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We're a US company. We got a check from a Canadian company and usually the check will say "USD" on it. Otherwise when we deposit it, the check will clear as CAD.

This check has no indicators on it. Just the amount written as "$100".

Is there something visible on the check (a code in the numbers) that determines what currency the check is written in? How can I tell before I deposit it whether the check is USD or CAD? (Even though the company's address is Canada, the Bank Name on the check says Bank of America)

Or is this just determined by the currency of the account that wrote the check which isn't knowable until it tries to clear via the banks?

  • It doesn't say the unit at the end of the line where you're supposed to write out the value in words? – Esteban Araya Jan 24 '11 at 20:15
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    Canadian money is also called dollars and marked as $. Unless the check is marked USD or CAD there's no good way to tell by inspecting the check... – jldugger Jan 24 '11 at 20:23
  • You could try calling you local BoA branch... – C. Ross Jan 25 '11 at 19:28
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If the check is drawn an a Canadian bank, and does not specify the currency, then it is assumed to be in Canadian dollars.

Edit: To identify a check clearing through the US Federal Reserve system, every check will have three numbers on the bottom of it: A routing number, an account number, and a check number. The routing number is 9 digits long, and is normally book-ended by two symbols that look like this a bar and two dots |:

The last Canadian check I saw had a routing number which was five digits, a dash, and then three digits. Unfortunately, I don't see them often enough to know if that's how they always appear or not.

  • The problem is that the address on the check is Canadian, but the bank name has no address. It says Bank of America (which you would assume means it's a US bank, but what if it said simply Chase?) – Michael Pryor Jan 25 '11 at 21:13
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    The routing numbers on the bottom of the check will determine which system it goes through, if it gets routed through the US Federal Reserve or through the Canadian system (sorry, I don't know the name of it). – Benjamin Chambers Jan 25 '11 at 21:51
  • @Ben I think you're looking for the Bank of Canada, but are you sure that cheques go through the central bank? That seems a little absurd. – Matthew Read Jan 26 '11 at 4:23
  • @benjamin That's what I'm trying to find out. What set of numbers would indicate it's going to Canada? – Michael Pryor Jan 26 '11 at 23:55
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    @Matthew: I'm assuming that @Benjamin is referring to the fact that the cheque would be cleared through the Canadian banking system, not necessarily that it would physically get checked by the Bank of Canada. – fideli Jan 28 '11 at 2:17
2

Don't know if this is broadly applicable but here's how the University of Minnesota handles it.

  • Hey, you've overtaken me on rep. That's quite a rise, congrats :-) – Chris W. Rea Jan 25 '11 at 14:35
  • Hah thanks! :) Glad people find my stuff helpful. – mbhunter Jan 25 '11 at 15:58

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