If you don't have a bank account, cashing a check can be difficult. That's what check-cashing stores count on to make their money. The owners know how convenient it is for you to stop in with a check and walk out with cash immediately. Watch out—there's a catch. You pay a heavy fee for the cash you get—about $4 for every $100 on a payroll check and even more to cash a personal check.
This may not sound like much at first, but as a college student, you can't afford to waste a single dollar. If you regularly cash checks at one of these stores, it could cost you a lot over the school year—maybe enough to pay for several outings with friends or even a trip over spring break.
A better option is a checking account at a bank or credit union. Many student checking accounts are free and let you cash checks at no charge. For more information, visit Banking Your Money on this Web site.