Checks are a simple way to send and receive money. But if you forget to deposit them, what happens to the money? Does the obligation to pay go away for the person writing the check? Find out what happens and whether or not checks expire below.
- Personal checks are typically valid for a maximum of six months
- If you’ve had a check for longer than six months, you should ask for it to be reissued
- When writing a replacement check for a payee, always request a stop payment on the original check
How long is a personal check good for?
It’s recommended you deposit a personal check within the first six months of receiving it. If you’ve had a check for longer than six months, then the bank may not accept it as it has expired. In this case, you’ll need to ask the person who wrote you the check to issue you a new one.
There a few special circumstances where a bank may honor a check that’s over six months old:
- If the bank decides to ignore the date on the check
- US Treasury Checks – checks for things like federal income tax refunds are valid for at least one year after being issued. After this, you may need to request a reissued version to be sure you’ll receive your payment.
Certified checks and government checks should be okay for longer, but it’s always a good idea to cash or deposit a check as soon as you receive it.
Why you should cash a check as soon as possible
While there may be circumstances where you want to hold on to a check for a little longer, it’s always best to deposit or cash a check as soon as possible for a number of reasons, including:
- Insufficient funds – when a person initially makes a check out to you, it’s likely they will have the funds in their account. Within six months, their situation may have changed and they may not have the funds in their account. This makes the chances of the check bouncing much higher.
- Stopped payments – if a person is concerned their check may have been lost or misplaced, they could stop the payment on the check. If this happens, the bank will reject it when you try to deposit it and it will bounce back.
- Closed bank accounts – if the person or company your check is from choose to change or close their bank account, your check will bounce and you may be asked to pay a fee as a result.
Do the checks I write expire?
If you’ve made out a check and you’re worried it’s gone uncashed or deposited, then you will still owe the money.
Because of this, you should try to have enough money in your account to cover the costs of the check for at least six months to avoid the check bouncing. Be aware that the bank could pull the funds from your account at any time.
Do money orders expire?
Money orders don’t expire. Although, their value can reduce over time if not deposited. This is because the issuer may start charging fees against the money order, which will over time make it worth less.
If you have a money order that you’re worried about being too old, you may need to get in touch with the issuer to find out the remaining value.
At Kroger, you can cash checks and buy money orders while you do your grocery shopping. Don’t wait around with your check, head to your local Money Services counter to cash yours today.