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Receive an American check? You can cash your check in the following ways:
Cashing the check at your own bank
You may be able to cash your American check at your own local bank. A charge will be made for processing the check.
In some countries, such as the Netherlands, it is regrettably no longer possible to cash checks since 1 January 2021. Despite several requests made by Americans Overseas, the Dutch banks unfortunately do not want to resume this service.
Transfer to another person (endorsement)
You can endorse a check and send it to a friend/family member who has an American bank account, so they can cash the check for you at their bank. You send your check to your friend/relative. Your friend/relative will then wire the amount to your account.
Make sure you trust this relationship. Have your friend contact their US bank in advance to find out if endorsement is possible and what the bank’s procedure is.
Cashing the check in another bank
If you live in a country where checks cannot be cashed, you may be able to open an account in a neighboring country.
For example, many Dutch people have the possibility of opening an account just across the border and then cashing American checks. Until recently, it was also possible to cash the checks at any branch of the Reise Bank in Germany, upon presentation of a valid ID. Since 12/22/2021, checks over $1500 are unfortunately refused there too.
In addition, the following banks accept US checks in Europe (always check with the bank in advance as this information can change):
- Lloyd’s Bank (UK)
- Bank of Scotland (UK)
- NatWest (UK)
- Barclays (UK)
- HSBC (International)
- DKB (German online bank)
- Sparda Bank (Germany)
- Sparkassen (Germany)
- UBS (Switzerland)
- Credit Suisse (Switzerland)
- Crédit Agricole (France)
You may need to open a bank account to cash your Stimulus check.
Another possibility is to open a US bank account, for example with the SDFCU (State Department Federal Credit Union). After opening the account, you can send your check and have it paid into your account number. Ask the bank about the procedure and costs.
Please note: if you open a new account at a bank outside America, you may need to declare it in your FBAR.
Having payments made through your US bank account (only for stimulus checks)
You open a US bank account (or you already have a US bank account), for example with the SDFCU (State Department Federal Credit Union) or with Wise. Both are accepted by the IRS for electronic payments. You then provide the bank account details to the IRS on your US tax return.
You return the received check(s) to the IRS according to the procedure described below, with an accompanying letter stating that you cannot cash the checks in your country and that you will still claim the amounts as a refund (rebate credit) on your tax return.
You then claim your COVID-19 support in your US tax return and the IRS will deposit your refund into your US bank account. You can claim the first and second COVID-19 support payments in the tax return for tax year 2020; it is expected that the third payment can be claimed in the tax return for 2021.
Procedure for returning a check to the IRS:
Have you discovered another way?
We at Americans Overseas have done our best to share above the most reliable ways to cash a US check.
If you have found another way, please let us know so we can add it and help other people.Contact us for more information