How can I get a check cashed for free?
January 2, 2005 6:38 PM Subscribe
How is it that a bank is allowed to charge a fee to non-account-holders to cash checks drawn on that same bank? My layman's reading of the Uniform Commercial Code seems to indicate that checks are "unconditional obligations" and to me "unconditional" means "without requiring the payment of a fee."
posted by IshmaelGraves to Work & Money (14 answers total)
My Lexis-Nexis searches haven't turned up any case law — I don't know whether there isn't any or whether I'm not finding it. My original assumption was that the charge was a service charge for the convenience of cashing it through a teller at a local branch and that, in theory, I could redeem the check at some central office or by mail without paying the fee, but the people at one bank which does this tell me that's not the case.
It seems especially dodgy since, when I've seen these fees instituted or raised, they go into effect for checks cashed after a certain date rather than checks issued after a certain date, which seems like unilaterally modifying the terms of the contract after the fact. It seems even more dodgy since banks will not issue receipts for these fees.