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Friday, 11 September 2015

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The other problem that you'll run into is with foreign currency transactions at some banks which, if the amount is small enough might end up costing you money. I had a deal once like this where the individual payments were small enough that they actually cost me money to receive them.

Solution: have them send quarterly or yearly payments and then make the drive to a place that will cash them.

Forget checks. Just have them wire the money to your account. Give them a routing number and your account number. Did a book shoot for a Japanese publishing firm last year at this time.... this process worked perfectly.

Not sure if this applies to your situation but I believe Paypal will handle the conversions.

First Internet Bank says it accepts foreign checks. Other internet-based banks might as well.

I've had money successfully wired directly into my bank account from Mexico and Japan among other countries. Your bank will give you the numbers needed, the most important being the ABA number. In my experience, it's secure.

Mike,

Obviously you've checked your local banks to no avail. However BofA, Wells Fargo, Citicorp all offer "global check clearing services" (For example here is the telephone number for a foreign exchange specialist at Wells Fargo: 1-877-201-9639). Some banks have a system where the business (i.e. TOP) scans the paper check and then deposits it electronically (and remotely). Once the check clear the originating bank funds are deposited into your account. Have you tried googling "global check clearing service"?

regards.
Michael

Foreign cheques for small amounts are useless - the banks will charge you more to cash them in than the nominal. There are other ways of sending money: paypal, Western Union money transfer, banknotes, or in the worst case you can resort to what used to be the paypal of the 19th century: post stamps.

Use a national, online bank, put its app on your phone, use the app and the phone's camera to deposit the checks. Make sure it is a bank that is happy to take foreign money, and does not overcharge you for exchanging it. Do a web search for best online banks. I think that Capital One and Ally get high ratings.

Use Paypal?

I mail them to the bank, and get a card to liberate them. (Or make transfers by snailmail letter or online.)

Encourage them to use transferwise? This service should enable almost anyone with a bank account to send you small amounts of money in EUR/GBP, and you will receive USD. They only charge 0.5% fee, so it might even be the cheapest option.

American Express?

Have them send the drafts etc. to someone you trust in Canada. They can accept them and then send the funds to you. The banking system in the US is a joke when it comes to international banking.

Can it be sent through Paypal? The charges are minor, if any. It just takes three days to move the money from Paypal into your bank account.

I am sure you asked but it's worth asking again - can't they just accumulate a few moths than wire in US$?

Paypal?

Travel to those countries. Sorry that's not the answer you were looking for. But maybe some of your friends do.

I can't say that I have tried this myself - yet, but it seems they deal exactly with this issue. https://transferwise.com/

If he can send you bank drafts, his bank can send you wire transfers instead. All he has to do is go to his bank and set you up as the recipient. Then his bank can transfer funds directly into your account electronically. If he can't/won't do that, I wouldn't do business with him.

Open an account with a bank that will accept such checks (if there is one). And then simply make electronic deposits using your iPhone. Interesting question, though - can I walk into my local Wells Fargo and deposit a check drawn on a British or European bank? Never tried.

Is there a bank anywhere in the U.S. that will let you make deposits by mail for such items? I suspect there is, and a bit of Google + phone calling might be all it takes.

Develop a good working relationship with the nearest branch of the bank you currently use and send them a packet of cheques to bank on your behalf every couple of weeks.
This takes trust but if the bank is the institution that is holding your mortgage the trust is mutual.
Living in remote north Queensland I have had to employ this method over the years.

It's 2015... There is alway another way. If they have a checking account then they can have a paypal account.

You could set up an account with a larger institution further away that is able to accept such checks and that provides a check deposit app for your iPhone. You can then use the app to scan the checks and home, which will automatically transfer them to your remote bank account.

This is why PayPal exists.
Also try transferwise.

My experience is that outside of the US, paper checks have a hefty charge to deposit. But inside the US, wire transfers cost $40 or so. Maybe try Hawala

What do you do if you're going to regularly receive bank drafts (checks/cheques) for small amounts of money in foreign currencies (pounds and euros), and the sender can't send the money any other way, but no bank anywhere remotely near you can accept such checks for deposit?

Not a finance expert but being a Brit in the US** I know that banker's drafts are different from cheques on a foreign drawn bank?

A banker's draft guarantees the money because it goes to the bank from your account when the bankers draft is drawn into the banks account. The issuing bank guarantees to pay it (because they already have the funds. A banker's draft can't bounce due to insufficient funds.

