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Trying to Cash Canadian Check

I received a life insurance check from London Life Canada. It is a very solid insurance company and the check is for $4850 Canadian dollars. I am having an awful time cashing this check with my credit union. I also have a joint account with my partner at Wachovia. How can I cash this check without waiting six to eight weeks, as stated by the bank. This is a very confusing thing and no one seems to be able to help me.

Unfortunately, there aren't too many alternatives unless you want to travel to Canada or can get to a U.S. office of the Canadian bank. Canadian banks don't follow U.S. law (nor do U.S. banks follow Canadian law, to be fair), so that your bank in the States can't rely on getting a timely return of a Canadian check if it's not honored. You might argue that all that is irrelevant when the check is issued by such a reputable insurance company, and we'd agree, but banks have had a lot of problems with what they perceive to be late returns of checks on Canadian banks.

Can the insurance company be convinced to swap its check for one drawn on its bank's U.S. office, in U.S. dollars? That's one approach to the problem. Another would be to ask Wells Fargo/Wachovia to send the check for collection and to credit your account on receipt of the proceeds. Ironically, that might give you access to the funds faster than depositing it.

Published on 9/22/09