How Long Is A Personal Check Good For?

So you were going through your papers after a long time and files at work and caught sight an old check which was probably dated more than a couple of months back. Have you ever wondered how long can you wait before cashing a personal check?Or for how long is a check valid? This article will discuss the implications of leaving a check without cashing it for too long and what you can do once you find a back dated cash. The important thing that you must keep in mind is to always get your checks cashed in due time to avoid any issues and unnecessary trips to the bank.

Official checks such as the ones released by a government department or by your employer, for instance your salary check, have a validity date indicating to the time until they can be cashed.But even with these checks (checks that mention an ‘void after’ date), the bank can still pay your money if they want to, as there is no legal binding that prohibits them from doing it. The same is not true for personal checks such as the ones you may receive as a birthday gift and they are the ones where the problem arises. It would be polite if you choose ignore an old check of a very small amount, however if the amount is considerable and you are need of the money you can check with the bank to know what policy they follow about back dated checks.

It has happened with all of us so this problem is not something that the banks are not used to dealing with. In case you have recently found a check that you accidentally misplaced and are unsure about what to do with it (who doesn’t like a bit of surprise); here is what you can do in such a situation:

What does the Law have to say on it?

Legally speaking, your bank is not responsible to consider a check for cashing after 6 months of the date it was due to be cashed in on.However, it also depends on every bank’s policy about how to proceed in any such circumstance. Your bank may pay you for that back dated check, but then they may not and you cannot do much about it.They are not bound to pay you the written amount after six months of the due date; but they are not prohibited to do it by any state’s law. You can find a way around to this problem with your payee and sort this issue out even if your bank refuses to help you.

What if someone has not cashed a check you have given them?

Since every bank follows their own independent policy in case of back dated checks; if someone has not cashed in a check that you may have given them you need to have that much amount of money in your account all the time until they get their check cashed, so that check does not get bounced. While the bank that you deal with may not cash in a check that is that many months old, someone else’s bank may do it. If they choose to do and you do not have the written amount in your bank then, you may have to pay the fees that come with each bounced check. It is in such cases that experts recommend contacting the payee to confirm when their trip to the bank will be. It will not only save you from a hassle at the bank, it is also polite to confirm from the payee when they will get it cashed if a long time has passed since you wrote that check.

When a check you have written does not get cashed in due time

In case a check written and signed by you does not get cashed in due time, it does not mean that you can assume the payee will never cash it. You need to have funds in your account for the time when they decide to cash it. However, such a case can make balancing your check book a complicated task.You can also contact the payee to confirm when they will go to cash the check if you are close to them without making it uncomfortable for them.

Also since each bank runs its own policy on outstanding checks, you may also have to face issues related with the fees of bounced checks.Let’s see how does that happen; in case your payee forgets to cash their check that you have written to them and after 6 months they choose to go and cash in on that, and if in that month you have written some other checks to different people, you will have to pay the fees for each of the checks that gets bounced. What your payee can do in this case is that they can contact you before going in for the cash in to bank and confirm if they can still cash it or if you still have that much amount in your account. Also, it is also advisable that you ask your payee to confirm with you before going to cash that check so can have their amount ready and they do not need to go through a hassle, in case they have to delay the process due to any reason.

In case you have a check that you forgot to cash

In such a case where you have forgotten to cash or misplaced a check, it is better that you ask your bank about their policies on this matter. This will save you and your payee a lot of time and hassle. If a considerable time has passed you might need to think if the payee will still have this amount their account and if the amount is not very large and you do not need it you can assume you never found that check. However, in case the bank refuses to co-operate (which they do not need to, technically), you can also ask your payee to write you another check because you have misplaced the other one and that it is not valid anymore.

In any case when you are dealing with banks it is always recommended that you understand their policies thoroughly and stay aware of your own finances to avoid any problems. You can always discuss your options with your bank regarding any financial matter. On the other hand even though they are expensive, but as an option you can also go to a payday loan shop or a check cashing store to cash your checks as well. But usually your bank can get you out of this problem since they have nothing lose as no financial law binds them to not help you out in this matter in any way.

If you or anyone around you has gone through a similar process and could not get your promised back, take this as a lesson and remind yourself the next time to get your checks cashed in due time. It is also important that you be aware of your financial rights so the banks cannot bully you and you can make a balanced argument with them if need be. Even if you cannot solve your problem this way, you can always ask your payee to write you another check and be prepared to do the same to others if they fail to get their checks cashed written by you, in time.


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