Cheque cashing services

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Some financial service providers offer cheque cashing services. These services may seem convenient, since you can instantly get cash for your cheque and do not need a bank account. However, unlike depositing a cheque at a bank or credit union, you pay fees to use a cheque cashing service.


Costs

The cost of a cheque cashing service depends on the type of cheque you want to cash and how much the cheque is for.

Most cheque cashing service providers charge an item fee (a fee for each cheque cashed) plus a percentage fee (a percentage of the total cheque amount).

Let's calculate what a cash chequing service may cost you. Say that:

  • You are cashing a cheque for $1,000
  • The item fee is $2.99
  • The percentage fee is 3 percent 

3 percent of $1,000 is $30. So, the total cost to cash the cheque is $32.99.

That means the amount of the cheque you'll receive is $967.01.

Different rules apply if you are cashing a B.C. Employment and Assistance cheque. For those cheques, you can only be charged the lesser of:

  • $2.00 plus 1% of the cheque amount
  • A flat fee of $10

Information on cashing B.C. Employment and Assistance cheques is available on the Consumer Protection BC website.

B.C. Employment and Assistance cheques include:

  • "BC Employment and Assistance" cheques issued by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
  • "BC Employment and Assistance Imprest Account" cheques issued by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
  • Imprest (on demand) cheques issued by the Ministry of Children and Family Development

Other options

Most banks and credit unions offer free or low-cost accounts that provide several options to deposit and access funds from a cheque.

Direct deposit

If you receive regular cheques (for example, for employment or a pension), you can ask the cheque provider to automatically deposit them to your bank account. When you use direct deposit, you can access the full amount of the cheque from your bank account as soon as you are paid.

Mobile device deposit

Many banking institutions have apps that allow you to deposit a cheque with your cellphone or mobile device. They are a quick and convenient way to cash a cheque and use other services, like online bill payments.

ATM deposit

You can often deposit a cheque at your bank or credit union’s ATM machine. A portion of your cheque may be withheld for a period until the funds are verified. This depends on the bank or credit union’s policies, which you can ask to review.


Rights and responsibilities

Your rights will depend on where and what services you use to cash a cheque. For example, companies that offer cheque cashing services can set their own policies that you must agree to in order to use their services.

If you cash your cheque at a bank, you also have protections under federal law. For example, you have the right to access the first $100 of your deposited cheque right away (or the next business day if you make an ATM deposit). More information on federal cheque cashing rules and opening a bank account is available from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.


Resolve an issue

You can contact Consumer Protection BC if you are having a problem with a fee for cashing a cheque.