I received a foreign check. How can I cash it?

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Q. I received a check drawn on the Bank of Ireland. I have three accounts at TD Bank. They held the check for three months and then informed me they don’t honor checks drawn on the Bank of Ireland. No explanation was given. Is this a standard practice with American banks?
— Depositor, or trying

A. Your first step should be to go back to TD Bank to see what, if any, problem there is with this check.

The bank’s website says, “TD Bank can clear overseas checks in a variety of foreign currencies and U.S. Dollars using TD Bank’s network of correspondent banking relationships. Some checks are eligible for immediate provisional credit – until it is finally settled by the issuing bank – while some items must be sent out on ‘collection’ for final payment. Collection items can take some time before payment is settled.”

A foreign check is considered a collection item, said Evan Drury, a chartered financial consultant with U.S. Financial Services in Fairfield.

“In banking, a collection item is a method of payment presented to a bank that the bank cannot or will not credit to the depositor’s account until after payment has been received or collected by the American bank,” he said. “According to the U.S. Office of the Comptroller, handling collection items is often subject to special rules, extending processing time.”

Banks will not accept foreign checks through online banking, he said. Transactions must be handled in person — and don’t use the ATM, he said.

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This story was originally published  on Jan. 13, 2023.

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