To cash a check, you must present identification that proves that you are the person to which it has been written out.
Since a birth certificate does not offer a valid visual proof of identification, it cannot be used to cash a check.
However, having a valid driver’s license that includes a recent photograph is more commonly used as proof of identification.
In cases where you don’t possess a driver’s license, but you do have your birth certificate, you may likely be able to cash a check with another form of supporting ID.
What forms of ID are acceptable to cash a check?
The type of identification required to cash a check can vary between banks or check-cashing businesses.
Since the purpose of the ID is to show proof that you are who you claim to be, a state or country-issued photo ID is, therefore, the most helpful.
Examples of valid photo IDs that may be used include:
- state ID
- driver’s license
- military ID
- government-issued passport
Having a secondary form of identification with your name on it also helps.
Examples of these include:
- bank debit card
- credit card
- recent bank statement.
Regardless of which identification you use, it’s important to check its expiration date to ensure it is still valid. Expired IDs are often not acceptable.
Can I cash a check with only a birth certificate?
Since the purpose of showing identification is to provide proof of who you are, it’s not surprising that a birth certificate alone is not enough to cash a check.
This is purely because a birth certificate does not include a photo, let alone a recent one.
It also does not have your signature, which will be matched against when you sign the back of the check.
However, while showing a birth certificate alone isn’t enough to cash a check, it may help if you can also provide an acceptable type of supporting identification.
Having only your birth certificate and your original social security card will not be enough to cash a check.
Similarly with a birth certificate, just having possession of a social security card does not prove that you are who you say you are, since there is no photographic proof.
You can however take a slight detour and apply for a driver’s license or a non-driver state identity card.
As long as you can offer two documents as proof of residency, on top of your birth certificate and social security card.
Specific requirements may vary by state, but often acceptable forms of proof of residency may include:
- utility bill
- W-2 form
- tax record
- signed lease agreement
- mortgage documents
What else do I need to cash a check with a birth certificate?
Requirements for the provision of supporting identification may vary between financial institutions.
The first step is to contact your bank or intended check cashing establishment and ask what you need.
Examples of possible supporting identification include:
- school or work photo ID
- welfare ID
- learner’s permit
- foreign driver’s license
- firearms permit with photo
These forms of ID are valid in helping you cash your check since they include a recent photograph of you.
Can a minor cash a check with a birth certificate?
For minors who are not yet old enough to obtain a driver’s license, or have yet to obtain one, the combination of a school photo ID and birth certificate will often suffice, even though the school ID is not government-issued.
In some cases, the parent or guardian accompanying them may be asked to show their own photo ID if the minor is not old enough to have a school photo ID.
Where can you cash a check without a photo ID?
If you have a birth certificate and no form of photo ID at all, you may still be able to cash a check if you have a bank account.
For instance, if your wallet has been stolen, it is likely that your IDs have gone along with it too.
However, you still possess your birth certificate and can confirm personal details on the account (address, social security number).
If this is the case, the teller may be willing to cash your check, especially if they recognize you as a bank customer.
Another option if you have a bank account is to use your debit card. This would require no ID, just possession of the card and knowledge of your PIN code.
How to cash a check without a bank account or photo ID
Using your birth certificate in tandem with a valid form of photo ID is the most reliable way to ensure you can cash your check.
However, if you don’t have a bank account or any form of photo ID to present alongside your birth certificate, call the bank to see what you can do.
Banks typically operate within their own set of requirements, and some may be more lenient than others especially if you’ve been a long time customer.
The other option is to write the check over to someone else and accompany them to their bank in order to have it cashed.
In this scenario, it’s also advisable that you review the requirements and/or terms and conditions outlining the cashing of third-party checks beforehand, since no financial institution is legally required to cash them.