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How are foreign currency cheques processed?

See all Foreign exchange FAQs

Last updated 16 August 2017


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.

See the Standard Fees and Charges for International Payments and Travel Funds for a full list of fees.

1. Negotiation

Under this method the Commonwealth Bank converts the funds, using the current Deposit Foreign Cheque exchange rate, and deposits the funds into your account immediately.  Whilst these funds will show in your account they are not available for you to access for 20 calendar days. This 20 day period is to allow time for the overseas issuing bank to advise the Commonwealth Bank if the cheque has been dishonoured.

2. Collection

Cheques greater than $300 can be processed on collection.

Under this method the Commonwealth Bank sends the cheque overseas to the bank that issued it. The funds will be converted by the Commonwealth Bank and deposited into your account on the day the overseas bank honours the cheque, less any applicable fees.  

This method can take up to 8 weeks for the funds to show in your account.

Q. What will happen if my cheque is dishonoured?

In the event the cheque is 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 deducted from your account, plus any overseas bank charges.  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 and fees.

Q. Once the value of a foreign cheque has reached my account, can it still be dishonoured?

The overseas bank that has issued the foreign cheque, may at any time dishonour the cheque. This could be after you receive payment and if this happens you will need to return the funds to us.

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