Stale-Dated Checks | Bank Checks 101

Stale-dated checks refer to checks that were issued more than six months ago. This is an important time stamp because most banks and credit unions refuse to cash checks past this time.

In this article, weโ€™re sharing whether you can cash a stale dated check and answering common questions we receive on the topic.

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. Stale Dated Checks
  2. What Happens When a Check Is Stale Dated?
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Do You Want Help Opening US Bank Accounts?

Stale Dated Checks

Stale-dated checks refer to expired checks or checks that banks and credit unions will no longer process. Stale checks are the result of the check expiry period passing, which is six months after the check issuance date.ย 

After six months, most banks and credit unions have specific check-cashing policies that refuse to process checks. If a bank refuses to process, they may say that check revalidation is required. Banking regulations for stale checks give banks the power to refuse checks, so itโ€™s entirely up to the bank.

If a bank does elect to cash or deposit a check for you, this does not mean the balance of the check will be immediately available. Each bank has its own check hold policies, check endorsement requirements, and clearance period.

With this in mind, itโ€™s best to process a check as soon as possible to avoid complications or delays with processing, which also ensures avoiding stale-dated checks.

That said, itโ€™s important to point out that stale dated checks are not the same as voided checks, which will have the word โ€œVOIDโ€ written across the face. Instead, stale-dated checks are the same as unclaimed checks and dormant checks.

What Happens When a Check Is Stale Dated?

When a check is stale-dated, the recipient of the check will need to inform the issuer of the check and request that they provide them with a new check for the payment. This includes filling out a new check with the proper information. Of course, depending on the situation, purpose of payment, and circumstances surrounding not processing the check in a timely manner, this may be easier than in other instances.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people looking into what slate-dated checks are. If you have further questions you would like to ask our team, donโ€™t hesitate to get in touch.

Can I Deposit a Stale Check Into My Account?

No, you cannot deposit a stale check into your account because, by virtue of being stale, it is not eligible to be deposited.

Where Can I Cash a Stale-Dated Check?

You cannot cash a stale-dated check. Instead, you will need to ask that the issuer of the check provides you with a new check for the purpose of the payment.

How Long Is a Stale-Dated Check Good For?

A stale dated check is no longer good. This is because after six months, most banks and credit unions will refuse to cash checks as they consider them โ€œstaleโ€ after this period of time has passed.

Can I Cash a Check From 2 Years Ago?

No, you cannot cash a check from two years ago. This is because most banks and credit unions consider checks that are six months old (after the issue date) to be stale and no longer eligible for depositing or cashing.

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