In security terms the trust is moved from the (untrusted) payee to a (trusted) bank who issues the draft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banker%27s_draft

Are you using the right language at your banks? I would have though any "normal" (i.e. big) bank (Chase, Wells Fargo, US Bank, etc) would have no problem accepting a bankers draft in US dollars.

Why not go for bank account to bank account direct transfer? Any bank around the world (outside North Korea, Russia, Sudan and Iran) should be able to arrange that.

** Last time I renewed a passport (and my wife applied for Irish Citizenship) the payment needed to be made with a banker's draft. Perhaps they accept Paypal now.

Hmmm, Paypal that would be a solution! If you trust each other then a gift transfer would avoid charges too.

Set up an account with a bank in NUUU YAWK CITY, one that lets you deposit by taking a picture of the check/draft and deposit electronically. Maybe, just spitballing.

There is a "Prince M'gumbo" in Uganda who can help you with that.

Seriously Mike, I have done it in the other direction with Barclays and Citibank, but I guess you may want to "clear" the cheques quickly?
In that case it needs to be a bank that will let you scan (photograph) checks for paying in to your account.

1. Frame
2. Hang
3. Enjoy

Perhaps someone else will have a more monetarily enjoyable solution. \;~)>

Mike, aren't there some possible security issues with accepting bank checks for payment?

This sentence is worrisome (from link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banker's_draft )

"However, it is impossible to predict when the cheque will be deposited after it is drawn. Because the funds represented by a cheque are not transferred until the cheque is deposited and cleared, it is possible the drawer's account may not have sufficient funds to honour the cheque when the transfer finally occurs. This dishonoured or 'bounced' cheque is now worthless and the payee receives no money, which is why cheques are less secure than cash."

I'm hoping you have other options, like PayPal being one of the best.

It's been 20+ years since my wife worked in banking (trust department/wealth management) and about the same time since I was a partner in a video production company (that sold mail-order). But some things never change.

You can't run a business using your personal bank account (or Credit Union). You can't run a business without a CPA who works with real business (not doctors, writers, etc).

New York is home to many large international banks. You may be in the middle of nowhere, but you are an hours drive (+/-) of some good size towns.

Checks are not cleared the old fashioned way any more—it's all done by computers/internet these days. I pay my rent using my checking account ID#. The check clears on-line in about 30 seconds. There is No Reason that a check drawn on a British or German bank can't be cashed about as fast (minuets, not weeks).

Google should get you started in a short time. Search for Business Banking and International Banking.

BTW a good CPA will make you money—get one! BTW2 If you had a good CPA you wouldn't have had to ask this question ;-)

use paypal

Um, you move again to a big city.

Your Empire is growing ;-) You just need to have a bank account in EU, and deposit them there.
AND put it in a savings account for when you visit and hold workshops.

Can you get foreign currency accounts with some sort of lockbox facility( i.e an address will process the checks), that you can then track online?

Is this from a Nigerian prince? He's wholly unreliable.

Not an uncommon problem. Canadian banks in most large municipalities can handle Canadian, United States,
British currency and the Euro.
However in most of these cases, even
small amounts of the above and
currencies not noted have to go back to the head office of each bank. in my case Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal.
The system is set up for "common" foreign currencies.

Keep in mind too, at least in Canada, the branches of a main bank have operate on their own and have to purchase the money they will hand out to their customers, and yes, money received as deposits. That's one reasons ATM machines work so well, they are often the responsibility of a third party who does the collection of deposits and refills the cash dispensers; the head office of the bank only sees the final amounts. The branch where the ATM is located never interacts with the machine. As to foreign bits in your case, I would set up a special account
with your favourite bank at the head office. When these odd monies arrive
collect them in a pouch and deliver them once a month to your branch who shall then either summarize the transaction there or forward the pouch directly to head office who will then do the paperwork.
Keep in mind too most foreign currencies not on the normal list as above usually garner at least a 15 percent service charge to do the paperwork. If the currency is really odd the service charge could be as high as 25 or 35 percent based on the value and difficulty of the currency.

Banks are in the business to "make" money even if their actual business is handling same. So don't expect a small regional bank to want your business, they don't, as it would be a problem for them. Look to the big International banks for your monetary exchanges.
US3000.00 for those wanting cash for a quick trip over the border to say Buffalo NY.
Any more and the money has to be purchased and ordered from head office. This is why credit cards are so good. For example in Canada, VISA is owned by the five major banks;
and VISA looks after all the transactions where ever they happen, in any country as required. For example CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) was once"the" bank that handled direct payroll deposits for all the major banks,it was their specialty. That was twenty years ago, and yes there is a charge, and the originating bank pays the charge and passes it on to the employer using the direct payroll deposit system.

