Giving a cheque wider currency

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The Independent Online
ANYONE with an ordinary chequebook can write cheques in a foreign currency simply by crossing out the pound sign and replacing it with the appropriate symbol.

This trick was discovered by a customer at the Nationwide Building Society who needed to pay a cheque in French and Belgian francs. As the building society does not issue Eurocheques he decided to make one for himself. The cheque was eventually cleared, albeit at some expense.

A Nationwide spokesman was surprised by this piece of customer ingenuity but confirmed that it was possible to write personal cheques in another currency using this method.

But it is not possible to do so with cheques that require a guarantee card, where the pound sign is permanently stamped.

Charges may be quite substantial and the bank or building society has no real way of telling the consumer how much the transaction will cost. This is because all domestic institutions can do is pass on the charges from abroad.

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