Accepting International Payments Just Got Harder..

I deposited a Money Order from Japan today, and was met with quite a suprise. My Bank (National City Bank, Ohio) slapped a 45 day hold on the funds! Their reason, simply, it is an international Money Order/Check, and their Fraud Department decided to implement this new rule about 1 month ago (without alerting any of the banks customers), to protect their assets, because they have recently experienced a tremendous amount of fake/phony Mony Orders and Checks from international sources. This new rule (Federal Regulation "RegCC" applied to the extreme) applies to ANY non-USA source of funds (that means Canada too). Check with your bank before accepting a Non-USA Money Order, that's all I have to say. One last thing, look into "HyperWallet" for USA-Canada/Canada-USA shipping ( )

In this day of wire transfers, I don't see why *any* significant hold is necessary. Perhaps we have a banker who can explain.
Man, that sucks!
Think I will stay with wire transfer... Thanks for the heads-up.
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Elizabeth is right -- except:

Be careful about undisclosed transfer charges from intervening banks in this, or the other country, that the transfer must pass through before getting to your bank.

Each one can be $20 or more, so notify your buyer ahead of time.
Folks in the USA are becoming increasingly paranoid and it manifests itself in simple things like bank transfers.

As a bank lawyer for a Fraud Department, I can assure you that your bank's position is both reasonable and necessary and in line with many other banks. I know it is an inconvenience for you but, unfortunately, along with the incredible convenience the Internet has provided has come a huge amount of fraud and the wonderful world of "Nigerian" type scams that a surprising number of people fall prey to. These type scams are largely dependent on the victim thinking that whats looks to be a valid cashier's check, Official Check, or Postal Money Order is geunine when, in fact, they are not.

Even in non-counterfeit situations (e.g., NSF checks or "account closed" check fraud), when checks or instruments are drawn on foreign banks, all of the rules and protections afforded both customers and banks by Reg CC and the Expedited Funds Availability Act or no longer applicable for the most part. Foreign check clearing is a very risky proposition for the bank and the customer since the foreign bank may return items for up to a year while a domestic bank is subject to much stricter time limitations.

As such, even after that 45 day hold expires, that check may come back to haunt you and be returned against your account. I feel bad for many bank customers who do not understand the difference between "available funds" and "good funds." For example, with US drawn checks, Reg CC and the Expedited Funds Availability Act require that a bank make funds "available" to you in accordance with a strict prescribed time schedule (unless an exception applies). One example is a check drawn on a local bank and deposited in a different local. In this case the bank MUST make the funds available in two banking days unless a Reg CC exception applies. BUT, making them "available" does not mean the funds have cleared and are "good funds" or that the check can't be returned. This check may still be returned after the funds were made available (assuming compliance with the return provisions of Reg CC).

So, many people think because the funds are "available" the check is not subject to being returned and they are shocked if and when it happens.

Thus, a word to the wise, be careful who you deal with and how quickly you spend the funds from a check you receive unless you know the person who gave it to you for it may come back after you have spent the $$$$. Again, even after the 45 day hold, that foreign check may come back 11 months later and the bank will ofset that loss or sue you for the balance they cannot get from your account.

Long, I know, but I hope this helps.
Than maybe the 3% Paypal charge is not so bad after all if you get your funds right away.
This is nothing new! A few years ago, my bank told me that a bank check from the UK would take a minimum of 30 days to clear. And since we have the best Congress that money can buy [or rent for a few years!] the banking regulation that went into effect this year is even more onerous. The customer no longer gets "the float" on interstate checks. When you write a check, the funds are withdrawn within 24 hours from your account, even though the check might not clear for over a week, when the funds are finally credited to the payee's account. The banking industry now makes additional BILLIONS annually on this new checking procedure, since they now get the interest on "the float".

Once again, the consumer takes it up a lower body orifice!
Fmpnd...Thanks for the lecture! But why can't the bank verify that the check is valid by some sort of electronic means? When I travel on Southwest Airlines I have in my pocket a paper printout of my E-Ticket, but the agent never really looks at it. All the information is in the computer. All I need is personal identification.
I recently received a Western Union payment for amplifiers sold to a guy in Beijing. No problem. I show up at the grocery store, which does WU, they hand me cash.
Fmpnd, great advice! Hope all is well with you! I strongly recommend wire transfers, having been through this with large overseas sales. A $25 or so fee should be expected if you are the recipient.
Hello from Australia...
I have done many a deal by now with fellow Audiogon members and only use Wire Transfer with for large sums...NO cost or delay involved on your end...takes usually about 3 to 5 days... I would not accept Bank Cheques or Money Order on any of my sales ,only Wire Transfer which means all funds are cleared !!! Paypal for smaller transfers !!! Thanks Helmut ....
What's great is dealing with tiny local banks in the USA who can't even find Canada on a map. Trying to deal with Oade Brothers I understood what people are up against in the USA.
Eldartford, a bank's Fraud Department CAN verify immediately for one of their own checks/money orders whether a check is counterfeit (if the customer requests it). As far as a US Postal money order or another bank's cashier's checks/money orders are concerned, some Fraud Departments will assist the customer in verifying this via the telephone (again, if the customer requests it).

This doesn't apply with respect to forged personal checks as that has to come from the account holder giving notice of same to the bank.

Hey Brian, how goes it? I need to call you!!!
Banks probably could do a lot of things people mention to be able to immediately cash the few international money orders they get. However the high cost to do so would mean they'll charge you a very large fee to cash it immediately. Would you pay for that service?

Many banks waive a lot of their fees if you have enough on deposit. I get free bank money orders and cashiers checks among other things. Comes in handy trading gear. I only have to keep $5k on deposit for a lot of free stuff like that. There are also ways at that bank to get most of those fees waived for only $1K.
I cannot understand why ppl still insist on using checks / MO in int deals - wire transfers are so much safer/faster.

Here is an interesting article about Western Union's attempts to comply better with international fraud laws.

The article implys that if the transfer is not between friends or family, WU may start getting stickier about their processes. As they say, their core focus is not business transactions.
Your response and expertise is greatly appreciated. I just received an International Postal Money Order(s) from Japan and I am not certain these are real. Your explanation has helped me decide to return these and look for a better option (wire transfer)?
I'd rather loose the sale, than to loose the $ and the items I am selling.
Many thanks!