Most check cashing locations authenticate checks but do not verify the funds before cashing a check. The only way for payees to verify funds before cashing a check is to contact the issuing bank directly and ask whether the payor’s account has sufficient funds.
Below, we explain how to verify a check and summarize the check authentication policies of several banks and check cashers. To compile this information, we contacted several different locations, including corporate customer service representatives.
How to Verify a Check
The only way for payees to verify funds beforehand to ensure that a check will not bounce is to contact the issuing bank on which the check is drawn. Most banks will be able to tell you whether or not there are sufficient funds in the payor’s account to cover the check if it is cashed immediately. However, some banks may not be able to give out this information, depending on their privacy policies.
See our related research for information on what happens if you cash a check that bounces.
How Do Banks/Check Cashing Places Verify Checks?
Banks and check cashing locations generally do not verify funds before processing and cashing checks. Most check cashers authenticate checks using either a third-party system or by contacting the issuer or check maker. We detail the check authentication policies of several check cashers below.
Most banks will authenticate checks and verify funds after you deposit the check by contacting the issuer directly.
Check Cashing Stores
Most check cashing stores authenticate checks by using a third-party system or by contacting the issuer or check maker directly. They generally do not verify funds before cashing checks.
ACE Cash Express
ACE verifies the identity of the payee who is cashing the check but is not required to verify funds before paying a check. Local ACE locations may contact the issuing bank, but most banks will only confirm that there is an open and active account, and generally will not verify that there are sufficient funds in the account to cover the check.
The Check Cashing Store
The Check Cashing Store is not required to verify checks or funds with the issuing bank. It verifies the identity of the payee using a government-issued ID. Locations may contact the issuing bank at their discretion to authenticate checks. For more on cashing a check at The Check Cashing Store, see our research on The Check Cashing Store’s fees.
Check Into Cash
Check Into Cash authenticates all checks using a third-party program. Also, it may contact the issuer and check maker, if necessary, at the discretion of the location.
CheckSmart verifies checks at the discretion of the local store. Locations will typically verify the check if they haven’t seen that particular check type before. To do so, they will contact the issuer and the check maker, if necessary.
Money Mart is not required to verify checks with the issuing bank; locations may contact the bank at their discretion. Money Mart verifies the identity of the payee using a government-issued ID.
Money Services (which operates check cashing and other financial services for the Kroger family of stores) uses a third-party system to authenticate checks, including verifying the identity and Social Security number of the payee.
PLS Check Cashing
PLS Check Cashing may contact the issuer to verify checks at the discretion of the location. For more on cashing a check at PLS, see our research on PLS check cashing fees.
Walmart verifies most checks, including personal checks, using a third-party system. It also verifies the identity of the payee via a government-issued ID.