Writing a check is a relatively easy and effortless way to pay for someone’s services. The only thing is that you’ll actually need the check to get the money. This means that misplacing it will make getting the funds impossible. In the case of finding it after a while, you’ll still be able to cash it as long as it’s not older than six months.
There are also other scenarios regarding cash withdrawal via check that you should be aware of. It’s best to get all the necessary info to avoid losing that money entirely. So here’s everything you need to know about check validity, expiration date, how and where to do it.
How Long Is a Check Valid Anyways?
Depending on whether you’re a drawer or the payee, you’ll want to know how much time you have to cash the check or keep the funds on your account. So how long is a check good for, anyway?
Most of the checks are valid for six months (180 days), although there are exceptions. So if you’re drawer, and the person you wrote the check to didn’t cash it yet, it’s advisable to keep that amount on your account for six months at least. But what happens afterward, and do checks expire? There are two types of checks that you should be concerned about when validity is the question.
Personal Check and Check Writing
A personal check is a document that orders the bank (in which you have an account) to pay out the sum specified on the check. It contains the drawer’s name, their account number, amount, and the payee’s details. How long is a check valid? This type of check is valid for six months or 180 days, after which you have to contact the bank and the drawer to extend the deadline.
US Treasury Checks
Mostly used for federal tax returns, these documents allow you to collect money from the government, IRS, etc. They are good for one year after they’ve been issued, so be sure to cash them before the deadline. The process of re-issuing them is a bit tricky, as the person writing them isn’t someone you call and get them to re-issue it. You’d have to call the IRS and file a bunch of forms and documents before they can re-issue it.
Can You Cash a Check on an ATM?
There’s more than one place where you can cash a check. Most grocery stores, for example, will accept it. However, they’ll need to make sure it’s valid and pull it through their system. This usually takes only a couple of minutes. But did you know that you can do it on an ATM machine as well?
Yes, you can cash a regular check on an ATM, as long as you have a bank account. To do this, you’ll need your debit card, an ATM that accepts checks, and of course, your PIN.
Here’s how to do it:
- Insert your debit card in the ATM
- Enter your PIN
- Select the option “deposit check”
- Insert the check in the slot
- Follow the instructions
If you go to your bank’s ATM machine, you’ll most probably get 100% of the amount stated on the check. Not all banks charge the same for depositing a check, so if you want to avoid additional expenses, try to find an ATM machine from your bank.
Can You Cash a Check Without a Bank Account?
If you got a check on your name, but don’t have a bank account, you’re probably wondering whether you’ll have to open one to cash it. Well, the good news is that you don’t necessarily need a bank account. To cash a regular check, you won’t have to open an account to cash it, and you can do it in any bank. However, certain banks will charge additional expenses before you can cash it. You can also cash it from other places like Wallmart, your local gas station, grocery store, your employee, etc.
But how long does it take to get the money? The fastest way to cash a check and have the money in your pocket (or account), is to go to the drawer’s bank. This is because the bank can access this account immediately and get the details regarding the check, amount, as well as other account details. They’ll need to make sure that the person who wrote the check has enough funds, get a bunch of papers and confirmations before they can let you draw the money.
Another advantage of cashing the check in the drawer’s bank is that you’ll probably get 100% of the amount. No additional expenses will be charged. The same rule doesn’t apply when cashing it in any other bank. What you’ll need is:
- Your ID, Driver’s license or any legal document that proves your identity
- The check with the drawer’s name, account details, signature, etc
- Debit card to transfer the money to, or you can get it in cash
The clerk will check your documents. They’ll also check the drawer’s account to make sure their account is valid, that there are sufficient funds on their account, etc.
Is It Possible to Cash an Old Check?
Having a check that’s well beyond six months old can make cashing it difficult, but not entirely impossible. In theory, you can cash that check, but it does depend on the bank. Every bank has a different policy when it comes to cashing old checks.
They are in no legal obligation to cash a check that’s older than six months. So it’s really a matter of discretion and their good faith whether they cash it or not. The person who wrote the check in your name isn’t really leaving that amount on their account after a period of six months. The best thing you can do in this situation is to go to a bank and present your problem. The clerk will tell you if it’s possible and notify you whether there will be additional fees. The bank will have to contact the drawer (the person who wrote the check) and see if it’s fine with them to withdraw funds from their account.
You can call or contact the drawer before the check expires (180 days) and have them instruct the bank to extend the date on the check. This is only in case you can’t make the withdrawal before the check expires. So a good rule of thumb is to cash it within six months or contact the bank or the drawer if you can’t make it in time.