How Long Is a Personal Check Good For? [Stale Checks 101]

In this article, we’re exploring β€œHow long is a personal check good for?”

This article is part of our free series on sending money, including the ultimate guide to bank checks, which you can access here.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. How Long Is a Personal Check Good For
  2. How to Deposit Personal Checks Into Bank Accounts
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?

How Long Is a Personal Check Good For?

How long a personal check is good for will depend on bank policies and banking regulations. However, in most instances, there is no check expiration. So, check validity will remain as long as a bank is willing to accept the check as valid and it doesn’t bounce.

That said, most banks do have a period of check validity, which they consider to be six months. After six months, check cashing and depositing is unlikely at most banks.

So, if you have a check that is older than six months, you may want to consider requesting a new check from the issuer. In fact, this is good practice anyway since as the account holder, they may be surprised when you attempt to cash a check that is so old.

How to Deposit Personal Checks Into Bank Accounts?

To deposit personal checks into bank accounts you can choose from a number of options, including depositing in person, at an ATM, by mail, through mobile application, and more. Here is a closer look at all of the options available to you when depositing personal checks.

Ways to Deposit a Check

  • In person at a branch of your bank
  • Through your banks mobile application
  • At a branded bank ATM
  • By mail to your bank
  • Through a third-party mobile application

If you are not depositing in person, you may need to endorse the back of the check with the account number, your signature, and the words β€œfor deposit only”.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people looking into this topic. If you have further questions you would like to ask our team, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Do Personal Checks Expire?

No, personal checks do not expire. However, they do become stale dated after six months of being issued in most jurisdictions. While stale dated does not immediately result in a check being void, most banks and financial institutions will choose not to cash or deposit checks after this point.

Can I Deposit a 2 Year Old Check?

No, in most cases you cannot deposit a two year-old check. In fact, most banks will typically refuse to cash a check that is older than six months old. So the likelihood that a bank or financial institution would ever consider cashing a two year old check is extremely low, perhaps impossible. Instead, you should contact the issuing party and ask that they issue a new check as a replacement.

What Happens If a Check Is Never Cashed?

If a check is never cashed, it becomes stale dated after six months. At this time, most banks will consider the check to be void. However, certain banks may still be willing to cash or deposit a check if it is within a reasonable time from the point that it was issued. However, checks older than six months are usually considered to be void by banks.

What Happens If You Deposit an Old Check?

What happens if you deposit an old check ultimately depends on how old the check is. If the check is older than six months, it is considered stale dated. At that time, the bank may choose not to honor the check, in this case it would be returned and the balance unpaid. However, if the check is deposited before this time, there should be no problem cashing or depositing the check into your account.

How Long Before a Personal Check Is Stale Dated?

A personal check is usually considered to be stale dated after six months. Past this period, banks can decide whether or not to cash or deposit the check. That said, banks do automatically impose an expiration date on checks, so it may still be possible to cash or deposit the check past this point.

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