So about that check… Way back on 21 March I talked about how the US Government stimulus payment was already causing me anxiety. I had concerns about whether we’d be able to access those funds. We did finally get ours in the mail, and it turns out the nightmare I imagined wasn’t the half of it.
I already talked about how no in Finland, or most of Europe, uses paper checks any more. Everyone has a bank account, because they’re treated more like public utilities than commodities and you don’t need a perfect credit score to get one. Employers all do direct deposit. Everyone pays their bills online, because internet access, again, is affordable and everyone make enough money to own some sort of device that can access the web.
Where I was dead wrong was in thinking it would just take forever and a day for our bank to clear the check and deposit it into our account.
Our bank doesn’t take checks. They suggested we try the currency exchange, which is where foreigners trade their money from home for Euros. Nope. They don’t take checks. We were directed to Western Union but no, they don’t take checks. The PayPal app allows you to snap a picture of a check and deposit it into your account but oh, wait, that only works in the United States, because the rest of the world doesn’t use paper checks. There is one bank that will take a check if you have an account, but tl;dr even if we decided to go to the trouble of opening an account just to cash a check they wouldn’t give one to us anyway because we’re self-employed foreigners.
So I have this check, issued by the United States Treasury, with Donald J. Trump’s signature on it, and it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. That sums up so many things for me.
The check is good for a year, and we’re not in desperate need of the funds. I feel incredibly blessed that I can just file it away and not worry about it, until some solution presents itself. Worst-case scenario, our residence doesn’t get renewed, we get chucked back to Trumpland, and we use it to open a new bank account in the US. All things considered, I’d rather it sit in the file and remain uncashed forever.