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How are foreign currency cheques processed?

See all Foreign exchange FAQs

Last updated 22 June 2016


Foreign currency cheques cannot be cleared like a cheque that is issued in Australia. The Commonwealth Bank must send the foreign currency cheque overseas to the bank that issued the cheque to obtain clearance and receive the money.

The Commonwealth Bank uses two options to process foreign currency cheques.

  1. Cheques $5000 or less can be processed by negotiation.

    Under this method the Commonwealth Bank converts the funds to Australian dollars today (using the current exchange rate), and deposits funds to your account immediately. Whilst these funds will show in your account they are not available for you to withdraw for 20 calendar days. This 20 day period is to allow time for the issuing bank to advise the Commonwealth Bank of any foreign cheques that are dishonoured. The cheque can still be dishonoured after the 20 day period. You will need to return the funds to us if this happens.

    If the cheque gets dishonoured, the value of the cheque will be reconverted back into the foreign currency (using the exchange rate at the time we are notified the cheque is dishonoured) and that amount is deducted from your account.  The amount deducted from your account may be more or less than what was originally paid into the account due to changes in exchange rates.

    This option costs $18.

  2. Cheques greater than $300 can be processed on collection.

    Under this method the Commonwealth Bank sends the cheque overseas to be processed by the bank that issued it. After we receive the money from the issuing bank, we convert it into AUD and deposit funds into your account. The cheque can still be dishonoured after you receive payment. If this happens you will need to return the funds to us. The value of the cheque will be reconverted back to the foreign currency (using the exchange rate at the time we were notified the cheque is dishonoured) and this amount deducted from your account.

    This option costs $30 (overseas bank charges may also apply).

    This method can take up to 8 weeks for the money to be available.

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