Cashing/Depositing US Checks

I’m sure this has been asked before, but a search turned up a lot of false hits.

I think I already know the answer to this too, but want to see what everyone’s collective experience is.

Since most banks have the ability to open a US$ account, can cashier’s checks issued by a US Bank be deposited or cashed in a Taiwanese Bank?

How about personal checks from a US Bank?

If it’s possible, what kind of waiting period are we talking about before funds are available?


Funny you should ask - yesterday I deposited a personal check from dear old grandma. It was for $100CDN ($2500NT), but the bank said I’d have to wait a month for it. :laughing:

I beleive most banks will do it, but like Mao said you’ll have to wait.

Alternatively if you have an account back home you can just write “For Deposit Only” your bank name and the account number and send it to your bank. If you want to use the money in Taiwan, then well… you’ll have to wait.

Makes sense that you would have to wait. Usually in Canada they will call the other bank to make sure the funds are in the person’s account. With the time difference here and the banking hours (only until 3pm or so) it must be difficult for the Taiwan banks to check the funds!

Takes me 21 to 28 days. Yuck. Also, at Taipei Bank I had to open a separate US $ account to accept US checks.

Ax had a problem with a money order which doesn’t make sense because I thought money orders and cashiers checks were as good as cash.

How about traveler’s checks? Has anyone been able to cash traveler’s checks in less than a month?

My parents once sent me some money as U.S. traveler’s checks (because otherwise if they wired me money, they would be charged a $20 service charge, and I would be charged a 300 NT service charge). But I was shocked at how difficult it was to get the traveler’s checks cashed. I took them to several banks and all the banks refused to cash them until I finally found a very small bank (I can’t remember the name) that would let me cash them, but they told me it would take a month until I got the money! Then I kept calling the bank during the next month to ask if they got the money yet, and sure enough, it really did take exactly one month until they could give me the money.

Then I told my parents to never again send me traveler’s checks!

Later, I set up a bank account in the States, and now every time my parents want to give me money (like for Christmas, my birthday, etc.), they just deposit the money in my U.S. bank account. Then I can withdraw the money in Taiwan using the ATM card for that bank account.

It’s odd that they are charging you any money for cashing travelers’ checks. Travelers’ check, as a certified bearer’s negotiable instrument, is as good as gold. What you may want to do is to talk to the rep. in the foreign service section of the organization that handles your banking transaction. Avoid going to the teller. They don’t know what they are doing when it comes to international transaction. Also, if you have a personal account in a Taiwanese bank AND if you know someone who is generous enough to give you money , you may also consider having the money telephonically transferred (T/T). You’ll have access to money within 2 days at most when the money is T/T to ya.

I never had any problem cashing traveler’s checks at ICBC, but the last time I cashed any substantial amount was a couple years ago. Don’t know if any policies have changed or anything.

The reason for my original question was that I’m trying to find a way to send money from my account in the US to Taiwan without me actually physically having to goto the US to do this. Writing myself a check seemed to be the easiest way, but I guess the drawback is the one month wait. Traveler’s checks, wire transfers, etc., all require me to physically goto the bank in the US, I believe.

Any other methods that others have used sucessfully?

Thanks for all the feedback!

You guys are lucky to only wait a month. Citibank wanted to wait 2 months minimum, for a check from the US, and they are a fricking US bank themselves.

My advice: If it is a small amount, keep a ‘free checking’ account open back home, send the check to them by mail for deposit (as the other person said endorse it ‘For Deposit Only’ followed by your account number and signature), then use your ATM card here to withdraw.

If it is a large amount, have your bank do an international wire transfer to your bank here, though you’ll probably need an account at one of the banks that does foreign exchange. I’ve used Cathay United Bank here. My US bank charges $35 for the wire transfer, and CUB charges a flat commision of NT500 to change to NT. The nice thing about wire transfers is that they usually take less than 24 hours.

As for cashing travelers checks, you probably went about it wrong. The tellers can’t do anything about them and probably didn’t know what you are on about. You’ll need to go to the foreign exchange desk in a bank that does foreign exchange. They are better than cash there.

My bank (actually credit union) lets me do wire transfers by phone. I have to answer about a billion personal questions, then they fax me a form, I sign and fax it back then they call again and ask me my shoe size and favorite color and then they do it. Plus I have to do it in the middle of the night since that’s business hours back there. It’s a bit of a pain but it’s always worked out quite well.

Is it possible to open an account denominated in Euros??

Also, are these accounts really in the non-NTD currency, or do they just print your statement out after dividing by today’s exchange rate?

