How long is a personal check good for?
Photo Credit: Bankrate

Paying for services is simple and easy when you write a check. The only downside is that you’ll need the check to get the funds. Losing it will make getting the money impossible. If you come across it later, you can still cash it as long as it isn’t over six months old. How long is a business or personal check good before it expires? What should you do when it expires? This article will provide answers to this question.

You should know additional situations involving cash withdrawals made using checks. To prevent losing that money, it is best to gather all the necessary information.

How Long Is a Personal Check Good for Before It Expires?

Personal checks are based on your personal finances, typically in a personal checking account, and are linked to your personal bank account.

Personal checks are used to cover a person’s personal or household expenses, like groceries or rent on a home. The intended issuer(s) is/are the account holder(s), who may also place a check order.

How Long a personal check is good for before it expires is a period of six months. By law, banks only have to honour checks for a period of six months from the issued date.

It is up to the bank’s discretion after that, which might include getting in touch with the account holder for permission.

They might charge the depositor a “deposit item returned” fee of up to $30 if the bank bounces the check without even contacting the depositor.

A personal check that is several months old may slip the issuer’s mind. Most people only keep enough money in their checking accounts to cover their monthly expenses because all checking accounts pay no interest.

There might not be enough money in the account to cover the forgotten check if it suddenly reappears. For this reason, it is always advisable to get in touch with the issuer before attempting to cash a voided check.

Making the call might be uncomfortable, but it’s worse than accidentally charging your grandma a hefty overdraft fee.

If the check has been sitting around for over six months, request a new one.

Can You Cash a Check at an ATM?

There are many places where you can cash a check. For instance, most grocery stores accept it. However, they must check how long the personal or business check is good for before it expires and run it through their system first, though this only requires a few minutes.

Amazingly, you can also use an ATM for this. As long as you have a bank account, you can cash a regular check at an ATM. You’ll need your debit card, a check-accepting ATM, and of course, your PIN to complete this.

Here’s how to do it:

Put your debit card in the ATM; enter your PIN; select “deposit check”; put the check in the slot, and then follow the prompts.

You’ll receive 100% of the check’s value if you use the ATM at your bank. Try to locate an ATM from your bank to avoid extra costs, since not all banks charge the same fees for depositing checks.

Can You Cash a Check Without a Bank Account?

If you received a check in your name but don’t have a bank account, you may wonder if you need to open one in order to cash it. The good news is that a bank account isn’t absolutely necessary.

You don’t need to open an account to cash a regular check, and you can do it at any bank. Before you can cash it, some banks will impose additional fees.

Additional locations where you can cash it out include Walmart, your neighbourhood grocery store, gas station, and employee.

But when will you receive the money? The quickest way to cash a check and get the money in your pocket (or account) is to visit the bank of the drawer. This is because of the bank’s immediate access to this account and the ability to get information about the check, its value, and other account information.

Before allowing you to withdraw the funds, they must confirm that the person who wrote the check has sufficient funds and get several documents and confirmations.

Another benefit of cashing the check in the drawer’s bank is that you’ll almost certainly receive the full sum. We won’t bill you for any extra costs. When cashing it at another bank, a different set of rules applies.

What you’ll need is the check bearing the drawer’s name, account information, signature, and a debit card to transfer the funds to, or you may receive them in cash, etc.

The clerk will review your documents. They will verify the validity of the drawer’s account, the amount of funds available, and other details.

What to Do if a Check Expires

Even though you should try to keep checks from expiring, there are some things to consider if they do.

#1. Watch Out for ‘Deposit Item Returned’ Fee

The bank might impose a “deposit item returned” fee if you attempt to cash expired checks that bounce. The cost varies from bank to bank.

For instance, Santander Bank charges $15 per check, compared to $12 at Wells Fargo and Bank of America. For checks from abroad, the cost could even be higher. Returned checks may be subject to a non-sufficient funds charge of up to $35.

Your best option might be to lose the check and use it as a learning experience if the stale check is for a small sum that doesn’t exceed the returned check fee and you can’t get in touch with the check writer for a new check or to confirm that his account is still active.

#2. You May Be Able to Cash Voided Checks

Your stale check writer may have written “void after 90 days” or a similar phrase on it when they gave it to you, but that doesn’t always mean your bank won’t accept it after that time.

In Aliaga Medical Center S.C. v. Harris Bank N.A., the court held that banks may recover money after the issuer requests a void period unless the issuer instructs the bank not to honour the check after that time period.

Consider the payer’s request’s justification before cashing a check after the specified window of time.

They may be on a fixed income and therefore not have the money available after the deadline. If that happens, they might assess you for a deposit item return fee.

#3. Give the Check Writer a Heads-up

A person who wrote a personal check is probably unprepared for the hit to their checking account balance if you cash it months later.

Be considerate and call or text the payer to let them know what you intend to do. Verify once more that they haven’t opened a new account or changed financial institutions.

It might be simpler to ask the payer to write a new check if the check has passed the cutoff date for your financial institution to cash checks. Requesting a current check can help you avoid paying bank fees and save time at the teller’s counter.

I’m sure that after reading the above, you’ll know what to do if you a check expires while in your possession.

How Long Is a Business Check Good for?

Businesses issue checks to suppliers, landlords, independent contractors, and utility providers. Sometimes, one or more of those checks might not be cashed for a very long time. Even though banks are not required to accept checks that are older than six months, they frequently do.

#1. Limit Noted on Check

On the face of their checks, many big businesses state how long their business check is good for. A check might have the following language on it: “Valid for 90 days from this date” or “Not valid after 180 days.” Since many businesses have rules set up on their bank accounts because of the sheer volume of items that flow through, if you deposit a check that has this notice on it, the check writer’s bank will probably refuse to process it. You are liable for any fees connected with the returned check if the bank of the account holder refuses to pay.

#2. Bank Requirements

A bank is not required to pay a check out of a customer’s account when it is over six months old based on the date written on the check, in accordance with Article 4-404 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Banks have the option to pay a check even though they are not required to. A bank must, however, honour a certified check that is presented after the six-month grace period has passed.

#3. Actions to Take

You can put a stop payment on any check older than six months in order to reconcile your bank accounts and reduce the carryover of old checks into new accounting periods. The check will be returned as unpaid by your bank. Stop payments, however, are only effective for a brief period—six months. Repeated stop payments might be worthwhile for large sums. Vendors and others who failed to cash the check within six months may write to request a replacement and provide a justification.

Listed in the following paragraphs explains how long and what you should know if a business check expires


How long is a business or personal check good before it expires? What should you do when it expires? I know you now have clear answers to these questions asked when we started.

Even though checks have a six-month validity period, it’s best to cash them as soon as possible.

If you’ve written a personal or business check that’s taking a while to clear, keep the money set aside to cover it in your bank account before it expires for at least six months, if not longer.

And while you (or your bank) have the option legally to have a stale-dated check returned and not honour the funds, doing so can be a difficult and time-consuming process.

How Long Is a Personal Check Good For FAQs

How long is a personal check good for?

Over six months after the check’s written date, banks are not required to honour it. A bank may decide to honor or reject a check if you need to cash it after that point.

How long is a business check good for?

Every company is free to choose how long the recipient has to cash the check. If the check has an expiration date, you may need to request a new one from the company if you don’t cash it on time.

What happens if a check is never cashed?

Paychecks typically lapse after six months. The bank of an employee who attempts to cash an expired paycheck has the discretion to do so or not.

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