Ever been prevented from exchanging US Dollars for Euro in the USA?

I’m wondering if ANYONE has ever been prevented from exchanging US Dollars (cash) for Euro (cash) at a bank in the USA? I have a friend who tried to exchange some Dollars for Euro at a BMO Harris Bank before going on a trip to Europe. He filled out the paperwork and gave it to the teller who entered the information into the system (name, social security number and picture i.d.). A couple minutes later the teller came back and said, “You’ve been denied. We can’t do the exchange for you.” He asked the teller what the reason was for the denial and she said, “I’m not permitted to tell you.”

Any ideas about what could be going on? Please write a comment if you have some experience of knowledge of this sort of thing. Thanks.


About Mike
A resident of the “30 square miles surrounded by reality,” I spend most of my time teaching economics and statistics to undergraduate students. I enjoy, naturally, economics and business, but also science (I was once an astronomical observatory assistant), politics, photography, food, travel and sports. Madison has grown quite a bit since 1978 when Governor Lee Dreyfus made that remark. According to Wikipedia, Madison is 67.3 square miles of land and 16 square miles of water. Visit https://thisgotmyattention.wordpress.com/about/ for one of my favorite views of the isthmus. Or, why not come visit us! http://visitmadison.com

8 Responses to Ever been prevented from exchanging US Dollars for Euro in the USA?

  1. RickD says:

    Was this a “large amount” of cash? More than a couple hundred dollars?

    • Mike says:

      This is very strange. I’ve never been asked for even i.d. when exchanging cash. … No, it wasn’t a large amount. It was more than a couple hundred but well below the amount of currency one must declare when traveling. If this is another government list with people who are approved and not approved, Americans should be darned angry!

      • RickD says:

        Certainly. I would be. Was it the bank doing this? Did he go to another bank and try there? Was there a way to exchange money elsewhere? I’d be testing that theory rather quickly and bringing it to the attention of the bank/branch manager, then the higher ups in the bank, then I’d be calling the SEC probably (I’m not sure, perhaps the Treasury?)

        I’ve never had to show ID to exchange money.

        • Mike says:

          Another friend did the exchange for him. And, there’s only one bank in town that does walk-up exchanges. And, the teller at BMO said that if he had an account they wouldn’t need to perform the check with their foreign currency vendor and they could simply sell him the Euro. It’s something very odd.

          • RickD says:

            Perhaps it was the lack of account then….

            I have had issues taking a check in to cash that I don’t have an account located at. I had someone write me a check on a bank I didn’t use. I tried to cash the check at MY bank and there was going to be a “3 day hold” or something. So I took it to the other bank and at first they refused to cash the check at all, because *I* didn’t have an account.

            I finally explained the concern I had about taking a check from someone and the bank they used refusing to cash it… and they check his account number and finally cashed the check on the spot.

            But it was a confusion on the part of the teller I think.

            I deal in CASH now, lol. If someone wants to buy something from me, they give me cash. When I buy something I give THEM cash.

            That BMO might have been attempting to dissuade the possible laundering of money, or moving of counterfeit cash too!

          • Mike says:

            They sold the Euro to the friend, who also doesn’t have a BMO account, so I think it’s something other than not having an account. Thanks for the feedback.

          • RickD says:

            Ah. Ok… this begs investigation.

  2. RickD says:

    Never heard of this before. Another thing, I’ve NEVER had to give my social to exchange money, anywhere, ever. I’ve been to 49 countries over the past 30 years and I’ve never ONCE been asked for anything other than my cash in exchange for… cash. Not in the US, and not in any foreign countries.

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