Banks are not required to cash a check older than six months. However, a bank may choose to honor a check presented beyond this date. Although it is more likely a bank will cash a stale business check than an old personal check, it is wise to request a new check rather than risk a deposit not going through.
Banks Have Discretion
According to the Uniform Commercial Code, Article 4-404, a bank does not have to cash old checks. However, the Code gives a bank the option of doing so in good faith, based on the assumption that the issuer would want to honor its obligation. If you have a check outstanding, it is sensible to contact your bank and ask whether its policy permits it to be cashed after six months.
Business Checks More Likely To Be Honored
A bank manager may choose to honor a stale-dated check and waive fees for cashing it. In general, government checks are accepted, business checks may or may not be accepted, and personal checks likely will not be accepted after six months. Dates stamped on the front of a business check, for example "void after 90 days," generally will not override the six-month rule unless the bank has explicit instructions from the check issuer.
- Forbes: How Long are Undeposited Checks Good?
- Get Rich Slowly: Stale Checks -- How Long Can Someone Wait to Deposit a Check?
- Cornell University Legal Information Institute: Uniform Commercial Code Article 4, 4-404
- Business Dictionary: Certified Check
- Market Watch: Found an Old Check? Deposit it at Your Peril
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