How Long Do You Have to Cash a Check?

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

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You’ve had a check in your possession for some time but haven’t yet cashed it. Is it any good, or will you need to request that it be reissued? In most instances, you’ll have six months, but the timeline varies by the type of check you want to cash. 

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How Long Checks are Usually Good For

Below is a breakdown of how long each type of check is good for. 

Personal Checks

Personal checks are valid for 180 days or 6 months. Payroll and business checks are also categorized as personal checks for this article and are subject to the same timeline. Keep in mind that some personal checks may include the phrase “void after 90 days”. If you present them after the 90-day window but before 180 days have passed, many financial institutions will still allow you to cash or deposit the check. 

U.S. Treasury Checks

U.S. Treasury checks are valid for up to one year from the date of issuance. If you have a U.S. Treasury check that is greater than a year old, reach out to the issuer and request that they cancel the current check and issue a new one. 

State/Local Government Checks

The expiration date on checks issued by state and local government entities depends on state law. In most instances, you’ll have anywhere from six to 12 months to cash or deposit a check, but it could expire before that date. 

Cashier’s Checks

Cashier’s checks are often subject to expiration dates like other types of checks. However, you may find that they’re valid as long as the issuing bank is open for a business. If you’re uncertain, look for the expiration date on the check or reach out to the bank. 

Money Orders

The policies surrounding expiration dates on money orders vary by state. While they technically don’t go out of date, the issuer may collect a fee if it’s cashed after a certain number of years. If the money order sits for too long and the fees pile up, it could become worthless. 

Traveler’s Checks

There is no expiration date on traveler’s checks. Therefore, you can either spend them as you would with other forms of payment or cash them in with the issuer. 

How to Cash in a Check

Ideally, you want to cash a check as soon as you receive it to prevent it from going stale. Here’s what to do to ensure the process is seamless. 

Visit the Issuing Bank/Credit Union

If you have an account at a traditional bank or credit union, you can cash or deposit it there. Otherwise, you’ll need to visit the financial institution that issued the check to cash it. 

Endorse the Check

Flip the check over and sign at the top of it on the signature line. 

Fill Out the Necessary Documents

Complete the form required by the financial institution to cash the check. 

Show Proof of Identity

Present a copy of your driver’s license or government-issued identification card. 

Get Your Cash

Receive your cash and spend it however you see fit. 

Earn 4.00% APY on your Savings

Mobile banking done better. No overdraft fees/hidden fees. Get paid up to two days faster with direct deposit. Earn up to 15x the points on swipes.

Other Ways to Cash in a Check

If you’d prefer not to visit the issuing bank or credit union to cash a check, you have other options. 

Mobile Check Deposit

Sign up for a free account with an online platform, like Current (*) , that provides an assortment of perks. Beyond its mobile check deposit feature, you can also take advantage of: 

  • Faster direct deposit: Get paid up to two days early when enrolling in a direct deposit using your Current account. (1)
  • Cash back: Earn up to 15 points per dollar spent at more than 14,000 participating merchants that can be redeemed inside the Current app
  • Overdrive: This overdraft protection feature helps you avoid fees when you overdraft your account by up to $200, assuming you receive monthly direct deposits of $500 or more. (2)
  • Fee-free ATMs: Current members can make fee-free withdrawals at more than 40,000 in-network Allpoint ATMs nationwide. (3)
  • Fee-free accounts: You won’t be subject to minimum balance fees, overdraft fees, bank transfer fees or instant transfer fees when sending funds to other Current members.3 
  • Savings pods: Earn up to a 4.00 annual percentage yield (APY) by depositing your hard-earned money in Savings Pods. (4)
  • Teen banking: If you have teenagers, consider opening a fee-free account with Current that includes a Visa debit card, instant transfers, instant gas hold removals, spending limit and merchant blocking capabilities, automated allowance payments and more. 

Become a part of the Current movement alongside 4 million others and revolutionize your banking experience. Visit the website or download the mobile app to learn more about its offerings and sign up for an account. It takes less than two minutes of your time. Even better, you can deposit checks with ease and make your money work harder for you. 

Major Retailers

You may be able to cash a check at a grocery store or with a major retailer for a fee, but it could take a few minutes to confirm that the check is good. 

Check-cashing Store

Check-cashing stores can also lend a helping hand in exchange for a fee. 

ATM

If you have a checking or savings account, visit an ATM that accepts checks and select the deposit option. You may get a portion or all of the funds released to you right away if you use your bank’s ATM. 

Pre-paid Card Account or Checkless Debit Card Account

Some prepaid card issuers allow you to deposit funds by check via a mobile app. This is another convenient way to cash a check you’ve been holding on to. 

Current

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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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Please refer to Overdrive™ Features Terms and Conditions. Current Premium Accounts only.

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Out of network cash withdrawal fees apply. Third-party, adding cash and Current membership fees may apply.

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The Annual Percentage Yield ("APY") for Current Interest is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of January 1, 2022. No minimum balance is required. Must have $0.01 in savings pods to earn Current Interest on up to $2000 in deposits per Savings Pod up to $6000 total.  Please refer to Current Interest Terms and Conditions.

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