Working with consumers and businesses to ensure a fair marketplace for all Manitobans.

Money matters
Government cheque cashing costs

Are you paying too much to cash your government cheque?

Charging more than $3, plus two per cent of a cheque's face value, to cash a cheque, is illegal in Manitoba

Whether it's a tax refund cheque, income assistance, old age security or a child tax benefit, most of us will receive government cheques at various times in our lives, and of course, we need to cash them. There are a lot of places that will cash a government cheque, including banks, credit unions, payday lenders and pawnbrokers. Though some financial institutions will cash government cheques for free, they are allowed to charge a fee for cashing a government cheque.

Money Matters | Government Cheque Cashing Costs - Consumer Protection Office

To protect consumers, the Manitoba government has set limits on the amount that can be charged for cashing a government cheque. That fee is $3, plus two per cent of the face value of the cheque. As an example, on a $500 cheque, the maximum that can be charged is $3, plus two percent of $500, which equals $10, for a total of $13.

Government cheques include those issued by:

  • Government of Canada (ex: employment insurance, income tax refunds)
  • Province of Manitoba (ex: income assistance)
  • Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation
  • Manitoba Housing Authority
  • Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation
  • The Workers Compensation Board

Please note that, under Canadian law, you have the right to cash a Government of Canada cheque for free, including at any bank, even if you are not a customer. Acceptable identification is required.

If you've been charged more than the maximum fee allowed, contact the Consumer Protection Office. Businesses that overcharge will be required to refund the overcharged fee, and the business may incur a substantial penalty, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

For more information or if you have questions you can visit the Manitoba Consumer Protection Office website at manitoba.ca/cca/cpo or see the contact us page for additional contact information.