Cashing a Government of Canada cheque

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Enrol in direct deposit

The Government of Canada is switching to direct deposit for all its payments. If you currently receive your federal payment(s) such as your income tax refund, GST/HST credits, Canada child tax benefit or Canada Pension Plan payments by cheque, enrol in direct deposit.

You have the right to cash your Government of Canada cheque at any bank for free, even if you’re not a customer.

You can cash your Government of Canada cheque at any branch of a bank in Canada that has tellers. 

Identification you need to cash a Government of Canada cheque

To cash your cheque, you'll have to show one acceptable piece of identification (ID). The ID must have both your photo and your signature. For example, your ID could be a driver’s license or a passport.

If you don’t have any ID with both your photo and your signature on it, you’ll have to show two acceptable pieces of ID. You may also have someone in good standing with the bank or in the community confirm your identity.

Find a list of identification documents you may use when cashing a cheque or opening a bank account.

When a bank won’t cash your Government of Canada cheque

A bank can refuse to cash a Government of Canada cheque for you if: 

  • the bank suspects that it's counterfeit
  • the cheque is for more than $1,500
  • the cheque has been endorsed or signed by a third-party
  • the cheque has been altered in some way
  • the cheque is connected with a crime or fraud

If the bank won’t cash your cheque, it must give you a letter saying it won’t do so. It must also tell you how to contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) if you have a complaint. 

Learn the steps to make a complaint.

Cashing an old Government of Canada cheque

You can cash a Government of Canada cheque no matter how old it is. Government of Canada cheques don’t have an expiry date and never become stale-dated. However, it may take longer to cash an older cheque because a financial institution may first want to verify that the cheque is legitimate.

If you’re having a problem cashing an old federal government cheque, send it to the Cheque Redemption and Control Directorate. Ask to have it reissued with a current date.

Cheque Redemption and Control Directorate
Returned Cheques
P.O. Box 2000
Matane, QC
G4W 4N5

Cashing your Government of Canada cheque at a payday lender or cheque-cashing outlet

Payday loan companies and other cheque-cashing outlets charge a fee to cash a Government of Canada cheque. The fee is usually a percentage of the amount you're depositing plus a flat fee.

Example: How much it costs to cash a Government of Canada cheque at a payday loan company

Suppose you have a Government of Canada cheque worth $1,000.

It would cost you about $33 to cash it if the payday loan company charges you:

  • 2.99% of the value of the cheque, plus
  • $2.99 for each item you cash

This means that after fees, you'd only get about $967 instead of the full $1,000.

Before using a payday loan company or other cheque-cashing service to cash your Government of Canada cheque, make sure you understand all of the fees that you’ll have to pay.

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