Cheque into cash!
May 10, 2007 6:38 PM   Subscribe

How can I turn an American Express Gift Cheque into cash without fees?

I received a $100 American Express Gift Cheque today. Would my bank be willing to cash my cheque for me for free? If not, what's the best way to liquidate it? My landlord probably won't take it, and I mostly only spend money online or at gas stations... could I use it on a small appetizer at a restaurant and get the rest back in cash? How would I know whether or not they accept gift cheques? I guess the situation I'm imagining is the waiter laughing at my "play money".
posted by lpctstr; to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Buy something in a retail store, something tangible like clothes or shoes, and return them unworn with receipt the next day?

Before doing so, you may want to ask a hypothetical to the cashier or store manager... "If these don't fit or I change my mind, how is refund dispersed?"
posted by jerseygirl at 6:47 PM on May 10, 2007

Err, the purchaser already paid a $2.50 fee. There shouldn't be any further fees to redeem the check. Unless you go to a check-cashing place or somesuch.

You can deposit it at your bank, or cash it at many places - McDonald's, for one, is used to such things, and they always have plenty of cash to give you your change. Any kind of larger, chain-type establishment that does plenty of business in cash should be a fine target for redemption.
posted by jellicle at 6:49 PM on May 10, 2007

Based on the following two answers from the FAQs on the site, I'm guessing you can either write it out to yourself and deposit in your bank account or buy a pack of gum at the grocery store and get the remainder back in cash:

Will the recipient get cash back if they don't use the full face value of the Cheque?
Yes, the recipient will get cash back.

Can I accept Gift Cheques from another individual?
Yes, you can accept a Gift Cheque from another individual. You must watch the person countersign the Cheque in the lower left corner and ensure that it matches the signature in the upper left. If the Gift Cheque has already been signed in both the upper and lower left, please call American Express at the number below before accepting the Cheque. After accepting a Gift Cheque from another individual, you may only deposit it to your own bank account. If you have questions about the validity of the Cheque, you should call American Express at 1-800-525-7641 in the U.S.
posted by necessitas at 6:57 PM on May 10, 2007

oops, forgot the link
posted by necessitas at 6:58 PM on May 10, 2007

I've put them directly into my bank account before.
posted by teishu at 7:34 PM on May 10, 2007

I deposited mine too. I held on to them for three years before I called Amex and asked them what I could do about them.
posted by rhizome at 7:47 PM on May 10, 2007

They can be cashed at any bank. It helps if its your bank. But no fees. Walk right up and cash it. I've done this before without incident.
posted by crewshell at 7:57 PM on May 10, 2007

Directly deposited into my bank just fine.
posted by SirStan at 9:19 PM on May 10, 2007

McDonald's, for one, is used to such things, and they always have plenty of cash to give you your change.

It's been a while since I've worked at a McDonald's but we wouldn't have had enough cash in any drawer to immediately cash a $100 check.
posted by drezdn at 5:07 AM on May 11, 2007

Deposit to yourself made out to "cash."
posted by desuetude at 6:23 AM on May 11, 2007

Hope OP doesn't mind if I piggy back on this query. Is there a website or manual that gives tips for turning any Gift Card into cash? In our case, specifically Home Depot gift cards? I could certainly use the cash right now to pay down some debt.
posted by IndigoSkye at 6:36 AM on May 11, 2007

I am not aware of a website or manual, other than guidance on each company's website, that will give tis for turning gift cards into cash. In your case, Home Depot's website specifically states that the card can't be redeemed for cash, check or credit. Back in the days of paper gift certificates, some stores had a policy of giving back the balance of a gift certificate if the amount was less than $50, but gift cards seem to have eliminated the need for that policy. There are sites that facilitate gift card exchange and there is always the option of selling your card on ebay. If you go with the latter, you'll probably have to sell it for less than the face value, but I believe it will be the only way to turn the card into cash.
posted by necessitas at 10:21 AM on May 11, 2007

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