401(k) Check Cashing: Where to Go for Fidelity, Vanguard, Other Originators

You’ll need to know about 401(k) check cashing if you get distributions from a 401(k) account by check. 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, keep reading: There are a few things you’ll want to make sure you know about the process.

What to Know About 401(k) Check Cashing

The rules of your 401(k) account vary depending on employers, 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, according to Wells Fargo’s 401(k) early withdrawal costs calculator.

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. You may instead want to consider taking a loan from your 401(k) if your plan allows it; 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:

  • Die 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

After April 1 of the year after the year you turn 70 1/2, you’re obligated to withdraw your required minimum distribution each year, according to the IRS Retirement Plan and IRA Required Minimum Distributions FAQs page.

That 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.

Places to Go for 401(k) Check Cashing

Where can I cash a Fidelity 401(k) check? Where can I cash a Vanguard 401(k) check? Regardless of where you have your 401(k) account, here’s where you can go for 401(k) check cashing:

Banks and Credit Unions

Your personal bank or credit union can cash your 401(k) check for you, free of charge. Even if you don’t have an account at a bank or credit union, the following banks and credit unions can cash your 401(k) check. Note that if you are not a member of the bank where you cash the check, you will likely have to pay an additional check cashing fee.

Chase Bank

  • Fees for non-account holders: $8 per check
  • Requirements: Valid government issued, photo ID.
  • Typical hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Saturday.
  • Source: Customer service
  • Find your nearest Chase Bank.

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: Chase Bank’s Check Cashing Rules in Plain Language

Citibank

  • Fees for non-account holders: Free for checks up to $5,000; varying fees for checks over $5,000.
  • Requirements: Two forms of ID, including one valid photo ID.
  • Typical hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday.
  • Source: Customer service
  • Find your nearest Citibank.

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: Citibank’s Check Cashing Policy in Detail

Fifth Third Bank

  • Fees for non-account holders: 1% of the amount of check; maximum $4.
  • 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.
  • Typical hours of operation: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Saturday.
  • Source: Customer service
  • Find your nearest Fifth Third Bank.

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.
  • Requirements: Two forms of ID, including one valid government-issued, photo ID.
  • Source: Customer service
  • Typical hours of operation: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday.
  • Find your nearest HSBC.

KeyBank

  • Fees for non-account holders: Vary by location.
    • Regular KeyBank branches: $7 per check.
    • KeyBank Plus Centers: 1.5% of the amount of check.
  • Requirements: Valid government issued, photo ID.
  • Typical hours of operation: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
  • Source: KeyBank Plus Check Cashing page and customer service
  • Find your nearest 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.)

Regions Bank

  • Fees for non-account holders: 1.5% of the check amount, with a minimum fee of $5.
  • Requirements: Must have a free Regions Now card  — you can apply with the online application for a Regions Now card. Requirements for the card include an email address, social security number, valid government issued, photo ID, and a funding source (checking account, debit card, or credit card).
  • Source: Regions Bank check cashing webpage
  • Typical hours of operation:
    • Lobby: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday.
    • Drive-thru: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Saturday.
  • Find your nearest Regions Bank.

SunTrust Bank

  • 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.
  • Requirements: Valid photo ID
  • Source: SunTrust Bank — Cash Checks Services and customer service.
  • Typical hours of operation: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Saturday.
  • Find your nearest SunTrust Bank.

Learn more about banks and credit unions that cash checks for non-account holders through our article, 19 Banks That Cash Checks Even If You Don’t Have an Account.

Check Cashing Companies

If you don’t want to use a bank or credit union, you can usually have luck with 401(k) check cashing at most check cashing companies. 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.

ACE Cash Express

Advance Financial

The Check Cashing Store

Check Into Cash

CheckSmart

  • Limit: Varies by store — posted in the lobby of every CheckSmart.
  • Fees: Vary by store — posted in the lobby of every CheckSmart.
  • Requirements: Valid government-issued photo ID.
  • Source: Customer service.
  • Find your nearest Check Smart.

