Deposit or cash a It is right to check (and polite) as soon as you can. This is because a check without a check can create uncertainty or worry for the one you are giving. Depositing or cashing it tells that the person has received you check – and money.
Regardless of your best intentions, you may have a check that you forgot or went wrong about and then found out months later. Can you still deposit or cash it?
Most old checks are not valid forever. Whether you can deposit or cash it depends on the kind of check and, in some cases, the state in which you live.
Here’s a look at the guidelines for different types of old checks.
A personal check is usually good for at least six months. After that, you still cannot deposit or cash it.
The six-month time limit comes from the Uniform Commercial Code, a set of standardized laws that states can adopt. It is the idea that state laws should be made uniform, but not all states have adopted the entire UCC in the same way. This creates some variability in the rules.
The UCC states that after six months, banks are not required to accept personal checks. This is usually what the bank has to decide, says Marianne Martini Nolte, CEO of Imagine Financial Services, a San Diego financial planning firm.
“If you fill out a check you forget to deposit, check the check issue date to determine if it can still be valid,” Nolan says.
If your own bank does not issue a check, the bank that issued it may be more willing than your own bank to deposit or cash you.
Deposit or cash rules Cashier’s check There is a difference from bank to bank without the guidance of UCC. Some banks print deadlines on their cashier’s checks, says Nat Nyari, president of San Diego-based financial planning firm Modern Money Management.
“The financial institution may expire in X days,” Nieri says. “Try to be careful with that (date), but you can always contact the institution and see what they say.”
The old cashier’s checks may eventually be turned over to the state government as unclaimed property. Rules and time-limits vary by state. Many states have an online portal where you can search for unclaimed property, such as an old cashier’s check, that is legally yours.
Treasury checks can be deposited or cashed for up to one year after the date on the check.
If you have an old treasury check, “it’s not a use-or-lose-it situation,” Neeri says. “You can always request a new one.”
Like cashier’s checks, certified checks usually do not expire, but may be subject to state unclaimed property laws.
State or local government check
The rules for state and local government checks depend on where the check was issued. If you find this type of old check, contact the agency that issued it. If it’s not good, ask for a new one.
Travelers’ checks are valid as long as the bank issued to them still exists. If you find some old traveler’s checks, you can usually cash them or use them wherever you shop at home on the road.
Professional checks are generally subject to the same UCC rules as personal checks.
Some businesses print “zero after zero days” on their checks to encourage quick deposits. If the bank will not allow you to deposit a business check or give cash, the business may refuse to issue a replacement.
What happens if you wait a long time to deposit a check?
If you do not deposit the check immediately, you may not receive the funds, even if your bank agrees to accept the check.
This is because the account on which the check was drawn has closed or there is not enough money to return the check. In both those cases, the check will be returned to your bank, which may charge you Refunded check fee.
In case of insufficient funds, the person writing the check may also be charged a bank fee.
You can deposit a check right away
If you cannot reach your bank’s physical location, you can usually deposit a check via mail or ATM. Most banks also have a mobile application Wherever you can submit. All you have to do is download the app, sign in to it, set up your deposit and take pictures at the front and back of your check. Be sure to support the back before taking photos.
Given the risks of waiting, it is best to try to deposit a check or cash it as soon as you receive it.