Coming across previously lost checks or returning home from an extended trip to find checks in your mail can have you wondering if those checks are still good for deposit. Before depositing them and potentially risking any bounced checks, make sure they are still good before drawing money off them.
Look at the date on the check. “The Uniform Commercial Code, which applies in most states, says that a bank is not obligated to cash a check more than six months after it was written,” says Chuck Jaffe of MarketWatch. If you have a check more than six months old, do not deposit it with the assumption that it will clear.
Call the person who wrote the check and find out whether the funds are still available or whether the account has changed since the issuing date. This approach also gives the issuer a heads-up for accounting purposes.
Contact the branch manager at your bank and talk to her about the check. If you cannot track down the original issuer of the check, ask the bank to determine whether the check is still good for deposit.
- MarketWatch: Found An Old Check? Deposit It At Your Peril
- Cornell University Law School: Uniform Commercial Code
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "The Bank/Credit Union Refused to Cash a Check Because It Was More Than Six Months Old. Is This Allowed?" Accessed March 10, 2020.
- Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. "Consumer Compliance Handbook: Regulation CC Availability of Funds and Collection of Checks," Page 6. Accessed March 10, 2020.
- Legal Information Institute. "§ 4-404. Bank Not Obliged to Pay Check More Than Six Months Old." Accessed March 10, 2020.
- Bureau of the Fiscal Service U.S. Department of the Treasury. "Check Claims." Accessed March 10, 2020.
- Legal Information Institute. "Overdue Instrument." Accessed March 10, 2020.
- Western Union. "Do Money Orders Have an Expiration Date?" Accessed March 10, 2020.
- SEC. "Escheatment Process: Accounts – Abandoned or Unclaimed." Accessed March 10, 2020.
- USPS. "International Money Transfer Services." Accessed March 10, 2020.
- American Express. "American Express Travelers Cheques." Accessed March 10, 2020.
- Los Angeles County Consumer & Business Affairs. "Bad Checks." Accessed March 10, 2020.
- HelpWithMyBank.gov. "Answers About Stop Payment Orders." Accessed March 10, 2020.
- Illinois State Bar Association. "Aliaga Medical Center, S.C. v. Harris Bank N.A." Accessed March 10, 2020.
Nikki Jardin began freelance writing in 2009 and focuses on food and travel articles. She has been a professional cook and caterer for more than 20 years. She holds a degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University.