When Do Checks Expire?

Written by Banks Editorial Team
4 min. read
Written by Banks Editorial Team
4 min. read

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You got a check in the mail. It could be from your employer, a client, or someone else. The first thing you should do is endorse your check and get those proceeds in your account. If you follow this step, you will never have to worry about checks expiring.

Unfortunately, life throws many tasks and curveballs at us. You may not have enough time to bring the check to the bank because of grocery shopping and other errands. You may have a busy work week and try to do it on weekends. However, weekend surprises can keep you away from your local bank. Although not ideal, you could usually wait a week to cash in a check. Problems emerge when one week turns into two, and you’re suddenly looking at an unendorsed check you received months ago. At this point, you’re probably wondering if that check is still valid or if you can’t receive those funds anymore. We’ll cover a few scenarios and how Current (*) can help with check deposits.  

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Do Checks Expire?

If you leave the check undeposited long enough, it will eventually expire. While some checks have different deadlines, most of them expire within 180 days. 

Types Of Checks and When They Expire

Your check’s expiration date depends on the type of check. We have outlined several types of checks along with when they expire.

Personal Checks

Personal checks are valid for 180 days. Someone may have given this check to you as a birthday gift or for another occasion. This check will have the person’s name, account number, and other details. The check will specify you as the payee.

Business Checks

Business checks are also valid for 180 days. These checks are similar to personal checks, but they look more professional. These larger checks have space for the company’s logo and can fit in ledgers. These checks have more security features than personal checks, protecting the company and employees from forgeries. Businesses can get fancy with their check designs and features, but they function like personal checks. 

U.S. Treasury Checks

You may receive a U.S. Treasury check for a tax refund, a U.S. treasury bond, or something else. However, these checks have different expiration timelines than personal and business checks. These checks expire one year after being issued. If the check’s issue date is May 14th, it expires on May 14th of the following year. 

You won’t receive a check on the date it’s issued. The check may take several weeks or months to arrive in your mail unless you sign up for direct deposit with Current (*) . When you sign up and connect your Current account, you could receive the funds directly in your account up to five days faster via direct deposit (1) .

The checks can also come as a surprise since not everyone expects a tax refund. If you expect treasury bill payments in the mail, you may want to consider signing up for Current (*) and connecting your account—it takes less than 2 minutes to sign up. Getting a check up to five days faster means money in your pocket sooner. 

Cashier’s Checks

Cashier’s checks get complicated. These checks get drawn from a bank’s funds, and a cashier signs them. Cashier’s checks guarantee the funds and often show up in real estate and brokerage transactions. The expiration dates vary for each check and cashier. Some checks never expire, while others can expire in 60-180 days. Look for a disclaimer saying that the check is void after X days. This disclaimer is the deadline.

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Discover Current Spend Account and read about how to open one, what benefits can give and how to manage your bank account online from the app.
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Learn how the Current mobile banking app makes it easy to manage your money and tap into all the perks the platform has to offer.

Traveler’s Checks

Traveler’s checks were once a popular way for overseas tourists to protect their finances. You could use these checks to buy goods and services in other countries currencies. Credit and debit cards made these checks less relevant, and you’ll rarely see them today. However, you might still have a traveler’s check sitting around if you traveled during that era. Luckily, traveler’s checks never expire if the issuer is still in business. You can deposit the traveler’s check and get the remaining cash. 

Money Orders

Money orders are prepaid and have no deadline. However, you should still pay it as soon as possible. You could lose it, and it will rack up fees as you delay the deposit. Money orders don’t have your bank account or other sensitive personal information on the check. The fee is low, but it adds up. You can still deposit old money orders and see what you get after fees.

Blank Checks

Blank checks do not expire. You can hold onto these checks in your checkbook without worrying about them losing value. Any check with some writing on it (i.e., signature, established payee, etc.) will have an expiration date. If you receive a check without a date, you should fill in the current date. The date begins the countdown to the check’s expiration. You could have these checks last forever by not providing a date, but that’s bad practice. Not only can you stress out the drawer, but you may not obtain the funds if you try to deposit the check. We’ll discuss some reasons that can happen shortly. 

Is It Possible to Cash an Old Check?

You can still cash an old check if it’s expired, but it’s challenging. You will have to talk with the bank and see if they will accommodate your request. Banks are not obligated to complete the transaction after the expiration date, and each bank has different policies. For U.S. Treasury Checks, you’ll have to call the IRS.

Why You Should Not Wait To Cash Checks

You should cash checks upon receiving them. Expiration dates create a false sense of security that goes beyond missing the deadline. You should cash checks immediately for the following reasons.

Closed Accounts

Not everyone stays with the same bank. Some drawers may close their accounts before your check expires. You’ll have no way to claim the funds, and the check will bounce. The bank will charge you a fee for submitting the defunct check to add insult to injury. 

Insufficient Funds

When someone gives you a check, they can cover the check at that moment. However, a lot can change in a few months. The drawer may forget about your check and use their remaining account balance to cover other expenses. So when you show up and deposit the check a few months later, you may not get the money due to insufficient funds. In addition, you’ll have to pay fees if the check bounces due to insufficient funds. 

Stop Payment

A drawer may become suspicious if you don’t deposit the check soon enough. Checks can get stolen, and no one wants to pay the wrong person. Therefore, a check issuer may request a stop payment. This order prevents anyone from cashing out an unpaid check with your signature. You should reach out to the drawer about a stop payment. These orders eventually expire and can provide a small opening to deposit the check within the deadline.

What Can You Do to Prevent Checks Expiring?

If a check has already expired, you can’t cry over spilled milk. Your best bet is to reach out to the issuer and see if they’ll accept your check. Anyone can accidentally forget to deposit a check and not have enough time to visit a local bank. Some consumers need a more straightforward way to deposit checks, and that’s where Current (*) can help. 

Current (*) has many features designed to power up your finances, including their mobile check deposit feature. You can take a picture of your check in the Current app, and the funds will automatically show up in your bank account. You won’t have to remember to visit the bank when a screenshot is all you need. If you want to simplify check deposits and improve your financial health, open an account with Current today.

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Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by and Visa® Debit Card issued by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

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Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by and Visa® Debit Card issued by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

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Faster access to funds is based on a comparison of traditional banking policies and deposit of paper checks from employers and government agencies versus deposits made electronically. Direct deposit and earlier availability of funds are subject to the timing of the payer's submission of deposits. Current Premium accounts only.

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Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by and Visa® Debit Card issued by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

×

Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by and Visa® Debit Card issued by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

×

Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by and Visa® Debit Card issued by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc and can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

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