If you can set yourself up as a company/person that will accept credit cardds, it would make life simpler, or perhaps connect with PayPal. A different form of banking, yes, however you want to make things easy for yourself, not more difficult. Many options, some good,
some bad. Depends on what you need.

Mike, trash my first comment...

Shall send a corrected copy in a moment...


Bryce

Frame them, some are quite attractive.

Let's try this again, eh?
-------------------------------------
Not an uncommon problem. Canadian banks in most large municipalities can handle Canadian, United States, British currency and the Euro.

However in most of these cases, even small amounts of the above and
currencies not noted have to go back to the regional head office of each bank.
The system is set up for "common" foreign currencies.

Keep in mind too, at least in Canada, the branches of a main bank have to operate on their own and have to purchase the money they will hand out to their customers, and yes, money received as deposits. That's one reason ATM machines work so well, they are often the responsibility of a third party who does the collection of deposits and refills the cash dispensers; the head office of the bank only sees the final amounts. The branch where the ATM is located usually never directly interacts with the machine.

Banks are in the business to "make" money even if their actual business is handling same. So don't expect a small regional bank to want your business, they don't, as it would be a problem for them. Look to the big International banks for your monetary exchanges.

One solution: Set up a special account
with your favourite bank at their head office. When these odd monies arrive
collect them in a pouch and deliver them once a month to your branch who shall then either summarize the transaction, or forward the pouch directly to head office who will then do the paperwork.
Keep in mind too most foreign currencies not on the normal list as above usually garner at least a 15 percent service charge to do the paperwork. If the currency is really odd the service charge could be as high as 25 or 35 percent based on the value and difficulty of the currency.

When I was a full-time journalist, my payment came in the currency of the country originating either US dollars or Pound Sterling. Discovered if i set up a commercial account then, that service charge would be waived.
I had to keep a minimum in the account, about C$2500.00 at the time, however any foreign cheques or currencies received were deposited, the exchange factor applied and then
the money credited.

If you can set yourself up as a company/person that will accept credit cards, it would make life simpler, and/or perhaps connect with PayPal. A different form of banking, yes, however you want to make things easy for yourself, not more difficult.
Many options. Depends on what you require.

I bank with Wells Fargo and they accept foreign checks: https://www.wellsfargo.com/biz/international/faq#Q6

I think TD Bank offers electronic deposit for small business accounts.

I have a small pile of ? expired Amazon Germany checks waiting on the answer to this one :).

don't have an answer, but maybe a suggestion - what about those banks that offer deposits by taking a picture of the check on your phone through their app?

Absent the ability to use PayPal directly, you find an intermediary. Welcome to New York ... not the City.

Ask them to send international money orders instead? I believe most banks can do that. The ones I've sent were paid for in US funds but denominated in the currency of the country I was sending it to.

Heh Mike:

I forwarded my wife your query. She transfers money from the UK quite often. She doesn't think you should accept checks/cheques at all. Instead she suggested that you use Transferwise (transferwise.com). Transferwise gives you the mid-market rate and one upfront fee. The sender would transfer the money to a Transferwise local bank account. Transferwise then converts the amount to US dollars and deposits into your bank account. Once you are set up, the process takes 3-4 business days.

Alternatively, if you and your customer have a Paypal account you may be able to move money that way. Paypal charges a percentage plus a fixed fee which you'll have to look up on their website.

xe.com also handles transfers and they'll give you a quote online.

I assume whoever is sending money will have to mail it. And that will likely mean a visit to the post office at some point so why not have them send Postal Money Orders denominated in US dollars? I've received payments from overseas that way and have cashed them at my local post office. No problem.

You are hosed? Possibly just need to open an account with a big national bank, then use their mobile app to take photos of said checks and e-deposit them.

Beware that they may hold the money for a few thousand years if they are from foreign sources.

It depends how 'small' the amounts are. A 'small' hundred euros is very different to a small ten-thousand euros. I live in Euroland, but come from the UK, and find that getting anything transferred out of UK, from a domestic account, in to my main european bank account is difficult but going the other way is much easier.

It might be better to compare the size of your receipts with the costs of setting up accounts with a local branch of a British and a euroland bank. Here (NL), at least, a domestic account can have minimal charges and all transfers using the IBAN system are free. Doing things that way means that you can pay the 'small' amounts in to an account earning interest and then transfer them once a year, or use them for paying for services that are used to receiving 'foreign' currencies - such as airlines.

