

6. Money Mart

  • Limit: Varies by location[17]
  • Fees: Vary by check amount and where you’re cashing it.[17]
  • Requirements: Two forms of ID, including a valid, government-issued photo ID.[17]
  • Find a Money Mart

7. CheckSmart

  • Limit: Varies by store — posted in the lobby of every CheckSmart[18]
  • Fees: Vary by store — posted in the lobby of every CheckSmart[18]
  • Requirements: Valid government-issued photo ID[18]
  • Find a Check Smart

8. Friendly Check Cashing

Grocery Stores

The following grocery stores cash government checks, including 401(k) checks.

1. Giant Food

  • Limit: Varies based on the customer’s checking history[20]
  • Fees: Typically $1 to $1.50, but vary by location[20]
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must apply for a Payroll and Business Check Cashing card in your local store. You’ll also need a valid form of ID, such as a U.S. driver’s license, military ID, or state-issued ID card.[20]
  • Find a Giant Food

2. Kroger

  • Limit: $5,000[21]
  • Fees: $3.50 for checks $2,000 and under and $6 for checks $2,000.01 to $5,000.[21]
    • If you have a Kroger Plus Card, the fees are lower. Sign up for a Kroger Plus Card online or at a checkout clerk or customer service desk in store.
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must provide your social security number and a valid state or federal government-issued ID.[21]
  • Find a Kroger

Our related article has more about Kroger’s check cashing policies.

3. Fred Meyer

  • Limit: $5,000[22]
  • Fees: $3.50 for checks $2,000 and under and $6 for checks $2,000.01 to $5,000[22]
    • If you have a Kroger Plus Card, the fees are lower. Sign up for a Kroger Plus Card online or at a checkout clerk or customer service desk.
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must provide your social security number and a valid state or federal government-issued ID.[22]
  • Find a Fred Meyer

Find out more in our dedicated article on Fred Meyer’s check cashing policies.

4. Ralphs

  • Limit: $5,000[21]
  • Fees: $3.50 for checks $2,000 and under and $6 for checks $2,000.01 to $5,000.[21]
    • If you have a Kroger Plus Card, the fees are lower. Sign up for a Kroger Plus Card online or at a checkout clerk or customer service desk in store.
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must provide your social security number and a valid state or federal government-issued ID.[21]
  • Find a Ralphs

Find out more in our dedicated article on the Ralphs check cashing policies.

5. King Soopers

  • Limit: $5,000[23]
  • Fees: $3.50 for checks $2,000 and under and $6 for checks $2,000.01 to $5,000.[23]
    • If you have a Kroger Plus Card, the fees are lower. Sign up for a Kroger Plus Card online or at a checkout clerk or customer service desk in store.
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must provide your social security number and a valid state or federal government-issued ID.[23]
  •  Find a King Soopers

See our dedicated article for more on the King Soopers check cashing policies.

6. Walmart

  • Limit: $5,000[24]
  • Fees: $3 for checks up to and including $1,000; $6 for checks $1,000.1 to $5,000.[24]
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you’ll need a valid form of ID.[24]
  • Find a Walmart

Find out more in our dedicated article on Walmart’s check cashing policies.

7. Stop & Shop

  • Limit: None listed, may vary by location[25]
  • Fees: Vary by location[25]
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must apply for a Payroll and Business Check Cashing card in your local store. You’ll also need a valid form of ID, such as a U.S. driver’s license, military ID, or state-issued ID card.[25]
  • Find a Stop & Shop

Our dedicated article has more about Stop & Shop’s check cashing policies.

8. Food Lion

  • Limit: Varies by location[26]
  • Fees: Vary by state[26]
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you will need a valid and current form of ID. Accepted forms of ID include government-issued driver’s license, military ID, Native American tribal ID, or U.S. passport.[26]
  • Find a Food Lion

Find our more in our dedicated article on Food Lion’s check cashing policies.

