When ordering various family history records from England, payment often must be in the form of a pound sterling cheque.
How do I obtain a pound sterling cheque while living in the United States?
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Most US banks don't allow you the ability to draft a foreign currency check from USD. Though, I know Canadian banks are more workable. For instance, TD allows you to do this from CAD to many other currencies for a small fee. I believe even as a US Citizen you can quite easily open a TD Trust account and you'd be good to go. Also, at one time Zions bank was one of the few which lets US customers do this add-hoc. And there is a fee associated. Even as a business, you can't usually do this without jumping thru hoops and proving your business dealings in foreign countries. Most businesses who do this often will opt to using a payment processor service from a 3rd party which cuts checks in foreign currencies at a monthly and per check base.
Your other option, which may be more feasible if you're planning on doing this often, would be to open a British bank account. But this can be difficult if not impossible due to the strict money laundering anti-fraud regulations. Many banks simply won't do it. But, you might try a few of the newer British banks like Tesco, Virgin and Metro.