How Long Does It Take For Funds To Be Available After Depositing a Check

Checking account usage is gradually declining, especially as the use of electronic banking rises. However, there are still people who prefer to utilize these pieces of paper for transactions. For instance, suppose you are a landlord with a tenant who pays his or her rent monthly by check. Or perhaps, your beloved relative still sends you a check for your birthday.

Whatever the case, you should be aware that you won’t have access to the entire amount right away if it’s deposited into your bank account, no matter what your balance indicates. If you try to spend the cash right away, you may run into difficulties such as bouncing payments and incurring bank fines. As a result, it’s worthwhile to grasp the fundamentals of checks and check processing times.

How Long Does It Take For A Cashier’s Check To Clear?

While most banks allow you to access funds from a cashier’s check the next day, they are still at risk of being revoked. This usually happens in case you deposit a fraudulent cashier’s check.

There’s an ongoing fraud in which a fraudulent cashier’s check is given to victims, who are instructed to deposit it. It may take weeks for the bank to establish that it is fraudulent, by which point the victim has already spent the money. When this occurs, the victim is still responsible for any money spent on their account, even if it came from the bank.

A Compare Table Of The Average Time Different Banks Takes To Clear A Check

Typically, a check will take two days to clear, although this can vary. Here is a brief rundown of the time it takes for significant banks and merchants to cash or clear checks:

BankTime To Cash or Clear a Check
Chase BankSame day credit if it is received by 11 p.m. at Eastern time. Funds are accessible for withdrawal the second working day following the day of credit through QuickDeposit.
Bank of AmericaIf you make a deposit by 8 p.m. Mountain time or Pacific time, or 9 p.m. Eastern time, you may get same-day credit but money will generally be accessible the next working day.
Wells FargoMoney is generally credited to your account on the same day that is, if a check is credited on a working day. 
Citibank If you deposit the check using direct deposit, you may access the money right away.
Capital OneIf you deposit a check at any branch by 2 p.m., the funds will be credited the same business day.
Ally BankMoney will be credited on the same evening after Ally eChecks Deposits is submitted by 7 p.m. Eastern time but funds will be accessible the next working day.
KrogerYou can get your cash immediately as long as you have a government-issued ID.

Why Are Your Checks Being Held?

The following reasons may influence how long it can take for checks to clear as well as how long you must wait before accessing the money deposited.

  • Large Deposits: 1987 legislation that allows you to access your first deposit of $200 quickly also holds up recovery for large deposits greater than $5,000. The average time it takes for a check to be kept on hold depends entirely on the financial institution, amount, and the kind of check, although it’s usually 2 to 7 days.
  • Suspicious Transactions: Deposits are kept for verification purposes by the bank, and if something unusual occurs with your check, it is likely that you may have to wait for a long period for your money. For instance, if the check is more than six months old, it might need further investigation.
  • Different Bank Rules: The time it takes for a check to clear is determined by bank policy. If you make your deposit before the daily cut-off time, most of the banks will put money into your account on the same day; nevertheless, you may be unable to withdraw the cash right away.
  • Overdraft History: The length of time it takes for checks to clear is also influenced by the account’s overdraft history. The financial institution may delay making the cash available if your account has frequently overdrawn throughout the past six months.
  • Insufficient Funds: The payer should have the cash on hand to clear the check. It’s the payee’s obligation to ensure that the check is valid for the funds you’re expecting. In the case of a check deposit that is later determined to be insufficient, i.e the creditor’s account balance isn’t enough to cover the check, the bank may reverse the money.

What Are The Quickest Ways To Access Money From Checks?

In case you need money immediately, you will want to think about how long it will take for the check to be credited using the various options available. Below are some methods for receiving a cheque into your account instantly.

  • Setting Up A Direct Deposit: The most effective approach to get a recurring check, for example your wage, is by direct deposit. It offers you immediate access to your money. Money is transferred from a different bank straight into your account when you create a direct deposit. After the first deposit, your bank does not have to double-check the incoming money, and it is usually available immediately.
  • Creating a Mobile Deposit: Another fast method to have your check cleared is to create a mobile deposit. Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, and Wells Fargo all have apps that let you photograph both sides of the check, fill in the blanks with relevant data, and transfer it to the bank. Mobile check deposit generally allows you to access funds the next working day.
  • Making the Most of Your Excellent Customer Status: If you are a long-standing client and have never had a deposit problem, your bank may provide quicker clearance times as a reward. If you got a track record of being trustworthy, your bank may be willing to expedite the process.
  • Using an Internet-Only Bank: You can usually remotely upload checks using a bank’s app to make deposits if you got an account at an internet-only bank, which is considerably faster than sending the check or transferring money. For example, eCheck Deposit from Ally Bank allows you to send in your checks electronically.

