Cashing a cheque: a question to British residents
Thread poster: marie-christine périé

marie-christine périé  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:52
English to French
+ ...
Nov 8, 2006

A client I've been working with for over a year and who usually pays me through bank transfers suddenly decided he would send me a cheque.
So this morning I received this Barclays bank, XXX branch, cheque in euros, with "payable only in Great Britain" on it. As I'm in France, my bank won't accept it.

But I'm going to Edimburgh conference later this week, and I wondered if I could walk into any Banclays branch and ask for the cheque to be paid to me in cash?

Can you do that? Thanks in advance for your help!



Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:52
English to Arabic
+ ...
Does it say A/C Payee? Nov 8, 2006

I can't say for sure, but when I first got here, I took a cheque to the bank it was issued from, thinking I could get the money cash, but I was told that the cheque said "Account payee only", which means that the cheque can only be paid into my personal account, through my bank.
So from then on I've always sent the cheques to my bank.
I'm not sure if all cheques are like that, but all the ones I get have the words "A/C payee" written across the front of the cheque.


marie-christine périé  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:52
English to French
+ ...
Thanks, Nesrin. Do, it does not say A/C Payee, Nov 8, 2006

just "payable only in Great Britain"


Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:52
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Slightly off-topic - educating your client Nov 8, 2006

marie-christine périé wrote:
So this morning I received this Barclays bank, XXX branch, cheque in euros, with "payable only in Great Britain" on it. As I'm in France, my bank won't accept it.

Hi Marie-Christine,

Judging by the "payable only in Great Britain" detail, your client showed an utterly unprofessional behaviour - they should have been aware of the fact that you're based in France, and acted accordingly.

If I were you (and hadn't got the opportunity to go to Edinburgh), I'd send the cheque straight back, asking them to wire you the amount as before.



Henrik Pipoyan  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:52
Member (2004)
English to Armenian
First check with your bank or the client Nov 8, 2006

You may still be able to cash it in France. Once I received a similar check, which said “payable only in Great Britain”. I asked my client to issue another check, but they told me I could cash it in France. And I did. So if you haven’t checked with your bank or with the client, you’d better do it. Only, if I am not mistaken, the commission of the bank was higher than usual.


CMJ_Trans (X)
Local time: 04:52
French to English
+ ...
You can try but.... Nov 8, 2006

To the best of my knowledge they banned cashing cheques over the counter in the UK decades ago.
They will have to send you a euro cheque not marked "payable only in UK"
My two cents


marie-christine périé  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:52
English to French
+ ...
Thanks, Steffen, Henrik and CMJ, but... Nov 8, 2006

Steffen, you're right, of course, I just didn't feel like going through the trouble (wrongly so, I admit). Pure lazyness...

Henrik, I should have mentioned that the client not only decided to send a cheque but also sent it not to me but to my bank. So it's my bank which in turn sent it to me!

CMJ, I'm afraid you must be right ;-(
Oh well, I'll just have to stop being lazy!


Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:52
French to English
Money laundering Nov 8, 2006

CMJ is right. As far as I know, the only way these days that you can "just walk into" a bank get cash in exchange for a cheque is if with a cheque drawn on your own account and when the account is actually held AT THE BRANCH that you've "just walked" into (i.e. you can't even do it at another branch of the same bank in another town).

Even then, you need proof of i/d, a blood and urine sample, all 4 grandparents to accompany you to say you are who you claim to be, undergo a DNA test, every utility bill you ever received as proof of address for the last 30 years, etc.icon_smile.gif

HOWEVER, exceptions are made (e.g. when the ATM is not working).

IF you can find the phone number of the actual branch in Edinburg you plan to go to (not always easy in these days of centralised call centres) it is JUST possible that you MIGHT be able to do so if you explain the situation. Take as much i/d as you can fit in your suitcase - more seriously, something that includes both a photo and your signature, at least 2 official items (e.g. utility bills, tax returns) that prove your address and a copy of the invoice that the cheque relates to (to prove that nothing criminal is occurring). if you get them in a good mood, they MIGHT co-operate.

