Bank accounts can offer a lot of convenience to their clients, but they can also come with unexpected overdraft fees and insufficient funds charges. In some cases, it may be easier to take your paycheck to a check-cashing facility. Here are five signs you may want to use a check-cashing service over a bank account.
1. You want predictable fees.
Bank account fees can vary based on the bank, the amount in your account, and whether or not you meet certain criteria like a monthly transfer to a savings account. Additionally, you may get stuck with overdraft fees if you don't manage your account carefully.
With a check-cashing facility, you know the fee you're going to pay upfront. It's usually a set amount plus a percentage of your paycheck. You also pay this fee upfront so you don't have to worry about being surprised a few days down the road.
2. You don't want to have to worry about automatic withdrawals.
When you have a bank account, it can be tempting to set up automatic withdrawals. This can be a convenient way to pay your bills if you have ample cash, but when you're on a tight budget, automatic withdrawals can easily cause you to overdraw your account.
In particular, this happens if your bill is higher than normal. For instance, if you have extra charges on your cable bill or if your electric usage was higher than normal, a surprisingly high payment can hit your account.
If you use a check-cashing place, you don't have to worry about this risk.
3. You want to use a debit card from a check-cashing place.
Many check-cashing places will put your funds on a debit card. This allows you to easily pay your bills, but again, you know that the money you're spending is available.
You don't have to worry about getting in over your head with forgotten checks or overlooked automatic withdrawals. Once the funds have been depleted, the card will just be rejected. For many people on a budget, this is preferable to bank overdraft fees and other consequences of overdrawn accounts.
4. You want instant access to your cash.
Whether you opt for cash or a debit card, you get your money right away. You don't have to wait for the bank to credit your paycheck. When you're living paycheck to paycheck, instant access to your money can be critical.
5. You're trying to stick to a cash budget.
A lot of people find it easier to stay on a budget with cash than cards. When people use bank cards, they often spend more than they mean to. With cash, you can easily see your funds as you spend them.
In fact, a lot of popular budgeting advice tells you to put cash in different envelopes based on spending categories such as gas, groceries, restaurants, etc. When the envelope is empty, you can't spend any more in that category until your next payday.