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How Expats Can Cash Checks From the IRS While Abroad in 2021

How Expats Can Cash Checks From the IRS While Abroad in 2021
Ines Zemelman, EA
12 December 2021

How to Cash Stimulus Check While Residing Outside of the USA

If you are able to use direct deposit, more power to you and this article is not for you. If you are in the US, cashing stimulus checks and refund checks is easy, but if you are residing abroad, cashing a stimulus check internationally may prove difficult in some cases.

While we are not a financial institution, we have compiled a list of helpful tips to help ensure you can utilize the funds sent to you from the IRS.

Deposit to a bank account if they accept US checks

The following banks accept U.S. checks:

  • Lloyd's Bank (UK)
  • Bank of Scotland (UK)
  • NatWest (UK) Barclays (UK)
  • HSBC (International)
  • DKB (German online bank)
  • Sparda Bank (Germany)
  • Sparkassen (Germany)
  • UBS (Switzerland)
  • Credit Suisse (Switzerland)
  • Crédit Agricole (France)

Open a U.S. bank account

There are a number of commercial banks that will allow you to open a U.S. bank account from a non-US address. They may charge you to open an account or require some other fee(s). This is obviously less than ideal, but if it solves the problem then it might be worth the effort.

You can set up a U.S. bank account with the State Department Federal Credit Union if you live abroad and have no U.S. address. SDFCU accounts are not free of charge.

Wise Multi-Currency Account

Open a Wise Multi Currency Account, which gives you a USA bank account number.  Sample image below (source: Wise, Formerly TransferWise).
 

While Wise can't accept payments in cash and can’t be used for US check cashing, they can provide you with a US bank account. By creating a US bank account, you can have your refund directly deposited to your Wise US bank account, and then easily transferred to your local account in your local currency. You can read more about Wise account and direct deposit in their article here: https://wise.com/us/blog/coronavirus-relief-payments-get-paid.

Use an online bank account to deposit a check

Many banks allow you to deposit a check using your phone. You take a picture of the front and back, and the bank deposits it. You need a US bank account and to download the app on your phone. Most banks will support this option. Popular choices include Ally or Schwab.

Ines Zemelman, EA
Founder of TFX