Unless the cheque is for over 500 GBP, in which case you've got no chance - I have a friend who works in bank compliance, and he told me that banks have to notify the police for all cash transactions over 500 GBP, and some banks will refuse point blank to hand over more than 500 GBP under any circumstances.

FWIW, I do wonder whether this might be a tactic of your client to delay paying you - perhaps they are having cash flow problems? Be warned...icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2006-11-08 14:13]


marie-christine périé  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:52
English to French
+ ...
Actually, I wondered too, Charlie Nov 8, 2006

That's one of the reasons I would quite have liked to cash it straightaway... I now realize I shall have to keep fingers crossed a while longer.


Sarah Brenchley  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
Your bank should cash it Nov 8, 2006

I am based in Spain and whenever I am sent an American cheque in dollars, I just pay it into my Spanish euro account. My bank is quite happy to pay them - although I do have to wait the mandatory 30 days for international cheques to be cleared and to pay the necessary bank commission.
If I were you, I would speak to your bank and see what they can do.
In these days of itnernational trade, it's becoming more and more common for banks to be able to accept foreign cheques.
All the best,


Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:52
Member (2005)
Italian to English
Hi Marie-Christine, Nov 8, 2006

I worked for a major UK bank for 7 years and can confirm that no UK bank will allow you to cash a cheque over the counter, whether or not you have an account with that bank.

All cheques (except international bankers' drafts) have to go through the bank clearing process, which in the UK takes between 3 and 7 working days (depending on the bank) and the funds MUST pass through a bank account before you can access them.

A UK cheque, written on a UK GBP account may be accepted abroad, irrespective of whether "A/c payee" is written on it or not, so long as it is written in pounds sterling (otherwise they become invalid), however such cheques take anything up to 30 days to clear before you can access the cash.

If the client holds a euro account with a GBP bank, he may then write a cheque in euro currency which your bank will accept with the usual clearance times for your country.

I recently sent a cheque payment abroad and since I don't have a euro account and didn't want to delay payment by 30 days, I ordered an International Bankers Draft - written in euros by my bank manager and which is treated as a standard cheque.

However, as the cheque you received clearly states "payable only in the UK", no bank abroad will be able to cash it and the only way you can cash it is to open a UK account, which seems pointless.

If I were you I would phone the client and explain the various payment options.

Best of luck,



Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:52
English to French
Cash it quick Nov 8, 2006

They may be buying time, as Charlie hinted (always good fun to read, this man).

Reminds me of a sad story: I receive post-9/11 a cheque from an French agency that used to pay by wire transfer. No incident, 2-year relationship, a bit foot-dragging for payment but no real dispute. I thought OK, they must have changed their payment practices, I'll put it through my local bank. I knew it would take about one month to be credited to my account. Unfortunately, the delay was too long and about 20 days afterwards, the agency filed for bankruptcy, and my 2400 euro cheque bounced back unpaid (I was owed 3700)...
Flew to Paris, tried to cash it in at the bank (they may still remember me and how effing mad I was at their customer) with no success of course. But I was given the details of the practise dealing with the bankruptcy (400keuros debt, 59 creditors including me).

Depending on the amount, it may be worth trying to open an account there in the UK!

Good luck,


RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:52
German to English
Shouldn't be a problem Nov 9, 2006

We had the same thing recently: a cheque - rather than wire transfer - from a UK client that had recently been taken over by a US bulge bracket bank.

Our bank here in Germany pushed it through the clearing system and it was credited to our account within the normal period, with no additional charges. I think the banks don't bother too much about things like "payable only in Great Britain".

Maybe you need a new bank....



Angeliki Papadopoulou  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:52
English to Greek
+ ...
Interesting information; all of it... Nov 9, 2006

... for anyone transacting business with UK firms (or planning to in the future). And Charlie me lad, it is always delicious reading your contributions! Love 'em. Hope to read you again soon.


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