How to Cash Canadian Checks in U.S. Banks

Watch for bank fees when cashing a Canadian check in the United States.
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Whether you're a Canadian snowbird spending time in the U.S. or you're an American who regularly has business dealings with Canada, if you receive Canadian checks, you'll need to take extra effort in depositing them. While most U.S. banks will let you cash Canadian checks, they may impose long hold times and costly fees. If you receive a lot of checks from Canada, it's worth having a second bank account just for depositing Canadian checks that offers low fees and short hold times. That way you'll have your money sooner.


Fees and Hold Times

Cashing a Canadian check often is more problematic than depositing one. U.S. banks commonly require that Canadian checks be deposited into a checking account, and foreign checks often come with extended hold times and extra fees. As a result, you may not have access to the funds right away.


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Canadian Banks with U.S Branches

If the Canadian check is from a Canadian bank with U.S. branches, and you have a branch of that bank in your area, you may have an easier time. Canadian banks like TD Bank have branches in both Canada and the U.S. It commonly is less costly and more straightforward to cash Canadian checks at a U.S. bank branch of the Canadian bank where it was issued.


Depositing the Check

Banks may offer you different options for depositing or cashing Canadian checks. Depending on the bank, the ATM may provide you with the option of depositing foreign currency. You also have the option of visiting the teller and depositing the check in person.


Currency Exchange

When you're depositing a check in Canadian dollars, you'll get its value in U.S. currency. The amount you receive depends on the daily Canadian-U.S. exchange rate. The exchange rate of the bank is based on the daily exchange rate in the open market plus a spread. Shop around for the bank that offers the most favorable exchange rate and has the narrowest spread.