You can write a check from one bank account to another bank account without penalty fees. The accounts may be at the same financial institution or different financial institutions. Many banks offer online transfers to reduce the wait times associated with cashing out-of-state checks, but you can also deposit a check in person, via an ATM or through a smartphone banking app.
If you have a checking account with one bank and a savings account with another, you can transfer funds to your savings account by writing a check.
Banks do not charge a fee for processing checks that are drawn against a different bank. The procedure for cashing a personal check is the same regardless of who the payee or payer is. When preparing the personal check, name yourself as the payee and provide a hand signature at the bottom of the check.
You'll need to follow your bank's rules for deposits. You can often either deposit the check in person with a teller, deposit it at an ATM or deposit it through a mobile banking app. If you have questions, contact your bank.
Checking for Sufficient Funds
Before writing a check to draw funds from one bank account and deposit the money into another, analyze your check registry or recent bank statements to determine if you have enough money in your account to cover the value of the check. Failure to do so might result in an insufficient funds fee or a return-check fee if the check is returned.
Being Aware of Processing Times
A variety of factors affect the processing times for checks. A bank can legally place a hold on a check to verify funds are actually available to clear the check. The bank will deposit the check into your account – although you may not have immediate access to all of your funds – and then release the full amount of the check on a later date once the funds in your second account have been verified.
Understanding Local and Non-Local Checks
A bank can only hold a local check for one day. A local check is one that is drawn on a bank within the same check-processing region. One state can have several regions and one region can make up more than one state. A bank can only hold a non-local check for up to five days from the date of deposit. A non-local check is one that is drawn on a bank outside the check-processing region where the deposit is being made.
Knowing Available Alternative Transfer Options
Many bank accounts allow you to link other bank accounts you control to transfer money bank and forth, even between different banks. Check with the banks you do business with to see if they have such options, which can be simpler and faster than writing yourself checks.
- Northern Kentucky Educators Federal Credit Union: Funds Availability Policy
- Wells Fargo: Make ATM Deposits
- Bank of America: Mobile Check Deposit
- Associated Bank: External Transfers
- Chase Bank. “Deposit Account Agreement and Privacy Notice,” Page 16. Accessed March 2, 2020.
- Experian. “Check Cashing: Are the Fees Worth It.” Accessed March 2, 2020.
- Federal Direct Insurance Corporation. “FDIC Consumer News: Beware of Fake Checks.” Accessed March 2, 2020.
Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.