What would happen if I deposited foreign currency into my bank's ATM?

Or, why is it so ferschlugging hard to exchange foreign currency in this country?

Over a year ago we went to Mexico. I came back with 70 pesos in paper currency, and I’ve been carrying it ever since. Granted, it’s a negligible sum, but why shouldn’t I be able to exchange it for dollars if I want?

I work next door to LAX. So one day I stopped off there, and walked into the international terminal thinking I could exchange it there. Wrong. All the foreign exchange counters are beyond the checkpoints, and you have to be a ticketed passenger to reach them.

Another day, I was in downtown L.A. I went into the downtown main branch of my bank. They didn’t do foreign exchange, but told me they did at the Biltmore Hotel.

I walked into the Biltmore. No, they wouldn’t exchange my 70 pesos either. If I’d been a guest, they’d have been happy to oblige, but as someone walking in off the street, I was unworthy.

I imagine the value of this currency is about $6.50 now. So what would happen if I go to the ATM and deposit it, and enter the deposit amount as $6.50? Would the bank accept it?

Interesting questioon.
Let us know, OK?

I think it is most likely that your bank will treat it the same way they would if you tried to deposit it at the counter; i.e. refusal - they might charge you for wasting their time (actually charge you for writing you a letter saying “Please come and collect your foreign currency and don’t waste our time”)

You must have weird banks in California. I can deposit foreign notes the same way I deposit greenbacks. Just give it to cashier, and the money is immediately in my account. That’s the way a Texan does it, anyhoo.

There are Thomas Cook outlets in most of the big malls in San Diego that will exchange currency for you. They must be in LA also.

Worse, they might feel obligated to accept the pesos from the ATM - and then charge you a $10 conversion fee.

Tapioca Dextrin, I’d like to bank at your bank. I have never in my life come across one that did not charge for converting foreign currency.

I came back from Japan once with some yen (about $50 worth). My bank wouldn’t take it. I walked up the street to the “East-West Bank” which advertises its extensive networking with Asian banks. It wouldn’t take it.

I walked further up the street and the Bank of America took it off my hands and even waived the service charge.

I was pretty surpised too. Plus, the rate was 1 euro = $1.08, which is the regular market rate.

:confused: but :cool:

I once traded some Deutschmarks at my local bank (whom I’m no longer at). They did it for me, and free of charge (well, I’m sure I didn’t get the published rate, but there was no specific fee).

Mine doesn’t either… although I will admit I only do CDN-US.

Once took me two hours to get my bank in the US to write a check in CDN $. The US is completely isolated from the real world. Just about everywhere else foreign currency is commonplace.

Right now I have 8 different currencies and they are all exchangeable within a 10 minute walk.

I use Bank of America, for what it’s worth.

Earlier this summer, I had about $60 Australian I wanted to exchange. The bank said they don’t do direct currency exchange, but gave me a special ATM envelope to use, called another branch of the bank to find the exchange rate (seemed to be what it should have been, and there was no specific fee). On the ATM envelope I wrote what I was depositing (AUS $60) and the US equivalent. I then went outside to the ATM, and went through normal deposit procedures for the US amount.

Not sure if they’d do this for non-BofA customers, but it can’t hurt to try. Another idea is to call up a local travel supply store and ask where you can exchange currency in town.