What is the best way to cash a cheque I have received as compensation? We are from Britain.
The process is fairly simple:
The person that the check is made out to ("Pay to the order of ____") needs to sign the back of the check where it says "Endorse here".
Then, go to a US bank that you have an account at and cash the check.
If you do not have a US bank account then go to the bank displayed on the check or go to a retailer that can cash the check (for example, Walmart customer service). Bring a photo-ID as they will most likely ask for one.
This article has more information.
I had to deal with a similar situation earlier this year. I am a EU citizen living in the UK and I needed to cash a USD cheque issued by a US financial institution that doesn't have any retail branches.
TL;DR: Cashing such cheque in person in the US is highly non-trivial. I ended up depositing the cheque into my UK-based USD account at a significant cost (~10% of the cheque value).
Because of the fairly high fees associated with cashing a foreign cheque, I wanted to avoid cashing the cheque with a non-US institution. At the same time, opening an account in the US is troublesome and not really worth the hassle / costs in my case. As I travel to the US regularly, I did some research and I found that my best chance will be financial services counters in convenience stores / supermarkets.
Here's the list of institutions I visited in the US, all refused to cash my cheque.
Walmart: I tried two branches.
- The first one didn't have a problem with my EU passport but asked me to enter my SSN. I didn't have any and admitted that, at which point they refused to cash the cheque for me. This was the closest to successful attempt, as I could have just entered a fake generated SSN number and the cashing would succeed, according to the Internet.
- The second one double checked their guidelines about ID verification and found that non-US passports without a (visa/residence permit, don't remember exactly) can't be used to verify one's identity, and as a result refused to cash my cheque. I had several other proofs of ID (UK driving licence, national ID card, multiple bank cards) but none of them were sufficient proofs of ID.
A local store a fellow customer recommended after witnessing my second Walmart visit, stating that they'll accept the cheque, I don't remember the name. They refused to cash the cheque as I wasn't a US resident.
Local 7/11: Refused as non-US resident.
At this point I gave up on the cash-in-the-US plan and deposited the cheque to my HSBC Currency account in the UK. This ended up costing quite a lot of money, but was trivial process wise. If you go this way make sure you ask for the cheque to be negotiated rather than collected as the fees are lower.
I cashed my check but I did have to show my foreign passport plus enter my social. I’m here on a permanent Green Card, and a Social Security Number was given to me upon entering the US. I recently lost my Green Card and it can take 8 months or more to receive a replacement. I had to use the passport from my home country at Walmart! So if you are in the same boat, then having a social security number is key.