Where can we get canceled checks

How can I submit a check?

Table of Contents

  1. Where can I get checks these days?
  2. Are there different types of checks?
  3. Redemption
  4. What can stand in the way of cashing a check?
  5. costs
  6. How common is check fraud?
  7. Cashing checks is easy but expensive

In Germany, the check was in principle obsolete as a means of payment many years ago. In this country you pay either in cash, with the Girocard, the credit card, over the Internet via PayPal or other payment services. The check is no longer even used for a fraction of all payments, so that it is hardly ever listed in statistics. But checks continue to play a not insignificant role abroad. A good example of this is France, where checks are still an important means of payment in everyday life. Checks still play a crucial role in the United States and in many other countries. Checks are still used, especially when it comes to cross-border payments. So if you get a check, you should know how to turn that piece of paper into money.

Where can I get checks these days?

Due to the relevance of checks abroad, you will receive a check first and foremost for withdrawals abroad - for example if you sell a book or another item. But even in Germany it can happen in exceptional cases that you will not receive a transfer or credit on your card, but a check (see below). While this is unusual in normal business operations, there are such cases. Checks, for example, are still issued today in these areas:

Basically, whenever you receive a check, it is a credit note. At a Health insurance For example, it is usually a fee reimbursement. In some cases, submitted invoices can also be paid by means of a crossed check. In the meantime, however, this only happens very rarely. At Techniker Krankenkasse, payment by bank transfer is preferred, at AOK, payments by check are only carried out by a few directorates and in exceptional cases (as of 10/2017).

At Insurance it is similar: whenever you get money back from an insurance company, for example in the event of a claim or a refund, there is a certain probability that you will receive a check. Most providers have changed their conditions in the meantime, but some insurance companies pay out damage amounts with a check in individual cases. This applies to Gothaer Versicherung, Allianz, AXA and Signal Iduna, among others. With some other insurance companies, including DEVK and NÜRNBERGER Versicherung, payments by check are no longer possible (as of 10/2017).

Finally, there is also Tour operatorwho pay out by check: Crossed checks are used by tour operators for refunds. This is the case, for example, if a trip cannot be carried out as promised, you cancel as a customer (minus any possible fees) or if part of the travel amount is reimbursed as a reimbursement for problems. In most of these cases you can choose whether you would like a refund or a voucher from the organizer. A reimbursement by check is still possible, for example, from Thomas Cook (as of 10/2017).

In addition to the groups of companies mentioned, there are also crossed checks in a few other areas. This includes buying valuable precious metals such as gold or jewelry on the Internet. Most providers advertise that you either do a bank transfer or send a personal check for the payout. You can also order checks from almost all banks. This is possible at Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank and HypoVereinsbank, among others. However, some institutes have stopped issuing checks, including ING-DiBa (as of 10/2017).

Are there different types of checks?

When you receive a check, the cashing process is not always the same. This is because there are three different types of checks in total:

At Personal checks it is the simplest and most insecure form of check. In Germany there are actually almost no cash checks at all anymore. In principle, a cashier's check is comparable in value to cash. You can take this check to a bank branch and have the cash value of the check paid out - provided that the account to be debited has sufficient funds. In principle, anyone can cash a check without using an account number or the like.

The Personal check offers a plus in security in comparison. If you receive a crossed check, you can still cash it at a bank without any problems, but you must always state your bank account. If a check is marked “for settlement”, it can only be cashed on your own account. This also serves as a means of tracking. In the event of fraud, the money's path is easier to understand. In addition, a name is stored for each account, so that it is easier to follow up in the event of fraud. Furthermore, the credit is always made with reservation until the redeeming bank has checked whether the account to be debited (usually with another bank) has the necessary funds.

The Order check is in principle another version of the crossed check, which is supposed to offer additional security. In the case of an order check, the conditions for redemption are tightened. The name of the person who can cash the check is noted on every order check. Due to this limitation, the check cannot be cashed by everyone, including family members. If the check falls into the wrong hands, it is in principle worthless for the person concerned. This avoids any kind of check fraud.


How do I cash a check at a branch bank?

If you want to cash a check, you usually need a form from your bank. On the check deposit form, you must complete all relevant aspects of the check. In addition to the form, you must of course also present the check yourself. A credit can only be issued if both documents have been completed in full and the check has been signed by the issuer. The bank always marks the check with the note "subject to change". The check is only credited when the bank has received the necessary money from the issuer's account.

In principle, it should be possible to cash checks at all branch banks, but there are still problems. When a bank deals with a check for the first time, it usually has a hard time cashing it. In addition, when cashing a check, you must always make sure that you fill out all fields on the form completely and thoroughly. Even small mistakes make the submission impossible. In addition, the check must be filled out correctly by the issuer - otherwise it is generally impossible to cash it. This also always applies if a check is not signed. Checks can be cashed at all well-known branch banks in Germany (as of 10/2017).

How do I cash a check at a direct bank?

