What Is an Outstanding Check? | Outstanding Checks 101

In this article, we’re answering “what is an outstanding check?”

We will also answer a few important questions and compare outstanding checks to outstanding deposits.

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

Table of Contents

  1. What Is an Outstanding Check?
  2. Difference Between Outstanding Checks & Outstanding Deposits
  3. When Are Outstanding Checks Deposited Into a Bank Account?
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Ready to Explore Your Options?

What Is an Outstanding Check?

An outstanding check refers to a check that has not yet been deposited or cashed by the recipient. In other words, it has already been written and delivered to the recipient, but the recipient (or the recipient’s bank) has not yet processed the check, which would result in a draw on the issuing account.

After a check is issued, the recipient does not have to deposit or cash the check immediately. In fact, in most jurisdictions, an issued check will still be deposited by banks up to six months after the issue date. However, it is ultimately up to the receiving bank whether they will cash (or deposit) a check or not.

Of course, it’s best practice to deposit a check as soon as you receive it, which is why most checks include language encouraging a timely deposit. This language may include phrases like “valid for 90 days”. However, in most cases, this language is not enforceable.

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Difference Between Outstanding Checks & Outstanding Deposits

The main difference between outstanding checks and outstanding deposits is that a check takes money from your bank account while a deposit puts money into your bank account. That said, both outstanding checks and outstanding deposits refer to transactions that have not yet been posted to your account. We’ll take a closer look at both below.

Outstanding Checks

Outstanding checks refer to checks that have been issued to a recipient but have not yet been cashed by the recipient or the recipient’s bank. In other words, the person or company that issued the check is still waiting for the value of the check to be withdrawn from their account.

Outstanding Deposits

Outstanding deposits refer to a deposit that has been made but has yet to clear in the recipient’s account. Unlike a check, deposits have already been received by the bank and are being processed. Different banks have different processing times, but most outstanding deposits typically clear within three business days.

When Are Outstanding Checks Deposited Into a Bank account?

Outstanding checks are deposited into a bank account once they are deposited by the recipient and processed by the receiving bank. Unfortunately, the issuing individual or business does not have any way to force a check to be deposited.

That said, it is possible for the issuing party to request a stop order from their bank, which would void the check that was issued. In most cases, they would then need to issue a replacement check. Additionally, banks typically charge fees when a stop order is issued, so before taking this action it’s important to confirm the related fees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are two of the most common questions that we receive from people looking into what an outstanding check is. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

How Do You Tell If a Check is Outstanding?

You can tell if a check is outstanding by reviewing your online bank account. From there, you can confirm whether or not the check has been processed. Alternatively, you can contact your bank directly with the check number and ask them to confirm. Lastly, you can contact the recipient of the check and ask them to confirm whether they have deposited or cashed the check.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Outstanding Check?

An outstanding check refers to a check that has already been issued to the recipient. But the recipient has not yet cashed the check. With this in mind, it can take as long as six months to get an outstanding check withdrawn from your account. This is because most banks will cash checks up to six months after they have been cashed.

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