February 2006


Checking Checks or Cheques

To Whom It May Concern:

Enclosed is a check that I mailed to the IU Credit Union to be deposited to my savings account.

Unfortunately, it was rejected by one of your agents as being a “Foreign item valued below the $100 USD minimum amount.”

Apparently your teller looked at the return address at the top of the check which indicates it was written by a firm based in the United Kingdom, but failed to notice that (a) the check was written in US dollars; and (b) the check was written on the Randolph National Bank in Randolph, Vermont (Vermont is a well known state in the United States of America).

In fact, every thing about the check suggests that it is an American Check not a British Cheque: The ABA routing codes at the bottom of the front; the “Endorse here,” and space reserved for financial institution use (per the Federal Reserve Board of Governors) on the back.

I would request that the check be deposited into my account with all due speed, and that you engage in rigorous training of your tellers on how to identify a US based check versus a British cheque for it is possible for British companies to have US checking accounts.

In order to aid your educational training, I have enclosed a specimen cheque from the United Kingdom. Your employees should note the dramatic differences in the layout of a British Cheque versus and American Check.


Adam Lederer

3 comments to Checking Checks or Cheques

  • MT

    ugh. I f***ing hate bad service.

  • ChrisC

    Having been a bank teller I can tell you that this is an easy oversight. Also, do you know what kind of hell tellers catch if they DON’T catch a legitimate one?

    I will say it should have been caught in the proofing somewhere though. A bank teller is the first line in the proofing process, but there are at least 2 more stops before the check actually clears.

    Also keep in mind that bank tellers get paid about the same amount as people starting out at Sprawl-Mart. That could have quite a bit to do with the bad service.

    There is no money to be made in banking. *shrugs*

  • Here in Canada, we only have cheques, and they also lack the ABA routing numbers on the bottom. Also, cheques (on average) tend to be “longer” horizontally and dates are written in a format that differs from the US standard.