When you live in the U.S. and you receive a Canadian check (or any other foreign check), cashing the check can be complicated. To prevent fraud, many banks will hold the funds from your Canadian check, even as long as six weeks or more. You’ll have to deposit the check into a bank account before you can withdraw the cash, and you may also need to pay hefty fees. Below, we explain how to cash a Canadian check in the U.S., and we list the best U.S. banks for cashing Canadian checks.
Cashing a Canadian Check in the U.S.
First, it’s important to note that you can’t simply cash a Canadian check at a U.S. bank. In fact, you can’t directly cash any foreign check at a U.S. bank (as previously reported). Instead, you must first deposit the check into your checking account, and then withdraw the cash (if you wish). Because of this, you must be a customer at the bank where you’re cashing the Canadian check. Bring the check, as well as a valid, government-issued ID to your bank of choice.
Canadian checks can clear in two different ways: check negotiation and check collection. Check negotiation allows banks to clear foreign checks within three to five business days — this is the ideal option.
Check collection is used to protect banks from potential fraud, and it requires your check to be sent to its originating bank. The process can take anywhere from three to six weeks. Banks send foreign checks for collection for various reasons; for example, your check may be sent for collection if you deposit one for a much larger amount than usual.
Foreign check deposits often come with high fees. The process of depositing a Canadian check in a U.S. bank account is complex, so many banks add charges for different stages of the process. We inquired about the fees at each of the banks below and listed them wherever possible. Note that you should expect to incur fees at the U.S. bank where you are depositing your check, as well as the Canadian bank it originated from. It’s likely one or both of the banks will charge fees for their services.
When depositing a Canadian check in an American bank account, you will receive its value in U.S. currency. The currency exchange rate you see online or in the news is not necessarily the rate you will get at the bank — most bank exchange rates are less favorable than rates advertised online. These rates will vary by bank and by day. You will likely receive the rate based on the day you deposit your check.
U.S. Banks With Canadian Branches
If it’s an option, you might want to try depositing your Canadian check at the same bank it originated from. This is possible, of course, through U.S. banks that have Canadian branches (or Canadian banks that have U.S. branches). This may simplify the process and eliminate a few fees. All of the banks listed below have branches in both the U.S. and Canada.
See the table below for a comparison of the fees, hold times, and currency conversion rates at the U.S. banks that cash Canadien checks, then click any bank or scroll for more information.
The Best U.S. Banks for Cashing a Canadian Check
We contacted each of the following banks to verify their policies for depositing Canadian checks. Keep in mind, you must first deposit Canadian checks into a checking account before you can withdraw the cash. Most American banks will actually allow you to deposit Canadian checks; however, many are notorious for high fees and long hold times. We’ve ordered the list below starting with the best overall options.
- Restrictions: You can’t deposit Canadian checks via ATM, but you may be able to deposit them on mobile.
- Fees: HSBC does not charge fees for this service, but the issuing bank might.
- Estimated hold times: The process can take up to 30 days.
- Currency exchange policy: Currency conversion rates are provided by HSBC, not rates posted in the media. The rates applied will be the rates of the day you deposit your check.
- How to deposit your check: You must cash your check in person with an HSBC teller.
- Find an HSBC
2. Chase Bank
- Restrictions: Canadian checks must be at least $300 and no more than $5,000.
- Fees: Chase does not charge fees for this service, but the issuing bank might.
- Estimated hold times: Up to six weeks
- Currency exchange policy: Chase describes its exchange rate as less favorable than the exchange rate for institutions that is usually quoted in newspapers or online services.
- How to deposit your check: You must cash your Canadian check in person with a Chase bank teller.
- Find a Chase Bank
3. Bank of America
- Restrictions: Canadian checks cannot be deposited via mobile or ATM.
- Fees: Bank of America does charge a fee for this service, but the amount will depend on your specific location. The payee’s bank will also likely charge a fee.
- Estimated hold times: The amount deposited will be available immediately, but that amount may change, as the entire process can take up to eight weeks.
- Currency exchange policy: Rates are determined by the bank; see Bank of America’s foreign currency calculator for current rates.
- How to deposit your check: You must cash your check in person with a Bank of America teller.
- Find a Bank of America
4. Toronto-Dominion (TD) Bank
- Restrictions: Canadian checks must be at least U.S. $100 to deposit.
- Fees: Checks sent for collection will accrue a $17.50 fee.
- Estimated hold times: Funds from deposits under $5,000 will be available no later than the third day after your deposit. Deposits of $5,000 or more will be available by the seventh day after your deposit. If your check is sent for collection, it could take 30 calendar days for your check to become available.
- Currency exchange policy: Currency conversion rates are provided by TD Bank Traders, not rates posted in the media.
- How to deposit your check: You must cash your Canadian check in person with a TD Bank teller.
- Find a TD Bank
5. Wells Fargo
- Restrictions: Canadian checks cannot be deposited via mobile or ATM.
- Fees: Checks sent out for collection will accrue a $75 fee. You will learn whether or not your check will be sent for collection at the time of your deposit.
- Estimated hold times: Funds from deposits should be available by the third day after your deposit. If your check is sent for collection, it could take 30 calendar days for your check to become available.
- Currency exchange policy: The rates applied will be the rates of the day you deposit your check. Contact a Foreign Exchange Specialist at (800) 786-5593 for the current rates.
- How to deposit your check: You must cash your Canadian check in person with a Wells Fargo teller.
- Find a Wells Fargo
Places That Don’t Cash Canadian Checks
Although you can usually deposit a Canadian check at a U.S. bank, you cannot cash Canadian checks at retail stores. As explained above, Canadian checks cannot simply be cashed, but must first be deposited into a bank account. The following establishments don’t cash Canadian checks:
- Check cashing stores
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
Suggested article: Cashing Canadian Checks at Walmart
- Chase Bank customer service (800) 935-9935
- Bank of America customer service (800) 432-1000
- TD Bank customer service (888) 751-9000
- Wells Fargo customer service (800) 869-3557