They are really non-NTD accounts.

Well, if they are your own traveler’s checks, then you can cash them at any bank, and in fact you get a much better exchange rate when you cash traveler’s checks than if you had exchanged US dollars as cash.

But if the traveler’s checks are ones that someone else has given you, then it’s extremely difficult to cash them. I was very lucky to find that one bank that let me cash the traveler’s checks after waiting a month. All the other banks that I went to (about 10 different banks) flatly refused to cash them. They all told me that they would only cash traveler’s checks that follow these rules:

  1. The name in the upper left corner has to be the same name as the person cashing the checks (and you have to show your passport or ARC card to prove it).
  2. The person who cashes the checks must sign his/her name in the presense of the bank teller when he/she cashes the checks.
  3. The signature in the lower right corner must match the signature in the upper left corner.
  4. The middle of each check (where it says “Pay to the order of”) must be blank.

Since my parents gave me the traveler’s checks, they violated all the rules except Rule #3. So that’s why they were so difficult to cash.


I’ve had no problems cashing travelers checks here. I used the Bank of Taiwan.

Be careful having people send you travelers checks, if it’s blank and it gets lost in the mail American Express may not cover it as their was no signature on the check. Of course you could lie about where you lost it, but they’ll probably ask you if you signed it, if they get the check back with a different signature there could be problems.

Mark I am surprised they cashed the check without your name being somewhere on the check.

I guess if you didn’t want to save the money someone sends you and if you have a credit card back home they could send the money to your credit card account, so long as you use the money before 45-90 days they won’t send you a check back with the balance. You’d have to check with the CC company first though to find out how many days you have before they send it back to you.

My name was in the middle of the check, where it says “Pay to the order of:”

As a matter of fact, I’ve used this method many times because I have a credit card issued by an American bank. If I need the money, then I can withdraw it by sticking my credit card into any ATM machine in Taiwan that has a sticker with the VISA logo, but the maximum the ATM machines let me withdraw is only 6000 NT each time (compared to 20,000 NT if it was a regular bank account).

If I don’t need the money, then I just leave it in my credit card account. The bank that issued my credit card never sends me checks, no matter how long the money has been in the account.

Which credit card company do you use Mark? All of mine insist on sending me a check if I don’t use the money sitting in the account.

My credit card was issued by NASA Federal Credit Union because I used to work for NASA (as a computer programmer). It’s a great credit card because I have a US$10,000 limit, no annual fee, and only 8% interest. You can only get it if you work for NASA, but then you can keep it for the rest of your life. (It’s already been 13 years since I quit my job at NASA!)

Well, probably every federal credit union has the same benefits, so you just need to work for any U.S. government agency to get a credit card from a federal credit union.

Figures. I used to have one of those, but right before I came to Taiwan I closed the account, about a week after that someone told me that was a bad idea as I wouldn’t be able to get another one unless I worked for another company that used their bank… Oh well, live and learn…

Has anyone tried using paypal in Taiwan? Their website says they can set up accounts in Taiwan, but I’ve never tried it. I don’t know if it means you can simply transfer money to a CC and withdraw it that way or if it means you can set up a paypal account that links directly to a Taiwanese bank account. In the US, paypal can link directly to a US bank account. So if you were trying to send money to yourself, you could theoretically use paypal to withdraw money from your US account into your paypal account, and then transfer from your paypal account to your Taiwanese bank account.

If you’re trying to cash a personal check, I agree with the suggestion that you deposit it to your bank in the US and then using your ATM card to withdraw the funds in TW. However, I would never endorse a check that I am sending through the mail. Little known fact is that you don’t need to endorse checks if they are for deposit only made out to you and you are depositing it into your own account. I make deposits by mail all the time and never endorse the checks. Once a check is endorsed, it’s basically fully negotiable. I wouldn’t trust the "
“for deposit only” method, maybe someone could white it out.

I have a paypal account registered in the US and use it quite frequently, but have not used it for any payments in Taiwan yet. But what you are saying sounds pretty cool, you may indeed be able to do that, but usually paypal will not let you pay yourself, it still may work as the credit card you deposit the money to would be different than the one on your paypal account.

Never, Never sign your checks and then send them through the mail. Write, “For Deposit Only” then your account number and the name of your bank all on the top of the check on the back, fill in as much as the endorsement space as you can so no one can change the information or add to it.

I’m sorry, but I need to congratulate myself - This is my 1000th post!! FINALLLY!!! ha ha ha!!!