Clearly I know nothing about US banks, and they are possibly more customer-crushing than here and maybe as out-of-date in handling transactions as those in UK... Good luck!

My bank has just a few branches. To deposit cheques, I can simply post them, along with a completed deposit form. As for the overseas currencies, pick a bank that will handle the exchange.

Here in Oz, I can also open accounts in specified currencies, other than au$, which can simplify the deposit.

Some banks accept scanned checks for deposit. Look for a big bank with a clientele that travels a lot.
USAA bank, for example (though their membership is limited.)

Try setting up an account with TD. They have branches in the NE US and as a Canadian bank, they are used to dealing with foreign exchange problems.

Receiving the funds via Paypal might be the most expedient. Paypal would handle the conversion.

Patrick

I am not up-to-date with US banking now, but aren't there any online banks that could handle that at a reasonable charge? You'd still have to mail the checks in, so it's extra time and money for that plus whatever other fees they can make up for handling overseas checks.

I know that chase bank can help to deposit cheque electronically. You only need to snap a picture using their apps, but of course you need to have an account with Chase. Not sure if non USD cheques can be accepted or not.

Please check with Chase .

Paypal is really really easy for that sort of thing.

Bank of America just takes a 2 or 3 percent cut of the total hidden in the exchange rate rather than a 40 to 75 dollar fee like many other banks.

HSBC seems to be really good for that, I think the magic phrase is "Single Euro Payments Area" aka "SEPA" Doesn't HSBC have branches all over the place near you?

Oh and an Anti-Recommendation for citibank

You can take pictures of the check and have Paypal credit them to your account. Solve your problem with photography!

https://cms.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=marketing_us/mobile_check_capture

Bank near you in rural NY may not be the issue. When I have to deposit a check in my US account, I send it by mail to Chase BankByMail in Lousville KY. So the question becomes what exchange rate they will offer or fee they will charge. I haven't been inside a bank branch for many years.

scott

Check out transferwise

I'm scratching my head why the sender can't use any other way to send money from Europe. In Europe it's the cheques and money orders that are hard to get, no the electronic means of transfers. Almost everything is done using direct transfers, and cheques are a thing of the past in many countries. People pay for goods with direct bank transfers, they often don't even use credit cards. It's increasingly hard to obtain cheques or money orders outside the US. Here in Singapore I just paid US$ 30 for a US$ 1 money order that a U.S. administration insisted I had to send them by mail as only mode of payment. (no, not a typo. I had to buy 3 of those for a total of US$ 90 fees for a total US$ 15 in payments).

What I mean to say is: If the sender is in Europe, why not use direct transfers? Why not Paypal?

Been there. It really boils down to your tolerance for a third party "rake" in the form of service charges. PayPal works for some people. You might also open an account at another bank(or a larger branch of your current bank?)and simply transfer deposits to your local account.

What I would do here (in Germany) is to get an account with a bank that accepts such checks -- and that allows me to do business by internet banking. Then would send the checks in by mail.
But I am not sure if that would work in the US-
Best wishes
Fritz

No Paypal? I can't imagine Paypal not being available essentially anywhere... And I can, on the contrary, imagine, that the cost of cashing in a small-amount foreign check exceeds the value of the check, if you can do it at all. Might as well receive banknotes to keep for your next trip to wherever they come from... But Mike, you pick my curiosity to inquire into the world of innovative retail financial products, the world is changing fast...

As a Canadian Using a Canadian bank I can take a photo of a cheque with my smartphone and the bank app makes the deposit. You need to check your local banks for that service.

It sounds odd that your local banks claim not to accept drafts. But, have you considered opening an account (online) with a large, name-brand bank and depositing by mail? Some also have phone apps now that will let you deposit by snapping a pic of a check. That might apply to drafts, too.

Your definition of "bank draft" may differ from mine. Check appropriate sites for a definition that suites your interpretation and then we may be able to offer some advice.

Also, euro " bank drafts (checks/cheques) " can be drawn on greek and german banks, and a few more. Each to be handled separately by your bank, no matter how close or remote.

Ask yourself if is worth the trouble if your partner cannot pay by Paypal or Visa. For Visa you may need to register as a seller.

Can they find someone near them they trust who has paypal or the ability to do international transfers?

Get an account with an online bank. You can google online bank for reviews, and I am sure someone on the list knows something about them. But you deposit checks with them by taking a picture of the check with your phone through their app. Some of them have to take foreign currencies.

