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Cheques in euro zone - which language?
Thread poster: Charlie Bavington
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:06
French to English
Feb 23, 2007

Altho I'm a UK resident, I have a bank account in France (with Soc Gen, if that makes a difference), which I have kept open from the time I was living there (i.e. it's not a special non-residents account).

My question is, if I write a cheque in euros (obviously) to someone living outside France but in the euro-zone, which language do I use for the "amount in words" part of the cheque? I've looked at the cheque book, there is no indication there.
Should it be the payee's language, so the "local" bank can understand it, or in French, so Soc Gen can understand it when they get the cheque returned after clearing?

Supplementary question: The fact that the cheque says "payable en France" doesn't stop me doing this, does it???
(I have a feeling I should know this!)


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Anita Cassidy  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2005)
English to German
why not use bank transfer? Feb 23, 2007

Hi Charlie, as far as I know, the cheque-clearing systems have remained national ("payable en France" probably does mean that you can only send payment to someone in France that way). Either enquire at your French bank as to the different options available, or pay by electronic transfer. Or is this not an option?
Anita


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:06
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Transfer can be tricky Feb 23, 2007

OK, I confess I haven't asked my bank about ANY of this stuff yet. I prefer, where possible, to gather info from people with actual experience, initially.
Too often, I find that "customer service" will just not know the answer, or make up rules/advice on the spot. They are, after all, just human, they may just say "no, you can't" because you're the first person who ever asked the question, and they assume the answer is no as a result.
So, forewarned is forearmed is my motto

Anecdotally, I have heard from a few people that French banks can be reluctant to enable credit transfers on accounts held by people living abroad. I don't know why. French banks can be a bit funny, sometimes! Truth is, I thought - avoid the hassle, send a cheque. And then I thought, hmmm, wonder what language you're supposed to use?

And, even just as a passing lingusitic question, I really am starting to wonder about which language to use, whether anyone has had any issues, ever? A Spanish bank refusing to cash a German cheque 'cos it was written in German, say (random example)....


[Edited at 2007-02-23 12:55]


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Sonia Hill
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:06
Member (2010)
Italian to English
Cheques in other languages Feb 23, 2007

I'm not sure if this is of any help to you, but I have successfully paid euro cheques written in Italian into my UK bank account. I don't think the language should be a major issue because after all the figure is also shown in numbers. I would say in your case you should probably write the figure in French, but I would double check this.
My bank says that I can pay in cheques in any foreign currency and does not say anything about cheques in different languages. In my experience it accepts cheques in all languages.


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:06
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Write in French Feb 23, 2007

If it is a normal chèque I would write it in French, since at the end it is your French bank which will check the "quality "of the cheque and give the go for the account of your client to be credited.

There is no mention of it on the chequebook ... because it is so obvious for the bank !!! In France people speak French. period. ;-o)

Some years ago (many ?it was before the EURO ) I had Eurocheques from a French bank, which I could use in various European country writing them directly in the local currency and the local language. I think they don't exist anymore because the Visa card is now widely accepted everywhere in Europe, which has not always be the case.

But beware of banking fees, they can be very high even to cash the cheque in the euro-zone. As for the pound ....

PS I can imagine the look of horror on my bank account manager' face if he were to get a cheque of mine written in English ! But then I live in a very small place...


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Daniel García
English to Spanish
+ ...
In the language of the bank issuing the cheque Feb 23, 2007


And, even just as a passing lingusitic question, I really am starting to wonder about which language to use, whether anyone has had any issues, ever? A Spanish bank refusing to cash a German cheque 'cos it was written in German, say (random example)....


[Edited at 2007-02-23 12:55]


I used to have a customer in Taiwan how paid me with cheques in dollars issued by a USA bank (the bank's branch was also in the USA, not in Taiwan).

The cheques were written in English (the language of the issuing bank). My local Spanish bank never had (I was then in Spain) never had any problem.

