I live in the UK, and I'm currently working on publishing a book. I recently came to an arrangement with a US academic to republish one of his photographs for the book, and he has stated that he would like the agreed fee (£75) as a cheque for the equivalent in US dollars, mailed to his institution.

This took me by surprise. I queried whether he would accept another option and he's refused, apparently because he wants to be "flexible" about who can cash it and what account it goes in to. He has asked the cheque be made out to the name of his institution.

I think a check in US$ is still the best way to go, principally since I won't be in the States until New Year's Day, and the payment will be handled at [my institution] by someone who will want this to go as smoothly as possible.

Presuming we have to go with this, what's my cheapest option for having a cheque (or cheque equivalent) made out in dollars and sent to the US?

  • Ask your bank to give you a check made out in US dollars and can be deposited by a US bank? And then mail it to him via regular mail? Make sure you get something in writing from him as well. If it were me, I would pay extra to track the mail and get his signature upon delivery.
    – Michael
    Jul 24, 2017 at 13:55
  • 2
    For most people in the US, a check is the natural thing; they don't even consider other options. You should contact him and explain that the rest of the world doesn't use checks and you have no easy way to produce one (especially in US$).
    – Aganju
    Jul 24, 2017 at 18:45
  • @Aganju We still use cheques in Canada. Proximity, perhaps. Jul 24, 2017 at 21:26
  • FWIW I have asked, and he's insisting on a cheque.
    – Bob Tway
    Jul 26, 2017 at 9:45
  • People still use cheques in the UK too! If you're handing over the payment in person or by post to someone who can't easily accept a card payment, it's still the easiest way for the recipient to get reasonable confidence of a valid payment without the risks of cash. Jul 26, 2017 at 10:31

2 Answers 2


Depending on your banking relationship, you may be able to have your bank convert GBP to USD for a typical exchange fee, and then wire the money for little or no fee to the same account he'd deposit the cheque into.

Alternatively, you may be able to open a USD-denominated account, have you bank convert GBP to USD incurring a fee, and then write a cheque (check to us in the US) on it and mail that.

Or for the really adventurous, you can always buy some bitcoin (or other cryptocurrency) and transfer that to the academic. This would have exchange fees for GBP to BTC on your end, but presumably the academic would handle his BTC to USD deposit (or just hold or spend the BTC.)

Other alternatives I can think of (but have no idea on fees): * traveller's cheques (Amex) * Western Union * Find a trustworthy friend who will write the check to the academic and accept your £75 GBP in return.


The closest equivalent that is generally accessible in the UK is an "International Bank Draft" - your own bank should be able to produce one of these in USD and hopefully your recipient would be able to treat it like a US check.

The costs are relatively high compared to the amount involved, probably in the £10-20 region.

Alternatively, find someone with a US bank account who is willing to help.

  • +1 for asking a US friend. Feel idiotic for not thinking of that!!
    – Bob Tway
    Jul 26, 2017 at 10:31
  • Paypal may be another option. Not free, but going by a recent transaction when someone from Australia sent me some money, I would guess the fee for transferring £75 to be around a fiver.
    – TripeHound
    Jul 27, 2017 at 7:35
  • @TripeHound that doesn't satisfy the stated requirement from the receiver to get a cheque. If an institution is receiving the payment and isn't already setup to use PayPal for that, the bureaucracy would be really painful. Jul 27, 2017 at 8:17
  • @GaneshSittampalam True, which was why it's only a comment. Even if the academic / institution cannot accept Paypal, it may be a way of getting the money to a friend in the US who could write a cheque.
    – TripeHound
    Jul 27, 2017 at 8:28

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