If possible, Mike, the sender can pay you by Western Union. You receive an email from sender with a cnfirmation number that you take to a local Western Union location and receive payment in U.S. currency. My travel agency received commission payments from an overseas tour operator that way until they decided to pay through direct deposit to our bank account, like many of our travel suppliers do. Hope this is a solution for you.

Have you looked at Internet only banks located within the USA? You don't want to get into the mess of a foreign bank because of tax laws. But some of the larger, online only institutions might help with foreign checks. Using a smartphone you take a photo of the front and back and deposit it via the phone.

In the SF convention world, that's a widely researched problem, and one with no good solution so far. If you can find a bank to handle them, they usually end up charging fees high enough to make it hardly worthwhile.

One solution conventions have used for a few countries they have a lot of members from is "agents" -- somebody in that country to collect the payments and combine them and transfer them by some other method. That's not a general solution and doesn't really sound like one for you, but it's the only one I know of.

The actual solution, of course, is more and more people paying electronically through credit cards or paypal. Those who don't use those technologies are a smaller and smaller market segment.

Mike,
Not that I'm especially financially literate, but I haven't deposited a check in person at a bank for a long time. My bank (USAA) has a deposit-at-home feature where I scan my check while logged in to their website and it is immediately credited to my account. I believe most of the major banks offer this feature, and it can also be done via smartphone.
Dick

An online bank with photo or mail deposit? Or the same with a cash account at a brokerage?

On a second thought - should this be something long-term, you could "nominate" your representatives in the UK and Euroland, and have them collect the cheques and cash them in. Once every now and then, they would send you the money via Paypal or wire. This would avoid the cross border cheque cashing, which is notoriously a PITA. You would have to consider the tax aspect of this, just to be on the safe side.
Ciao

Well, to start, you stipulate that…

"We do not accept any charge cards and we do not accept electronic funds transfers. Remit by personal or company check, or by bank money order, or by a U.S. (not foreign) postal money order."

And that...

"We accept only U.S. dollars. Payment can be issued by any bank, but it MUST BE COLLECTIBLE AT A U.S. BANK."

And this works just fine. What it means is that the sender goes to the bank of his/her choice and requests that bank to issue payment (in USD), and stipulate that it must be COLLECTIBLE at their U.S. branch OR AT THEIR U.S. CORRESPONDENT BANK.

Explanation: All foreign banks that do NOT have a U.S. branch DO have an official contractual agreement with some U.S. bank in order to mutually facilitate foreign exchange transactions. Such bank is commonly referred to as a "correspondent" bank.

On receipt, you deposit such check at your local banking institution and they route it directly to the designated U.S. "correspondent" bank, who pays it normally, without foreign routing before payment. It's works just like any other domestic check.

It's YOUR responsibility to make certain that the foreign checks that you receive clearly indicate that payment is collectable at some designated U.S. bank.

From 1990 through 2002, this is the way Really Right Stuff served ALL foreign customers. And we always shipped on receipt of payment (next business day), without awaiting check clearing. At the end of this 12 year period we had shipped to customers in some 54 separate foreign countries, and losses due to uncollected foreign checks totaled something like $400. (That was due to one order from an embezzling employee at a Dutch company that had also stolen a company check and used it to buy RRS parts.)
Bryan Geyer, San Luis Obispo, CA

This is why PayPal exists.

There is nothing more tedious and annoying than watching those banks which can be bothered by dealing with this eat up whatever you take in with fees.

The reason? Without large volume of transactions, the checks have to be collected, sent to the originating country and bank, where the issuing bank then checks account balances, reconciles these, then converts locally to USD and then transfers that to your bank. If there were large volumes, it would be part and parcel of the normal business and would appear in due time, but without that you're going to have to pay to access your money. I know. Outrageous.

Like I said, this is why PayPal exists.

You can circumvent this by requiring a Bank Draft (where the other party basically buys a service of their local bank to withdraw funds immediately and send you a piece of paper that your bank can then immediately credit to your account (since the process is initiated by the bank, rather than by a private person). Alternatively, the other party needs to not send you a check, but use a SWIFT transfer to get the money to you (basically the same as wiring you the money). This means, however, exposing your account information (Bank codes and account codes).

The sender can send the money in other ways: most countries use direct transfers rather than checking, which is increasingly a US-only thing. I haven't written a check in here Germany since around 1993 or so...

frame them, hang them on the wall. lots of restaurants have dollar bills displayed the same way. (oh, i suppose, this is where Paypal shines!)

Another idea, it's a excuse for a roadtrip to Toronto.