9. Giant Eagle

  • Limit: Varies by location[27]
  • Fees: Vary by location[27]
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must have a valid Giant Eagle Advantage card, the name on the check must match the name on the Giant Eagle Advantage card, and the check must be endorsed in front of an authorized employee.[28]
  • Fees: Vary by location[29]
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must have a valid photo ID and fill out the check cashing application. It takes about five business days to get approved.[29]
  • Find a Hannaford

11. Dillons

  • Limit: $5,000[30]
  • Fees: $3 or $5, depending on check amount.[30]
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must provide your social security number or individual taxpayer ID number and a valid state or federal government-issued ID card.[30]
  • Find a Dillons

See more in our article about Dillons’ check cashing policies.

12. Fry’s Food Stores

  • Limit: $5,000[31]
  • Fees: $3 or $5, depending on the check amount[31]
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must provide your social security number or individual taxpayer ID number and a valid state or federal government-issued ID card.[31]
  • Find a Fry’s Food

13. Meijer

  • Limit: $1,999.99[32]
  • Fees: Vary by location[32]
  • Requirements: Checks can’t be dated more than 30 days prior to cashing. Customers may be required to submit to fingerprinting to gain check cashing privileges, and they must be enrolled in the Certegy verification system with a valid, government-issued ID. Customers must meet a seven-day waiting period before cashing their check.[32]
  • Find a Meijer

14. Safeway

  • Limit: $1,499[33]
  • Fees: $2.25 for every $200 cashed[33]
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you’ll need photo identification. Specific policies may vary by location.[33]
  • Find a Safeway

Our related article has more about Safeway’s check cashing policies.

15. Shaw’s

  • Limit: $1,000[34]
  • Fees: Vary by location[34]
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must provide your social security number and a valid state or federal government-issued ID.[34]
  • Find a Shaw’s

See our article for more on Shaw’s check cashing policies.

If you have other types of checks you need to cash, we also have the list of more than 30 grocery stores that cash checks.

  1. https://www.wellsfargo.com/investing/retirement/tools/401k-early-withdrawal-calculator/[]
  2. https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-loans[]
  3. https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-tax-on-early-distributions[]
  4. https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/retirement-plans-faqs-regarding-required-minimum-distributions[][]
  5. Citibank customer service (800) 374-9700[][]
  6. Fifth Third Bank customer service (800) 972-3030[][]
  7. HSBC customer service (800) 975-4722[][]
  8. https://www.key.com/personal/checking/key-bank-plus-check-cashing.jspCashing[][]
  9. https://www.suntrust.com/personal-banking/additional-services/check-cashing[][]
  10. Chase Bank customer service (800) 935-9935[][]
  11. https://www.regions.com/personal-banking/now-banking-and-cash-solutions/check-cashing[]
  12. https://www.acecashexpress.com/check-cashing[][][]
  13. PLS Check Cashing (855) 856-9757[][][]
  14. https://checkintocash.com/store-services/check-cashing/[][][]
  15. https://www.af247.com/services/check-cashing[][][]
  16. https://www.thecheckcashingstore.com/check-cashing[][][]
  17. https://www.moneymart.com/check-cashing[][][]
  18. https://www.ccfi.com/services/[][][]
  19. http://friendlycheck.com/products-services/check-cashing/[][][]
  20. https://giantfood.com/frequently-asked-questions/#/faqs/check-cashing-policy[][][]
  21. https://moneyservices.kroger.com/[][][][][][]
  22. https://www.fredmeyer.com/topic/money-services[][][]
  23. https://moneyservices.kingsoopers.com/[][][]
  24. http://help.walmart.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/89/~/in-store-check-cashing[][][]
  25. https://stopandshop.com/frequently-asked-questions/#/faqs/check-cashing-policy[][][]
  26. https://www.foodlion.com/customer-service/policies-and-guarantees/[][][]
  27. https://www.gianteagle.com/About/Policies/#[][]
  28. https://www.gianteagle.com/About/Policies/# )
  29. Find a Giant Eagle
  30. See more in our dedicated article on Giant Eagle’s check cashing policies.

    10. Hannaford