How to cash a foreign cheque in the USA

Written by irene a. blake
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How to cash a foreign cheque in the USA
Cheque (Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

With global commerce and international travel, people in the United States receive foreign cheques (check) in foreign or U.S. currency daily. The method of cashing foreign cheques in the USA, as with domestic issued cheques, requires that the cheque receiver present the cheque to a bank or cheqque-cashing firm, endorse it and provide proof of identification. Cheque cashing (cash or deposit) timeframes vary depending on a variety of factors including the bank's ability to confirm the availability of funds with the issuing bank in another country and/or the bank's foreign cheque cashing policies.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Photo identification

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Determine the approximate amount of your cheque in U.S. dollars by using a currency converter like the XE Universal Currency Converter (see Resources) before cashing.

  2. 2

    Find out if the foreign bank that issued the cheque has branches in the United States as cashing the cheque through one of these branches goes faster since the branch can quickly determine the legitimacy of the cheque and availability of funds.

  3. 3

    Try to cash the foreign cheque at the bank where you have an account(s). Depending on the bank---its cheque cashing rules and banking relationships---and the amount of funds in your account, the bank may cash all or part of the cheque or require that you deposit the cheque for a certain number of days until it clears. In either scenario, the bank will likely charge a flat fee for the currency conversion and/or cheque processing or a percentage of the cheque's value that incorporates these fees.

  4. 4

    Ask to cash the cheque at a U.S. bank where you don't have an account. Although challenging, cashing any cheque--especially foreign---at a bank where you don't have an account isn't impossible. You may have to pay extra fees though because of the bank's perceived risk of cashing a cheque for a non-account holder.

  5. 5

    Contact a cheque-cashing firm or any other firm that may handle exchange/conversion of a foreign check to U.S. dollars. In addition, check with local travel agencies for referrals to possible foreign cheque cashing firms.

  6. 6

    Endorse the cheque once you have located a financial institution or cheque-cashing firm. Provide photo identification (driver's license or passport), if requested.

Tips and warnings

  • To make cashing a foreign cheque easier in the future, request a foreign cheque issued in U.S. currency or foreign traveller's check that you can exchange for U.S. dollars. Use internationally recognised traveller's cheque firms such as Citibank, Bank of America or American Express.
  • To make receiving foreign funds easier, request a foreign money order or money transfer instead of a cheque. Use internationally recognised and trusted money transfer service providers such as MoneyGram International or Western Union.
  • Exchange rates vary depending on the value of the dollar and the cheque's foreign currency, if applicable, at the time of the exchange.

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