Paypal, or get them to put the cash in an ordinary brown envelope and post it.

Bank charges make anything else uneconomic.

Find a bank that allows you to take a picture of the document and then uses that image for a deposit to your account. I haven't done that myself, but those who do avail of the service seem to like it very much (at least according to the tv commercials touting it).

Don't you have a big bank somewhere near - like Ithaca- Citibank or Chase?
Our organization has to collect relatively small sums from people around the world. Bank wire transfers are too expensive with fees tacked on both ends sometimes being more than half the money transferred.
An online storefront worked in many places but cost almost a grand in fees every year to operate and frustrated people in many countries.
Our best solution was to set up a PayPal account that allows users to pay with either their PayPal account or their credit card. That has been working well for two years now about anywhere on earth.
If that doesn't work for you, you can cross the border to Canada and set up a bank account - they are much more international- but it may flag the IRS on your taxes.

Hi Mike
Simple solution 1: use PayPal
Slightly less simple solution 2: find a bank which will let you open accounts in pounds and Euros, and then transfer when you have a decent amount accrued. Lloyds International does this in the UK, but I don't know of an American equivalent.

maybe you can set yourself up to accept credit cards? Then Visa or MasterCard will handle the currency exchange?

I haven't needed to do this, but it might work.

Perhaps an electronic banking account at a large bank or credit card company would accept checks in foreign currencies that you mail to them. Just be sure to determine how much they would charge you for converting foreign currency into dollars.

What's stopping the sender sending a $US cheque? That would be the normal way of doing it. Either way, the bank will gouge you and the sender will be gouged too but that is the way of small international transfers.

In the country than I now call home, a few hours north from you, one can open accounts in US dollars or Euro so one can deposit foreign money without foreign exchange costs. Is that not available in US banks?

1. Ask / demand that the senders pay through bank transfer (works really well) PayPal or credit card - easy I do it UK to France regularly
2. Maybe simpler - open an account in a bank that can handle - and post it to them
Obviously I do not know us bank transfer costs - here can be non.
Al the best

Mike, I don't know anything about bank services in America but here in the UK we do have Mobile Cheque Imaging - internet banking with cheques 'deposited' by smartphone photograph! Not all banks offer the service yet but "The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill was passed on 26 March 2015". This means that all banks will process cheques as images from October 2017. Google it and Good luck searching

Try TD Bank (Toronto Dominion) http://www.tdbank.com/tdhelps/default.aspx/do-td-banks-exchange-dollars-to-euros-and-reverse-what-fee/v/38352540/

Unfortunately, a location search indicates that TD is not in Rochester but offers many locations in the NY City area.

With that said, there may be banks in the Rochester area that would accept the deposits.

Maybe request that they use a money order in the correct currency? Usually available through their local bank or post office.

you can set up a mail deposit program with a big commercial bank. Make damn sure they give you a decent exchange rate, or the bank will take a BIG bite.
Paypal might be a better option.

Open a bank account far away if needed.
A national bank. Wells Fargo or like that.
Mail the deposits. They will clear them.
Big problem is the bank charges for clearing foreign funds. Possible $10 each check.

I would suggest you open a PayPall account, an easy and reliable method to exchange money. Expenses for money receiver are small when compared to credit cards.

I arrange to give the money to a charity.

You use Bitcoin! International money transfers are one of the best uses of Bitcoin; since national boundaries don't matter to Bitcoin, bitcoins can be bought in one country and sold in another. The total fees are tiny compared with Western Union or a bank-to-bank transfer.

There are several ways to do it. The simplest way might be for both parties to sign up with Coinbase, which is available in the U.S. and most European countries. Bitcoins can be bought, transferred to you, sold for dollars, and then deposited in your bank. The whole process might take a week--less if you sign up with a credit card in addition to your bank information. There are also other services or more hands-on processes too.

It is puzzling that so many people have suggested you open a PayPal account but I suppose that means they have never looked at the Subscribe or Donation links on your pages!
If by pounds you are referring to UK pounds, I suspect the problem is with the senders rather than you. Almost no one in UK uses cheques any more, we use various forms of electronic transfer between bank accounts.
If the amounts are small then sometimes the easiest way to send money from UK is to send cash in the currency of the destination. There is a small chance of it being stolen but that may be acceptable.

Lots of overthinking here, including by me! The people who recommended PayPal got it right.

You are not a real business. You are a virtual internet business that makes money from Amazon, whatever, commissions—and a small amount of sales. You are part of the online world. Accept PayPal only.

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