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 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

There are two options for providing identification (ID) when you wish to cash a government cheque. You must use original ID, not photocopies.

Option 1:

Show any two pieces from the list of acceptable ID below.

Option 2:

Show one piece of ID from the following list if:

  • the ID includes both your signature and photo, or
  • your identity is also confirmed by a client in good standing with the bank or federal credit union or by an individual of good standing in the community where the financial institution is located

List of acceptable ID:

  • valid Canadian driver’s licence that can be used as ID under provincial or territorial law
  • Canadian passport
  • foreign passport
  • birth certificate issued in Canada
  • Social Insurance card issued by the Government of Canada
  • Old Age Security card issued by the Government of Canada
  • Certificate of Indian Status
  • provincial or territorial health insurance card that can be used as ID under provincial or territorial law
    • contact your provincial or territorial Consumer Affairs office to confirm if your health insurance card is an acceptable piece of ID where you live
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship or Certification of Naturalization
  • document or card with your picture and signature on it issued by one of the following authorities or its successors:
    • Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
    • Alberta Registries
    • Saskatchewan Government Insurance
    • Department of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
    • Department of Transportation and Infrastructure of the province of Prince Edward Island
    • Service New Brunswick
    • Service NL of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador
    • Department of Transportation of Northwest Territories
    • Department of Community Government and Transportation of Nunavut
  • Permanent Resident card or an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) form IMM 1000, IMM 1442, or IMM 5292
    • IRCC also issues form IMM 5688 as a Confirmation of Permanent Residence. Check with your bank or federal credit union to see if they will accept this form
  • employee ID card with your picture on it that has been issued by an employer well known in the community
  • debit card or bank card, issued by a member of Payments Canada, with your name and signature on it
  • credit card, issued by a member of Payments Canada, with your name and signature on it
  • client card from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind with your picture and signature on it

Learn more about the financial institutions that are members of Payments Canada.

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

Cashing your emergency benefits-related cheque

The Government of Canada has temporarily increased the cheque-cashing limit to $2,000 for emergency benefits-related cheques to individuals.

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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