Cashing a check in Ukraine
January 31, 2012 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Need to cash a security deposit check, but the person whose name is on the check is in Ukraine.

My wife's parents live in Ukraine and were visiting us recently (in the USA) for six weeks. We found a short-term apartment for them while they were here, which was rented in their names. They've gone back to Ukraine now, and everything worked fine, except now we need to get our security deposit back and the check is causing us trouble.

The local apartment people originally told us the check could be put in my name, but I guess they didn't check with corporate, because they went back on that. They gave us two possibilities: One is they will send us a check made out to my wife's parents. The other is they will make it out to us if we get a notarized letter from my wife's parents authorizing it.

My wife tells me that getting that either cashing the check in Ukraine or getting a notarized letter in Ukraine are impossible (or more trouble than it's worth for a $100 check). Does anyone have any ideas how we can get our money back?
posted by AlexanderPetros to Work & Money (6 answers total)
Best answer: Do you have the same last name as your parents? Get the check, sign it, deposit it via an ATM.

The most likely scenario is that no one will notice. Or care.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:17 AM on January 31, 2012

Can you/they open an online checking account in their name? Basically you just need an account to deposit it into. If you deposit the check rather than cashing it, you don't need to sign it.
posted by postel's law at 9:24 AM on January 31, 2012

Best answer: Banks do not check payees nor endorsements on checks these days, especially not big banks, especially not $100 checks, especially not those deposited in an ATM. Checks are now entirely scanned and processed by computers and unless it's handwritten so badly that it can't be read by the machine, it's likely no human eye will ever look at it closely. So sign it as one of your wife's parents, endorse it over to her and have her sign it, throw it in an ATM. Done.

I have deposited checks made out to my wife into my checking account, which predates our relationship, without her even endorsing them over to me, in fact.

Does this imply that checks are an entirely unsecure method of payment? Yes. Yes, it does.
posted by kindall at 9:25 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Consular officers at US Embassies have notary power. Looking at the website for the US Embassy to the Ukraine, it looks like that service is offered to all nationalities (your question doesn't make clear whether her parents are US citizens). There's a $50 fee.
posted by solotoro at 9:38 AM on January 31, 2012

Oh, whoops, apologies, I missed that the deposit is $100 on first read. Hope you find an alternate solution.
posted by solotoro at 9:39 AM on January 31, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks everybody. I guess I'll try having it signed over to my wife and see if they'll take it. I just remember doing something like that in the past, and having both parties needing to be present at the bank.
posted by AlexanderPetros at 10:33 AM on January 31, 2012

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