How can I maximize the conversion rate for a foreign check?
February 17, 2012 7:13 AM   Subscribe

I have a GBP-denominated check that I need to deposit into my USD-denominated bank account in the US. My bank has quoted me a ridiculous conversion rate for the deposit. What are my options?

The "exchange" rate according to Google is 1.58 today (yes, I'm aware this is not an official quote). I understand the bank will have a different rate, but they quoted me 1.22, so by depositing the check, I lose 30% of it's (not inconsequential) value. Do I have any other options for getting this check converted and deposited?

I've been increasingly upset with my bank of late due to a number of issues, is now the time to switch? Is there a bank (preferably not bailed-out) that will handle this better?
posted by undercoverhuwaaah to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
No joke, I've had great luck with Citibank. When they've done spot conversions on my credit/debit cards it's always been within a couple cents of the rates on XE.

Yes, they're despicable. Yes, they're owned by an evil Saudi Oil Billionaire.

But they do have great customer service!
posted by Oktober at 7:16 AM on February 17, 2012

You should be able to ask that the funds be sent in GBP and have the receiving bank to the conversion to USD, they may offer a better rate.

Best rates I've seen on transfers are Barclays.
posted by nickrussell at 7:21 AM on February 17, 2012

If you know a trustworthy person with a British bank account, they could PayPal it to you. Great rates.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:48 AM on February 17, 2012

I've had terrible problems with this over the years. It's bizarre how challenging it can be on both ends. Had to open an account with another bank just to get it converted once.

One slightly bizarre option for future reference is to have the check writer cross out "pounds" and write in "dollars" on the check (making the conversion themselves)! This would shift the costs I suppose.
posted by idb at 7:48 AM on February 17, 2012

Did not see that it was a check. Have also dealt with this as well.

As mentioned, Citibank has an account that accepts deposits in USD/GBP/EUR.

A mate told me Western Union does it as well for a flat fee.
posted by nickrussell at 8:43 AM on February 17, 2012

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