I don't know how cheques work exactly, but I imagine that fax or an electronic copy of the cheque is sent to the issuing branch (I guess they have to at least check signature).

So, in my experience, the ammount in words should be in the language of the bank on which the account is.

Daniel


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 12:06
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Avoid the prob-send money via online banking Feb 23, 2007

I just cashed a French cheque yesterday, made out in Euro of course. That pleasure cost me a full €18.00 and the money isn't on my account yet. Why make the banks even richer-pay people via online banking!! All you need is their IBAN and BIC numbers. I had provided mine but a cheque came anyway. Now I know to insist on a bank transfer.

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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:06
German to English
+ ...
do the payee a favour: use wire transfer if possible Feb 23, 2007

France and the UK seem to be holdouts in Europe with regard to cheque usage. I have one regular client in France and another less regular one in the UK that insist on paying by cheque, despite several requests to pay by wire transfer. As a result, it costs me around 20 euros per cheque for bank processing fees (all NL banks have abolished cheques), and cheques take 3 to 4 weeks to clear.

There shouldn't be any reason why your bank cannot handle wire transfers (aside from stubbornness).

[Edited at 2007-02-23 14:47]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:06
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your comments Feb 23, 2007

OK, so it would appear that it is likely that, whatever language I wrote it in, my poor old payees would likely suffer some kind of deduction. I could, I suppose, add a bit to their invoice in compensation, but it's still not nice. And having to wait 3 or 4 weeks for it to clear? No, I think that definitely rules the cheque option out.

I admit that neither of these issues had even crossed my mind (hence I thought a cheque would, notwithstanding my question, be fine).
I naively thought that all that nonsense had been ironed out some time ago, and that a single currency was a single currency. Old habits die hard, I guess

To writeaway: I do in fact have on-line banking with Soc Gen. Leaving aside the fact that you need to frig about with your mobile phone to get a code to authorise a transfer, such transfers are strictly within France only. Which actually means I write a cheque for French payees (!) and my online "banking" is limited to keeping an eye on the balance

As if to reinforce the idea that when you talk about a problem, you can sometimes find the answer yourself, I just decided to take a look at the Soc Gen form (on paper, which I post to the bank) that I use to transfer my hard-earned euros to the UK so I can spend them.
In my head, this is the "transfer money to the UK form". In reality, it's called "transfer money abroad", and I have to give them special instructions to convert to GBP (which remain the same every time, and so are not in the forefront of my mind). It seems probable I will be able to use this form, although I'll phone to check.

Still, hopefully this short discussion might help others finding themselves in the same position in future, so thanks for all your input.

Charlie
(wanders off, still mumbling about a so-called single currency...)


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Kelly O'Connor  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:06
Italian to English
US experience Feb 24, 2007

Charlie Bavington wrote:

Altho I'm a UK resident, I have a bank account in France (with Soc Gen, if that makes a difference), which I have kept open from the time I was living there (i.e. it's not a special non-residents account).

My question is, if I write a cheque in euros (obviously) to someone living outside France but in the euro-zone, which language do I use for the "amount in words" part of the cheque? I've looked at the cheque book, there is no indication there.
Should it be the payee's language, so the "local" bank can understand it, or in French, so Soc Gen can understand it when they get the cheque returned after clearing?

Supplementary question: The fact that the cheque says "payable en France" doesn't stop me doing this, does it???
(I have a feeling I should know this!)



Giving my US perspective, I have had some trouble depositing checks from Italian and French customers into my US account. My smaller, local bank refused to accept the check (said it would be too expensive - for whom?) while my other bank (a huge international bank) accepted the check but the teller was baffled by the foreign language amount and use of commas in place of decimal points. In the end, the checks cleared (it took about 4 weeks), but the bank took a large chunk in the process.

As to wire transfers, I have had two wire transfers rejected by my receiving bank for "mistakes" made in the coordinates in the payment order, so be diligent in providing the correct numbers. Fewer problems with PayPal and MB (none at all with PayPal, except for the expense!).


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