Check cashing establishments provide a wide variety of conveniences for people who do not use banks. If you receive a paycheck and have no bank account to put it in, they will cash it for you. They’ll need some identification of course, and might give you their own identification card, possibly with your photo on it (these can be useful when you need to show identification elsewhere). To make money, of course, they will keep a percentage of the amount of the check as a fee. These amounts can add up, so it is wise to establish a relationship with a bank as soon as possible.
Bill Payments. You can also pay telephone and electric bills at these stores, usually without extra charge. Many of these stores also sell pre-paid debit cards, long-distance telephone cards, and lottery tickets. If you have just arrived in the country, they are the best resource for you until you get begin more substantial banking relationships. You may even be able to find such a service run by someone who speaks your language.
Money Orders. If you don’t have enough money to start a checking account, you will have to use money orders to send money safely through the mails (NEVER SEND CASH). These can be purchased for cash at the post office, banks, at some stores and supermarkets, and at special check cashing establishments. You will pay a fee for the money order, in addition to the dollar amount.
Personal Finance: Chapter Home
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