Cashing a Government of Canada cheque
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Your right to cash a Government of Canada cheque
You have the right to cash your Government of Canada cheque for free at a bank (including federal credit unions) and at an authorized foreign bank (banks).
You can cash your Government of Canada cheque at any branch of a bank in Canada that has tellers and that offers disburse cash services. You can do so even if you’re not a customer of that bank.
Find out more about your rights when cashing a Government of Canada cheque.
Identification you need to cash a Government of Canada cheque
To cash your Government of Canada cheque, the bank must be able to confirm your identity through proper identification.
There are three ways that allow you to meet the identification (ID) requirements. You must provide original ID, not photocopies.
(1) Provide two documents from a reliable source:
- one document indicating your name and address
- the other document indicating your name and date of birth
The two documents of identification must be from the following list:
- identification issued by the Government of Canada or the government of a province
- recent notices of tax assessments issued by the Government of Canada or the government of a province or municipality
- recent statements of benefits from the Government of Canada or the government of a province
- recent Canadian public utility bills
- recent bank account or credit card statements
- foreign passports
(2) Provide one piece of ID that is issued by the Government of Canada or the government of a province. The piece of ID must include your signature and photograph.
(3) Provide any document from a reliable source that indicates your name and date of birth. This way works only if your identity is also confirmed by:
- a customer who is in good standing with the bank, or
- someone who is of good standing in the community where you are cashing the cheque
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:
- there is evidence that the cheque has been altered in any way or is counterfeit
- the cheque is for more than $1,750
- it has reasonable grounds to believe that there has been illegal or fraudulent activity in relation to the cheque
If the bank won’t cash your cheque, it must notify you with a written statement.
They must also disclose to you:
- their procedure for dealing with complaints
- the name of the external complaints body (ECB) of which they’re a member and how to contact that ECB
- the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s mailing address, website address and telephone number
If a bank won’t cash your cheque and you feel you have been treated unfairly, you can file a complaint.
Learn how to file a complaint with your financial institution.
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 expire. 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
P.O. Box 2000
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 cashing 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 the conditions, including the fees that you’ll have to pay.
- Cashing a cheque
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- Federal, provincial and territorial Consumer Affairs offices
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