Why won't Walmart cash my check

How can a foreigner cash an American check in the United States?

I faced a similar situation earlier this year. I am an EU citizen and live in the UK. I had to cash a USD check issued by a US financial institution that has no retail branches.

TL; DR : Cashing such a check in person in the USA is extremely trivial. I ended up depositing the check into my USD account in the UK at a substantial cost (~ 10% of the check value).

Because of the relatively high fees associated with cashing a foreign check, I wanted to avoid cashing the check at a non-US institution. At the same time, opening an account in the US is tedious and, in my case, not really worth the hassle / cost. Since I travel to the US on a regular basis, I did some research and found that my best chance is financial service counters in convenience stores / supermarkets.

Here is the list of institutions I have visited in the US. Everyone refused to cash my check.

  • Walmart: I tried two branches.

    • The first one had no problem with my EU passport but asked me to enter my SSN. I didn't have any and I admitted that. At that point, they refused to cash the check for me. This was closest to the most successful attempt , since I could just have entered a falsely generated SSN number and the redemption would have been successful according to the Internet.
    • The second person double-checked their ID verification guidelines and found that outside of the US passports without (visa / residency, don't remember exactly) can't be used to verify their identity, so they refused to cash my check. I had several other forms of identification (UK driver's license, national identity card, multiple bank cards) but none of them were adequate proof of identity.
  • A local store that another customer recommended after witnessing my second visit to Walmart and saying they would take the check. I don't remember the name. They refused to cash the check because I was not a resident of the United States.

  • Local 7/11: Rejected as a non-US resident.

At that point, I gave up the cash-in-the-US plan and deposited the check into my HSBC currency account in the UK. This cost a lot of money, but was procedurally trivial. If you go down this route, be sure to ask for the check to be negotiated and not collected as the fees are lower.