Do Checks Expire? Here’s How Long a Check is Good for

Do Checks Expire? Here's How Long a Check is Good for

Checks are a common way to receive payments, whether it’s from a friend, your employer, or a government agency. However, many people don’t realize that checks can expire. If you wait too long to deposit or cash a check, you might miss out on the money.

If you are wondering if do checks expire then here in this blog we will explain how long a check is good for and what to do with expired checks to ensure you don’t miss out on your money. By understanding these simple rules, you can ensure you never lose out on money that’s rightfully yours.

Different Checks Have Different Expiry Dates

Checks have expiration dates, usually either six months or a year from the date on the check. For personal checks, they typically expire in six months. Banks and credit unions don’t have to accept checks after they expire.

Even though many banks might still accept a personal check after six months, there’s a risk. If the check bounces or there’s another issue from the person who gave you the check, you could owe money and possibly a fee.

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Understanding Check Expiration

Most checks expire after six months or 180 days from the date on the check. After this period, the check is called “stale.” According to the rules (Uniform Commercial Code), banks don’t have to accept stale checks. However, many banks might still take them, even if the check says “Void after 180 days” or if the person who wrote the check stops the payment.

What Happens If You Deposit an Expired Check?

If you deposit an expired check, it can cause problems. Sometimes, your bank might accept the check, and the money will show up in your account or you might get the cash. But, if the bank that issued the check rejects it, the money will be taken out of your account, and you could be charged a fee.

Some reasons why a check might be rejected include:

  • The account doesn’t have enough money.
  • The account is closed.
  • The person who wrote the check stopped the payment.

If the check is rejected, the amount will be withdrawn from your account, and you might be charged a fee, usually around $35. If you don’t have enough money in your account to cover the withdrawal and the fee, you could also be charged an overdraft fee, which is another $35.

How Long is a Personal Check Good For?

Personal checks are usually good for six months. Some banks and credit unions might accept them after that, but it’s not guaranteed. If you have an expired check, here are some steps you can take:

  • Contact your bank and the bank that issued the check to ask about their rules for expired checks.
  • Make sure the person who wrote the check still has enough money in their account.
  • Ask the person who wrote the check to send you a new one if needed.

How Long is a Payroll Check Good For?

Payroll checks, which are checks you get from your job, are less common nowadays. Most people get paid through direct deposit. If you do get a payroll check, it usually expires after six months. However, it’s best to cash it long before that because employers are only required to keep the funds available for 30 days.

If you have an expired payroll check, you might have one to three years, depending on your state’s laws, to ask your employer for a new one. You can do this by contacting the Human Resources (HR) or payroll department at your job. Usually, you’ll get a new check in about two weeks.

After the allowed time has passed, the employer must report the check to the state as unclaimed property. To find out how to claim old payroll checks in your state, you can visit the FDIC’s Unclaimed Property Information page.

How Long is a Cashier’s Check Good For?

The expiration of a cashier’s check depends on the bank’s rules. It could be good for 60 days, 180 days, or until the bank goes out of business. To find out when your cashier’s check expires, look for a void date on the check. If the date has passed, you can ask the bank to give you a new check.

How Long is a Government Check Good For?

Government checks, like those from the IRS or Social Security, are usually good for six months to a year. The expiration date might be printed on the check. After a government check expires, you can often ask for a new one by contacting the agency that issued it. For example, to get a replacement IRS check, call 800-829-0115.

If it’s too late to ask for a new check, you might still be able to get the money by searching through your state’s unclaimed property office or the state where you lived when the check was issued.

How Long is a Traveler’s Check Good For?

Traveler’s checks don’t expire as long as the issuing bank is still in business. You can use a traveler’s check whenever you want, even if you’re not traveling.

How to Handle an Expired Check

The best way to deal with an expired check depends on what kind of check it is and how old it is.

  • Personal Checks: Check with both the bank that issued the check and your bank before trying to deposit or cash the check. If you can, ask the person who wrote the check to send you a new one.
  • Payroll and Government Checks: You have a set amount of time to ask for a new check from the company or agency that sent it. After that time, you can look for the money through your state’s unclaimed property office.
  • Checks You Wrote: If you wrote a check that has expired, contact the person who was supposed to cash it to see if it was lost or stolen. You can stop the payment on the check, but if the person still has it and tries to cash it, it might be accepted. In that case, ask them to destroy the old check and offer to write a new one.

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Depositing or cashing a check promptly can help you avoid problems with expired checks. Understanding the expiration rules for different types of checks can save you from potential fees and hassle. Always check with your bank and the issuing bank if you have questions about an expired check. If needed, don’t hesitate to ask for a replacement check to ensure you get your money.

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