The short answer to the question “Can ATMs cash checks?” is — yes.
However, not all ATMs in America can process the transaction. Some permit deposits of checks only, and others not even that.
Many convenience stores offer ATMs. Check cashing at the ATM can provide a value-added experience for c-store customers, who might come to the convenience store to cash a check and pick up products while they’re there.
To cash a check at an ATM, here is the general procedure customers must follow: They should arrive at the machine with the check, pen and bank card in hand. After endorsing the check, they must follow the instructions that appear on the screen. They should be sure that the funds in the account are at least equal to the amount of cash they want to dispense.
The most likely machine to let one cash a check will be one connected to a bank or credit union through which a customer has an existing account. If an ATM accepts checks, customers can even write and cash a check to themselves.
When a check is inserted into a direct-scanning ATM, the unit reads the magnetic characters. It then employs OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to record all of the account information, as well as the handwritten amount of the check.
Some bank-affiliated ATMs permit individuals to cash checks even if they do not have an account with the bank. At the same time, restrictions on the types of checks that can be cashed may vary, and a bank card may still be required.
According to the financial website Creditninja.com, people might find that they can only take out part of the cash they need when using an ATM for checks when the amount reaches approximately $5,000 or more. ATMs and regulations vary from one institution to another, and so do dollar limits. In general, customers can look forward to some kind of hold for a portion of the funds for at least a few thousand dollars.
Another potential complication is that not all types of checks are created equal. For instance, checks from the government are said to be the simplest to verify at an ATM, with the full amount available immediately.
While many ATMs do accept personal checks, banking institutions only have to permit users access to about $200 after the first business day. Other types of checks — cashier’s and foreign checks, for example — could entail a longer period for verification.