Have you ever, in the process of cleaning out your old cabinets, stumbled across a check from times gone by? A birthday check from Grandma, a smaller paycheck, etc.?
You may or may not be able to cash these outdated checks, but it will depend on your financial institution.
What Happens If You Deposit an Old Check?
Depending on the bank that you go to, your out-of-date checks may not be able to be cashed. This is because financial institutions may not accept checks if they do not have sufficient reason to believe that they will receive the money from the paying bank.
Because banks have the discretion to accept or reject checks based on the likelihood of their compensation, checks issued from more reputable institutions may be looked at in a different light.
How Long is an Uncashed Check Good For?
Financial institutions are not required to accept checks that are older than six months (180 days). Thus, it is very important to keep this timeframe at the forefront of your mind and make a conscious effort to cash your checks on time.
However, if you cannot cash your check within the six-month timeframe, certain measures can be taken to redeem your expired checks.
What to Do if a Check Expires?
If your check expires, your response should differ based on which kind of entity issued your check. In any case, however, the first step you take should be to contact the person or organization that issued your check.
When you contact whoever issued your check, it is important that you request that they reissue the check. This step may save you some work in convincing your financial institution to accept your expired check.
If the government issued the check, you could simply request a reissued check through government channels.
If you are not able to obtain a reissued check from the original issuer, there is a chance that you may be able to convince your bank to cash your original check.
If you approach your financial institution in a professional manner and a good case for your check, they may help you.
Do Companies Have to Reissue Expired Checks?
Depending on where you live, there may be statutes that require certain types of checks to be reissued, such as payroll checks. Whether or not the entity in question is required to reissue your check depends on the individual situation.
What is the Law on Stale Dated Checks?
Though the law on stale dated checks can vary by state, banks are not required to accept a check over six months old. It is up to the discretion of the accepting financial institution- and, in many cases, the issuing body- as to what to do about expired checks.
Final Thoughts on Cashing a 2-year-old Check
Ultimately, the best thing to do is to cash your checks within the six-month window. Becoming conscientious about check-cashing will save you a lot of time and work in the future. It is, however, comforting to know that there are steps to take when this strategy fails.
THIS IS NOT OFFICIAL FINANCIAL ADVICE.