With direct banks, cashing a check seems more complex at first because you don't have a direct contact person there. However, at some institutions it is even easier to submit checks than at branch banks. For example, some banks simply require the check to be submitted by letter and a note with the name, IBAN, BIC and possibly a signature of the recipient. This applies, for example, to these institutes:

Most other direct banks, like the branch banks, require a form in addition to the check on which you have to enter the relevant data. In addition to the check, you must also submit a form to these banks, among others:

  • Consorsbank and DAB Bank
  • German Credit Bank (DKB)
  • Netbank
  • Wüstenrot direct

You can download the form from all of the banks mentioned simply and easily from the Internet. As soon as you have carefully filled out the form, you can send it together with the check to the address on file. The credit will then be credited to your account a few days later. Cashing a check at a direct bank sometimes takes a little longer due to the postal service, but otherwise cashing a check is not necessarily more complicated. However, you should note that a distinction is sometimes made between forms for domestic and international checks. Checks can be cashed at all major direct banks in Germany (as of 10/2017).

What can stand in the way of cashing a check?

In theory, it is possible that the cashing of a check could be rejected. There can be several different reasons for this. Above all, the check could be invalid per se and therefore not cashed. This applies, for example, in these cases:

  • the word “check” is missing from the cashier's check or cashier's check
  • the name of the bank to be debited is missing from the check
  • the issuer's account number is missing from the check
  • the amount of money on the check is not shown in numbers or letters
  • the check does not contain a binding statement
  • there is no date or place on the check
  • the check was not signed by the payer

Aside from all of these reasons, which are the publisher's problem area, you too can make a mistake when depositing a check. This is the case, for example, if you forget the submission form, choose the wrong form (such as the one for a domestic check for a foreign check) or make mistakes on the form or the check itself. In this case, the check does not necessarily become invalid immediately; a simple correction is often sufficient. In the event of serious errors, however, you may have to request a new check in order to be able to cash it in the end.


What does it cost to cash domestic checks at German banks?

Cashing domestic checks is rarely free at German banks. This is due to the fact that it is now a more or less exotic means of payment. Nevertheless, you will still find some banks in Germany where the cashing of a check is completely free of charge. The direct banks usually set a good example. Many institutions do not charge any additional fees for cashing a check as a standard service. In our current account comparison you will find several providers who waive a fee for the deposit of checks. These include:

However, you shouldn't be too sure that check cashing is free of charge at every direct bank. While Deutsche Kreditbank, ING-DiBa and Consorsbank waive a fee for their current account, you have to pay 2.90 euros per check at comdirect. So also pay attention to the exact conditions of the providers in our checking account comparison in order to avoid possible costs.

Check cashing is rarely free at branch banks. Instead, there is usually a fee of between 2 and 15 euros per redemption. With selected premium accounts, however, you can even cash as many checks as you like per month. In this case, however, you usually pay at least 10 euros a month for the account management. The better solution for the irregular cashing of checks are therefore undoubtedly direct banks such as the DKB.

What does it cost to cash international checks at German banks?

While you can still redeem domestic checks completely free of charge at least at some German banks, this is almost never possible with international checks. For example, the Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB) charges a fee of EUR 12.50 for each international check up to EUR 12,500. If it is a check with a higher value, there is a fee of one percent of the value, but a maximum of 150 euros per redemption.

For example, comdirect charges at least EUR 12.78, but only 0.15 percent of the check value for larger sums. There are similar thresholds at many other direct banks. The Consorsbank, for example, charges at least 19.95 euros, for larger checks a fee of 0.3 percent and a maximum of 90 euros. At branch banks, the fees for cashing foreign checks are sometimes even higher. Some institutes even take at least 50 euros to redeem a foreign check. So if you regularly receive international checks, we strongly recommend that you take a look at the various providers in our current account comparison in order to find a suitable bank with fair conditions and an appropriate fee structure.

How common is check fraud?

The fact that checks no longer play an important role as a means of payment in Germany is also due to the fact that they are less secure than other means of payment. With a check, there is sometimes the risk of insufficient funds. Specifically, this means that you only really have the money when the check has been successfully cashed at a bank. The bank will check the funds on the check and will not pay you the money until this has been confirmed. The check per se has no value at first. If, on the other hand, you receive a transfer and have the money in the account, there is usually no longer any possibility for the payer to reclaim it.

In 2017 there were still one or two cases of fraud related to checks. Several media have reported a case of a rip-off on eBay classifieds. In the case of expensive items, buyers ask for payment by check and send this to the seller before shipping the goods. Particularly perfidious: The check comes with a higher amount than agreed, which is why the buyers ask for a transfer back or a transfer to a third party (for example a transport company). Whoever does this or sends the goods, falls on the nose shortly afterwards, because the checks are not covered. However, this is usually only noticed too late (see above).

So always remember: a check is only valued once you have successfully cashed it. Therefore, do not transfer money to anyone in return or send goods before your bank has checked the cover.

Cashing checks is easy but expensive

Even nowadays, cashing checks at German banks is not too complicated. Unless there is a mistake in the creation of the check or on your part when filling out a possible document for submission, the check cashing is usually done within a short time. In the case of direct banks, a letter is also required, which sometimes extends the term by one to two days. The problem with checks, however, is that you often have to pay fees for cashing them. At branch banks this is the rule even for domestic checks, at direct banks domestic checks can usually be redeemed free of charge. The situation is different with international checks. Even the banks with the lowest fees charge at least 10 euros per check.

Image sources:

Check and calculator: Mark Rasmussen | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Listings: Bezahlen.de
Vacation planning: Flydragonfly | Dreamstime.com
Advice: press.hypovereinsbank.de
Complete shock: ID 57713702 © Andrey Popov | Dreamstime
DKB logo: DKB
Transfer: Deutsche Bundesbank