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10 Mar 2022

When Does a Personal Check Become Stale Dated?


stale dated checks

Banks might still decide to cash the check or allow a deposit, but the issuer may not have the funds in their checking account or savings account to cover the check. Additionally, the check writer or financial institution might outright reject the transaction. A stop payment order might have been placed on an uncashed check for security purposes. On the flip side, a several-months-old personal check may fall off the issuer’s radar. Practically all checking accounts have zero interest, meaning most people only keep just enough in the account to pay the bills. As a result, when the forgotten check resurfaces without warning, there may not be enough funds in the account to cover it. This is why it is always best to contact the issuer before attempting to cash a stale check.

What happens if you deposit an old check?

If someone tries to cash or deposit a stale check from your checking account, your bank might still deduct the funds from your account — even if you don't have the funds to cover the amount. This could cause your account to be overdrawn, and you might also have to pay a fee unless you issue a stop-payment order.

To ensure you can implement this policy, require accounting to collect contact information — such as phone number, email address and physical address — before disbursing any checks. Do personal checks expire more quickly than company-printed checks? Welcome stale dated checks to the County of Orange Uncashed Check Register Database. Please note that checks over two years old cannot be replaced immediately. If a check remains uncashed after two years, it becomes unclaimed property which is then turned over to New York State.

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Making the call may be awkward, but accidentally slapping your grandma with a hefty overdraft fee is worse. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a payee will never cash a check. Whether an employee forgot about the paycheck or a vendor went out of business, a stale-dated check can result in an accounting conundrum. Create an accounting policy to contact stale-dated check holders after a specified period of time. If your state is subject to unclaimed property laws, request that accounting record a liability to the state.

How do you fix a stale dated check?

While a stale-dated check is not necessarily invalid, banks may deem it an “irregular” bill of exchange and refuse to honor it. At this point, the only way to process the payment is if the drawer — otherwise known as the check writer or issuer — changes the date on a replacement check or issues a new check.

Yes, you can cash a 2-year-old check in theory, but the bank won’t be legally obligated to process it for you. For checks that you have written out to others, you can expect the check to last for six months. There are exceptions to this, but generally speaking, most checks will expire after six months have passed without endorsement.

The Small Account Problem

A “stale” check — one that hasn’t been cashed within six months of the original issue date — can cause you problems and cost you in bank fees. It’s important to know that when you get a check it may not be valid forever. Checks can become “stale dated” and may be harder, or even impossible, to cash. Set a time frame to write off stale-dated checks in your accounting policy handbook.

  • Raw Material Services, Inc. can request that their bank reconfirm payment rather than returning the checks as unpaid.
  • Other issuers may not charge fees, but they must eventually turn unclaimed assets over to the state.
  • Decide on intervals for contact, such as six months and one year.
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  • The bank receiving a stale check can return the check to the paying bank marked unpaid, request a new check be issued or consult with the person who wrote the check.

Banks don’t have to accept checks that are more than 6 months old. That’s according to the Uniform Commercial Code , a set of laws governing commercial exchanges, including checks.

RCH Client Services

To confirm payment, Raw Material Services, Inc’s bank must request that a new check be issued or that a new payment date can be validly placed onto the existing checks. Banks can provide information about their stale check policy on request. Customers should find out what will happen if they write checks and people try to cash them more than six months after they are written. Some banks will helpfully print the policy on their checks, alerting anyone who handles the check to the length of time in which it will be valid. For parties planning to deposit checks, it may be advisable to ask the teller about the fees for returned checks in the event the issuing bank returns a stale check. If you forgot to deposit a check and it’s been more than six months since you received it, it might be considered stale. You can try and deposit or cash it, but you risk the check being rejected by your bank or possibly returned from the issuing bank.

  • If that’s the case, it’s best to keep the funds available in your account for at least six months.
  • Check with an attorney for specific guidance, and remember that a bank might accept the deposit and try to pull funds from your account at any time.
  • If you write a replacement or substitute check, it’s wise to request a stop payment on the original check so you don’t pay twice.

Generally speaking, money orders don’t expire, but they could become so old that they fall under abandoned property regulations or the value is eaten with fees. You may have valid reasons for holding on to a check written to you, but it’s best to deposit or cash checks as soon as possible, as there are risks involved. However, the money order issuer might start charging fees against the money order, eroding its value and eventually making it worthless. For example, Western Union charges fees to money orders after one to three years. If somebody fails to deposit or cash a check you wrote, they may have difficulty negotiating the check after six months.

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