Cashing a check made out in U.S. dollars when you're in Canada is possible through a bank or a check-cashing store such as Money Mart. When depositing or cashing a U.S. dollar check, factors such as hold periods, fees and exchange rates are different than those that apply to Canadian dollar transactions. Speak to a representative to ensure you are clear on the charges and timelines of your U.S. dollar deposit.
In Person or at the ATM
Some Canadian banks will accept checks in U.S. dollars through in-person deposit with a teller or an automated teller machine, or ATM. Or your institution may require that you speak with a representative to cash a U.S. dollar check while in Canada. Processing your deposit with a teller has some advantages, including full disclosure of fees and exchange rates that apply to the transaction.
Depending on whether the U.S. dollar check is drawn on a Canadian, U.S. or foreign bank account, your bank can hold the check until funds are released. Scotiabank, for example, states that the maximum hold it will place on a U.S. dollar check drawn on a bank branch in Canada is 10 business days, compared to five days for a Canadian dollar check. The hold periods are even longer when the check is drawn on a bank located in the U.S. or abroad. TD Bank states that holds can be as long as 15 business days for U.S. dollar checks.
Deposit of a U.S. dollar check into a Canadian dollar bank account is processed with that day's exchange rate. Exchange rates can vary from bank to bank. Some banks will credit your account with the exchange rate at the time of deposit but make a later adjustment when the check clears. This can result in money added or taken out of your account.
Although some banks, such as TD Bank, do not charge a fee for U.S. dollar deposits, others may debit your account an additional charge to deposit U.S. funds. Other transactions, such as a wire transfer in U.S. funds, can also incur additional fees. Check-cashing stores such as Money Mart charge a fee to cash any check, including one in U.S. dollars.