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How long does it take for a check to clear

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Generally, a check can take between two to three business days to clear. Although, be aware that each bank is different with some taking longer than others.

Some banks also make funds available for withdrawal before checks clear, which can be confusing as it can make you think you have more money to spend than you actually have.

There are a number of different places you can head to cash in a check, from your local Money Services to banks and some ATMs. A number of banks even allow you to cash checks via their mobile app.

Depositing a check at the bank

When you deposit a personal check - whether via mobile app or in person - you’re instantly responsible for that money. This means that if the bank lets you withdraw the funds, and the check bounces, you have to refund the money spent and it will be debited from your account.

While the bank verifies whether or not the funds are available to pay your check, there is usually a waiting time before you get access to the money. This wait time can depend on a few factors:

  • The amount of the check
  • Your relationship with the bank
  • The standing of the payer’s account

Things that can take a little longer, usually around five business days, include:

  • If it’s a large amount of money
  • If the check is from an international bank
  • The standing of the payer’s account

Things you can do to access your money as soon as possible are:

  • Using a remote check deposit when available
  • Depositing checks as soon as possible
  • Depositing your check before the cut-off time

Your deposit receipt

Wherever you deposit your funds, you’ll be given a receipt that states when the funds should be available to you. It’s a good idea to hold on to this should you have any problems with getting you cash.

Retailers and cash checking stores

At retailers and cash checking stores like Money Services, you can access your money instantly after cashing a check, all for a small fee. This is because Money Services doesn’t accept personal checks, starter checks or third-party checks.

The types of checks you can cash include:

  • Business checks
  • Insurance settlement checks
  • Income Tax Refund checks
  • Government checks
  • Payroll checks

Check clearing times

The time it takes a check to clear depends on a number of factors:

  • How large the check is. Usually, if you cash a check at the bank, they have a requirement where they have to make the first $200 available to you within the first 24 hours.
  • Government issued checks. When it comes to government issued checks, banks usually release the funds immediately as they trust that the government has enough money to cover the cost.
  • The bank. If both the payee and the writer of the check use the same bank, sometimes transfers can be processed faster than when using different banks.
  • The payee. If the payee doesn’t deposit the check for a while after receiving it, this can also add to the time if takes for the check to clear from your bank.

When to be cautious about a check clearing

  • It’s from someone new
  • It’s for money than you asked for
  • It’s from a suspicious organization
  • It comes from overseas

If you’re in any doubt about whether your check has cleared or not, you can always give your bank a call to check before spending the money.

For more advice about checks and managing your money safely, head to Money Services, where you’ll find a range of helpful tips and advice.

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