As you may have heard, stimulus checks related to the coronavirus pandemic are starting to arrive. If you don’t have a bank account, receiving your stimulus money and not paying an exorbitant fee to cash it may be an issue.
Money expert Clark Howard says there are two creative ways you can still get your stimulus money without being ripped off by going to a check-cashing store.
If you are expecting a physical check in the mail and are among the “unbanked,” here’s how you can get your money.
Stimulus Payment: What to Do if You Don’t Have a Bank Account
First, here’s why you may want to get your stimulus payment directly deposited to a bank account rather than a paper check via mail: The possible long wait.
“We’ve got huge numbers of people who are going to get their stimulus money by check rather than direct deposit,” Clark says. “It’s going to take five months for everybody to get their checks printed.”
Indeed, some checks may not come in the mail until September, according to Bloomberg, which cites a House Ways and Means Committee analysis.
The good news is that there are two options for people who don’t have bank accounts to get their money: PayPal and Walmart. Let’s talk about each of them.
PayPal Cash Plus
PayPal recently announced that “over the next few weeks” its cash-a-check feature will waive fees for customers with paper stimulus checks.
“PayPal has set up a special procedure where you can deposit that check into what’s known as a PayPal Cash Plus account, and there’s no fee at all,” Clark says.
Because it’s fee-free, you’ll get the full $1,200.
If you receive funds into your PayPal Cash Plus account, you can get the money “within minutes” and use it wherever PayPal is accepted, the company says in a news release.
You can get a PayPal-branded debit card in order to make in-store purchases and withdraw money out of an ATM.
To get the PayPal cash card, you’ll need a PayPal Cash Plus account. Learn more here.
Walmart Check Cashing
“The next cheapest alternative I know of is with Walmart,” Clark says. “Walmart is allowing you to cash that check or put it on a Walmart Money Card, which is like a stored value card.”
To cash a check greater than $1,000 at Walmart, you must pay a maximum fee of $8, according to its website. So, if you cash that $1,200 stimulus check, you would walk away with $1,192.
These are two great options — one free and one with a small fee — that allow you to get your stimulus check money into your hands.
Clark says although the Walmart option isn’t free, “it’s a lot better than it would be at the check cashers and places like that.”
Have you gotten your stimulus check? Here are four things you can do with it.