Reality Check: Fees to cash your tax refund

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - We're getting closer to that tax deadline. As we approach April 15th, some folks are finding refund checks in the mail. WKYT is looking at the variety of places you can cash a tax refund check and the places you may want to avoid.

It seems like you can go anywhere to cash your tax refund check - including the gas station. We called several local stores and they gave us their prices.

Speedway will put your tax refund on a card for you, but you've got to pay them a $3.95 processing fee. If your refund is less than $1,000 and you cash it at Walmart, you'll pay $3 in fees. If it's more than $1,000 you'll pay $6 in fees. Kroger has the same charge of $3 for a refund less than $1,000, and expect to pay $5 for any refund more than $1,000. Meijer offers a flat fee of $4 to cash a refund check.

"It also opens up the door for impulse buying. That you think you're richer than you are for a moment," notes Raymond James financial advisor John Bryant. He doesn't encourage the idea of cashing your refund at a store, and he warns against taking them to a cash advance spot.

"They're doing it for the collection of fees. That's what makes them very, very profitable at your expense."

We called two cash advance stores in Lexington. They both take out a percentage of your refund. If you're getting $1,000 back, expect to pay $30 if you cash it at Check Into Cash. Check 'n Go will cost you $24.90 for the same refund amount.

Bryant advises you may also want to reconsider the amount you're letting the government take out in taxes.

"It's a situation where your deductions need to be adjusted which would increase your check on a weekly or biweekly basis," he explains, "you've allowed them to use more money than you actually need to. And so with proper planning that amount could be reduced so you would have it more as you go along."

Depositing your tax refund check into a banking account is often fee-free.

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