Have you ever wondered how to write a check payable to cash? What are the risks of writing a check payable to cash, and how do you deposit a check like this? Why would you write one of these checks in the first place, anyway? In this article, we address all the common questions of moving money between your accounts by writing a check for yourself. We’ll explain exactly how to write a check payable to cash, how to deposit one of these checks, and what other options are available as an alternative to this method.

What’s Covered in This Article:

  • What is a check payable to cash?

  • Why would you write one?

  • How to write a check for cash

  • How do you cash/deposit a such a check?

  • What are the risks with making a check payable to cash?

  • What are some alternatives to writing a check for cash?

There are many ways to move funds between your bank accounts. One way is to make a check written to cash. Here’s how to write a check for cash and how to cash it.

What Is a Check Payable to Cash?

A check payable to cash is exactly as it sounds: a check that has been made payable to “cash”. Instead of a recipient’s name, you write “cash”. Checks written to cash are easy for withdrawing cash or to transfer funds between bank accounts. For example, if you want to move $50 from your checking to your savings account, you can write a check to cash to withdraw the desired amount. Making a check payable to cash is also an option if you don’t know the full or exact name of the payee: they can still deposit the check even if their name isn’t on it. Be aware, though, that once you write a check to cash, anyone can use it. These checks are convenient, but for this reason, also risky. Once you’ve written a check to cash, treat it like actual cash and make sure you don’t lose it.

You can also move funds by writing a check to yourself. Simply put your name on the “pay to the order of” line. You can then cash the check, or deposit it into a different account. When cashing a check you’ve written to yourself, you may need to provide the teller with some identification.

How Do You Write One?

Writing a check payable to cash is fast and easy. First, begin filling out the check the way you would fill out any ordinary check. But instead of writing a name or company on the “pay to the order of” line, simply write “cash”. Next, write out the value of the amount of cash like you would on a normal check, and sign it. 

What are the Risks of Writing Checks for Cash?

Since there’s no name on the “pay to the order of” line, checks to cash carry a lot of risk. Some banks refuse to honor checks to cash for this reason, or they’ll put a hold on your funds until you can verify the check is being used properly. It can be a hassle, so withdrawing cash from an ATM or finding out the exact name of the payee may easier in the long run. Additionally, since checks to cash don’t tell you who the money is for, keeping financial records may be tricky.

How to Cash and Deposit a Check for Cash

If you’re the recipient of a check to cash, deposit it the same way you would any other check. Your best bet is to visit the bank which has its name on the check. That bank may be more willing to cash the check since it was issued by that bank. A different bank may refuse to honor checks to cash because of how easily they can be turned in fraudulently. Also, if the cash amount is very large, the bank may not give you the full amount in one transaction, for security reasons. They may also put extra hold times on the check, just to make sure it is legitimate.

To avoid these extra wait times or being turned away by your teller, request that all checks you receive are made payable to you by name.

For a large list of place that cash checks, see our article about 27 Places That Cash Personal Checks.

What if You Misplace Your Check for Cash?

Like we mentioned before, because the name on the check is “cash”, anyone can use a check to cash once it’s been written. So if you lose one, stop payment of the check immediately to avoid having funds stolen from your account. If someone other than the payee withdraws money, you may have to take legal action to get the money back. You can request a stop-payment of your check online, over the phone, or in person with a teller.

Alternatives to Writing Checks to Cash

There are many easier, simpler ways to transfer money than writing checks to cash. The simplest way is through online banking: you can transfer money from one account to another electronically. There are also online bank-to-bank transfers available. Most brick-and-mortar banks will offer this service. You can link two accounts at different banks and move the money from one to another.

Third-party services like PayPal, Google Wallet, or Square Cash are other ways to transfer money. For instance, you could set up a PayPal account for each of your different bank accounts. You could then use PayPal to send money back and forth between them. Setting up these third-party accounts may take time and effort. But once they’re set up, transactions should run smoothly and efficiently. And, as with banks, there may be limits on these third-party accounts regarding how much money you can move in a single transaction.

Some other examples of online money-transfer programs include: WePaySkrill, ProPay, Dwolla, BrainTree, Stripe, and Payoneer.

So, yes, while there are potentially easier ways to transfer funds, writing a check to cash is an option to consider. Just keep in mind the risks, and make sure you know your bank’s policies. You now know how to write a check for cash.