There is no federal law or banking regulation that requires national banks to cash checks for noncustomers and there is no current regulation that imposes a limit on how much a bank may charge to cash a noncustomer check, should the bank have a policy of doing so.  A bank that allows noncustomers to cash checks at their branches can establish their own rules and may charge a check cashing fee without restriction.

The amount of bank fees charged to individuals that cash checks at a bank where they are not a customer varies rather significantly from bank to bank.  Some banks set their check cashing fees separately for personal checks and business checks and some banks will base the fee on the amount of the check, while others will charge a flat fee regardless of the check amount.  Additional terms and conditions may also apply, such as limits to the amount of the check the bank will cash and the forms of consumer identification needed to cash the check.

Non-accountholders that present a check to be cashed at the bank where the check is drawn on may need at least one government issued picture id to cash the check and may also be required to provide a thumbprint to cash the check.

Many banks defend the high fees for cashing checks for noncustomers as the cost of business to prevent fraud, to protect their account holders, and avoid losses for the bank.

Of course, for those individuals that can open an account with the bank, the fee can be avoided by check bearer by simply opening a new account.  Unfortunately, this can not only be somewhat of imposition to cash one check, but many under banked consumers are not in a secure enough financial position or have an adequate credit history to open a new account and therefore, must incur the bank fee to cash the check.

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