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Can a bank refuse to cash a personal cheque for me if I am not a customer of that bank?
Yes. Banks and trust and loan companies administer their own internal policies and guidelines with respect to their daily activities, including their cheque-cashing policies. They are therefore not required to cash personal cheques — either for their own customers or for non-customers.
However, as of September 30, 2003, even if you are not a customer of the bank (that is, if you have neither a personal deposit account nor a credit card with the bank), the bank must still cash a Government of Canada cheque. This requirement applies as long as the cheque is for $1,500 or less and you show acceptable identification. The bank must also provide this service to you free of charge. However, a bank can refuse to cash a Government of Canada cheque if it believes, on reasonable grounds, that:
If you present acceptable identification and the bank refuses to cash your Government of Canada cheque, the bank must inform you, in writing, that it refuses to cash the cheque. However, the bank does not have to give you a written reason for its refusal. The bank must also tell you how to contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). If you do contact us, we can investigate to determine if the bank had a right to refuse you.
You can also make a complaint to the bank. Federal financial consumer protection legislation requires all federally regulated financial institutions to have a complaint-handling process in place to help resolve disputes between consumers and their financial institutions. This process includes a third-party dispute-resolution body.
FCAC publishes the complaint-handling process for all federally regulated financial institutions on its Web site. To find the complaint-handling process for your financial institution, click here . If you are having difficulty finding this information, call our Consumer Contact Centre at 1-866-461-3222 (toll-free).