Checks are a fast and inexpensive way to send money and pay bills. But eventually uncashed checks expire, and it may be difficult to cash them. Knowing how long a check is valid for is key to keeping on top of your finances.
Do checks expire?
Yes - after a certain amount of time, your check will expire. After this point, some banks may refuse to cash your check, meaning you could miss out on the money you were owed.
Usually, a check will stay valid for six months from the date it was written. Most US states use the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which says checks don’t need to be honored after they’ve expired. However, it depends on the type of check, as well as state laws.
How long are personal checks good for?
Personal checks are usually valid for six months after the date written on them. Some places will process stale-dated checks or may not notice the date. If you have trouble cashing an old personal check, ask the issuer to cancel it and issue a new one.
When do US Treasury checks expire?
US Treasury checks, such as federal income tax refunds, are valid for one year. You can generally request a replacement check if yours becomes outdated.
State and local government checks will be valid for as long as state law allows. It’s best to contact your local authority to find out specific information about check expiration laws.
Do cashier checks expire?
The end date of cashier checks can depend on state laws. In some states, cashier checks are only valid for 90 days. This is because the issuing bank may have returned the unpaid check.
If you can't cash a cashier check because it has expired, you can contact the issuing bank and request a new one.
Do travelers’ checks expire?
Travelers’ checks should stay valid for as long as the provider is still in business. You should be able to cash their value at any time.
Do business checks expire?
Checks to businesses don’t technically expire. Even if a business check goes uncashed, you still owe the payment. It’s good practice to keep the owed amount available. At some point you will have to pay the bill, so you’ll need to keep the money safe until it’s claimed.
How long do I have to deposit a check?
Usually, you’ll have six months to deposit a check, but this can vary. Some checks may say they’re only valid for 90-180 days.
However long you have, it’s a good idea to deposit a check as soon as you can. You don’t have to go to a bank. Money Services locations are found within the Kroger Family of Stores so you can deposit a check while picking up your groceries.
Waiting to deposit a check can be risky for several reasons, including:
- Closed accounts – The individual or business who sent you the check may close their account. If you cash a check after the issuing account has closed, the check will bounce. You will miss out on the funds and may receive a charge for trying to deposit an invalid check.
- Insufficient funds – If you delay cashing a check, you might find that the paying account can no longer afford the check. This will cause the check to bounce and you may face fees for trying to process an invalid check.
- Cancelled payments – If you don’t cash a check soon enough, the issuer may worry and cancel the check to reduce the risk of loss or theft. If they do, it’ll bounce.
If you’re unsure of how to read your check, look at our guide. This will help you make sure you deposit your check correctly and never miss out on funds.
How do I cancel a personal check that I’ve written?
If someone loses a personal check you have written, you may want to cancel it. You can contact the issuer and request a ‘stop payment order’, which lasts for six months.
If someone has cashed the check after it was lost make sure you contact the issuer to report fraud.
What alternatives are there to a check?
If you’re unsure how to write a check here are several alternatives that also allow you to send money to others. These include:
- Money orders – A paper form you fill out in a similar way to checks. Prepay the value of your money order and send it to your chosen recipient for them to collect.
- Money transfers – An immediate, digital method of sending money from one account to another.
Find your nearest Money Services within the Kroger Family of Stores to cash your checks. Our in-store team is on hand to guide you through the process and help if there’s anything you’re unsure about.