Friendly Check Cashing

Money Mart

  • Limit: Varies by location.
  • Fees: Vary by check amount and where you’re cashing it. Call or visit a store to ask about their specific check to find out the fees.
  • Requirements: Two forms of ID, including a valid, government-issued photo ID.
  • Source: Money Mart Check Cashing and customer service 
  • Find your nearest Money Mart

PLS Check Cashing

Grocery Stores

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

Dillons

  • Limit: Up to $5,000
  • Fees: $3 or $5, depending on check amount.
  • 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.
  • Source: Dillons —  Money Services
  • Find your nearest Dillons

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: Dillons Check Cashing and Money Order Policies in Plain Language

Food Lion

  • Limit: Varies by location
  • Fees: Fees will vary by state.
  • 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.
  • Source: Food Lion Policies
  • Find your nearest Food Lion

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: Food Lion’s Check Cashing Rules Plain & Simple

Fred Meyer

  • Limit: $5,000
  • Fees: $3.50 for checks $2,000 and under and $6 for checks $2,000.01 – $5,000.
    • These fees and limits may vary based on location
    • If you have a Kroger Plus Card, it’s $3 for checks $2,000 and under; $5.50 for checks $2,000.01 – $5,000. 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.
  • Source: Fred Meyer — Money Services
  • Find your nearest Fred Meyer

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: Fred Meyer’s Check Cashing Policy, Your Questions Answered

Fry’s Food Stores

Giant Eagle

  • Limit: Varies by location.
  • Fees: Vary by location.
  • 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.
  • Source: Giant Eagle Policies
  • Find your nearest Giant Eagle

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: Giant Eagle’s Check Cashing Policy in Plain Language

Giant Food

  • Limit: Varies based on customer’s checking history.
  • Fees: $1 to $1.50, but varies by location.
  • 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.
  • Source: Giant Food FAQs
  • Find your nearest Giant Food

Hannaford

  • Limit: Varies by location.
  • Fees: Vary by location.
  • Requirements: To cash a check, you must have valid and current photo ID and fill out the check cashing application. It takes about five business days to get approved.
  • Source: Hannaford check cashing
  • Find your nearest Hannaford

King Soopers

  • Limit: $5,000
  • Fees: $3.50 for checks $2,000 and under and $6 for checks $2,000.01 – $5,000.
    • These fees and limits may vary based on location
    • If you have a Kroger Plus Card, it costs $3 for checks $2,000 and under and $5.50 for checks $2,000.01 – $5,000. 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.
  • Source: King Soopers — Money Services 
  •  Find your nearest King Soopers

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: The King Soopers Check Cashing Rules, Plain & Simple

Kroger

  • Limit: $5,000
  • Fees: $3.50 for checks $2,000 and under and $6 for checks $2,000.01 – $5,000.
    • These fees and limits may vary based on location
    • If you have a Kroger Plus Card, it costs $3 for checks $2,000 and under and $5.50 for checks $2,000.01 – $5,000. 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.
  • Source: Kroger — Money Services
  • Find your nearest Kroger

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: Kroger’s Check Cashing Rules Explained

Meijer

  • Limit: $1,999.99
  • Fees: Vary by location.
  • 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.
  • Source: Meijer Frequently Asked Questions
  • Find your nearest Meijer

Ralphs

  • Limit: $5,000
  • Fees: $3.50 for checks $2,000 and under and $6 for checks $2,000.01 – $5,000.
    • These fees and limits may vary based on location
    • If you have a Kroger Plus Card, it costs $3 for checks $2,000 and under and $5.50 for checks $2,000.01 – $5,000. 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.
  • Source: Ralphs — Money Services
  • Find your nearest Ralphs

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: The Ralphs Check Cashing Rules

Safeway

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

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: Safeway’s Check Cashing — Your Questions, Answered

Shaw’s

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

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: Shaw’s Check Cashing Policy Details

Stop & Shop

  • Limit: None listed, may vary by location.
  • Fees: Vary by location.
  • 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.
  • Source: Stop & Shop’s FAQs
  • Find your nearest Stop & Shop

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: Stop & Shop’s Check Cashing Rules Explained

Walmart

Get other questions answered in our dedicated article: Walmart’s Check Cashing Policy in Plain Language

Learn more about grocery store check cashing through our article, 20 Grocery Stores That Cash Checks: Personal, Payroll, Insurance, Etc.

In Summary

Early and delayed withdrawal from a 401(k) account can come with some serious penalties. But if you decide it’s the right time to make a withdrawal, you can cash your 401(k) check at a selection of banks, credit unions, grocery stores, and check cashing companies. Keep in mind that if you don’t do your 401(k) check cashing at your bank or credit union, you will likely pay a fee for this service.

Suggested Next Article: Here’s What the NFL Retirement Plan Pays

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