How to Pay Bills Without a Bank Account

According to a report by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) in 2019, 5.4% of households in American were unbanked or had no bank accounts. There are several reasons that someone may not have a bank account. Past financial mistakes like too many overdraft fees or bounced checks can make it hard to open a new account. Some people don’t trust banks or have the funds to meet the minimum balance requirements to open a new account. Others just want to avoid bank fees. If you don’t have a bank account, it can be helpful to know your options for cashing checks, getting paid, and paying bills.

How to Cash a Check Without a Bank Account

If you don’t have a bank account, you will probably still need to cash checks. Whether it is your paycheck, your tax refund, or any other source of income, knowing how to cash a check will help you get your money.

The best place to try to cash a check without a bank account is the bank that issued it. If you get your paycheck, for example, cashing it at the same bank where your employer banks is a good option. This is because the bank can verify that the account the check was written from has the funds in it to cover it. This advice goes for personal checks, too. If you can, try to cash them at the same bank they are written from. It is important to note that you will need proof of ID to cash your checks. There may also be a small fee for cashing them since you don’t have an account at the bank.

Another option for cashing your paycheck, tax refund, or other income is to cash it at a big box store like Walmart and Kroger. Similar to banks, in order to cash a check at a store, you will need a valid ID. The stores may also charge a small check-cashing fee. Often these stores won’t cash personal checks because they cannot verify if the funds to cover the check are in the check writer’s account.

Using a Prepaid Debit Card

While cashing your checks and having access to the funds is important, if you want to also be able to pay bills online, using a prepaid debit card may be a better solution. Prepaid debit cards work like debit cards, but you don’t need a bank account to get one. Some prepaid debit cards allow you to have money directly deposited into them. This means that you can have your paycheck, tax refund, or other income sources deposited directly to the card. You can also find prepaid debit cards that will let you deposit checks remotely using the camera on your smartphone.

Paying bills may be easier with a prepaid debit card than cash. You can use your prepaid debit card to make purchases online and pay bills. Some even offer bill pay services. It is important to look at the fees associated with the card you choose. Some charge reloading fees to add funds to the card. Others charge you to get cash from an ATM or pay bills through their bill pay service.

Final Thoughts

Not having a bank account can make it more difficult to cash checks and pay bills. If you want to cash a check and have the cash for spending, cashing the check at the bank that issued it or a big box store may be the best route. If you want to pay bills online, a prepaid debit card may be the answer.

No matter what route you choose, be sure that you understand the fees and requirements. You want to find the option that gives you access to the features you need for the lowest fees. This will help you meet your personal finance needs while keeping the money that you are making!

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