Is It Possible To Cash A Check If You Don’t Have A Bank Account?

It is not necessary to have a bank account in order to cash a check. The most effective alternatives for cashing a check are to do it with the bank of the check writer or at a store or check-cashing institution. In most situations, this service will necessitate the payment of a cost.

If The Check Isn’t In My Name, How Can I Cash It?

The original payee must endorse the check over to you before you may cash a check that is made out to someone else. The payee’s name should be written in the endorsement area at the back of the check. When you cash the check, you’ll need to sign the endorsement area. Some banks may insist that the payee who received the check accompany you to cash it. 

Account Balance vs. Available Funds

There are two distinct ways to verify that your money is accessible in your account.

  • The first is your real account balance, which reflects the total amount that you have in your account, including cash that have not yet been cleared.
  • The second is your available account balance, which refers to how much money you have at your disposal.

While your account balance may appear to be higher than the available balance, consider your available balance as a reliable indication of your spending capacity. For individuals who regularly deposit checks into their bank account, knowing check clearing periods is critical, especially if they have more than one bank account to manage. To figure out when your deposit will be accessible, compare the processing timeframes of the top banks.

Why Is A Penalty Charged For Incurring An Overdraft When A Deposit Was Made On Time?

You may try to deposit a check in order to avoid paying an overdraft charge, but it’s doubtful that it will work. If you’re on the verge of incurring an overdraft fee, your best chance of avoiding it is to deposit cash rather than a check.

It might take several days for the money from a check to be accessible in your account after it is deposited. When your bank charges you an overdraft fee, it only refers to the funds on deposit in your account. As a result, you must ensure that the funds will be accessible before your account is negative.

If you don’t deposit the cash with sufficient time for your bank to thoroughly validate the amount, you might be charged overdraft costs.

When Can I Use The Money From A Check That I Have Deposited?

Wells Fargo must forward a paper check to the bank on which it was drawn when you deposit it. If the drawer does not have enough funds to cover the check, there’s a chance it will be dishonored.

When you deposit a check at Wells Fargo, we use information from the paying bank to determine when the cash from the deposited check will be accessible to spend. When you make a deposit, we endeavor to share the information with you as soon as possible.

If you deposit a paper check at an ATM or a branch, we credit the amount to your account on the same day that is, if the deposit is completed before the exhibited cut-off time. A portion of each deposit is examined to see if the bank can immediately provide your check for use.

Typically, any funds that are not immediately available to you will be credited to your account during the following nightly processing and made available for usage the next day. In some situations, a check deposit might take several days to complete. This is known as a hold on your funds.

How Can I Know When My Cash Will Be Available?

The deposit receipt tells you when the money will be accessible to you, including funds that are already available, ready the next business day, or subject to a deposit hold. You may also monitor your deposits and discover your available balance at any moment using simple online and mobile tools.

If a deposit is held, you will be notified in one of the following ways: by email, by the teller, at the ATM, or via mobile deposit. When customers open an account with Wells Fargo, they are given a funding availability schedule.

Bounced Check Risks

Even if the check hasn’t cleared, you may safely spend the cash as soon as it becomes accessible if you trust and know the organization and individual that wrote it.

If you don’t trust or know the check writer, it’s better to wait until the check has cleared before spending any of that cash. Otherwise, you might be putting yourself at a whole lot of financial risk. The risks may include:

  • Reversed Deposits: If your bank permits you to withdraw funds or transfer cash out, you may have to replenish it if the deposited check subsequently bounces. If you spend the cash and don’t have enough money in your account to repay what you currently owe to the bank, you may wind up owing thousands or hundreds of dollars. A reversed deposit may result in your account becoming negative, causing all of your payments to bounce until you resolve the problem. Your debit card will be disabled, and any checks you have written will be returned unpaid.
  • Fees: You may face hefty bank charges if you deposit a bad check, in addition to getting yourself into debt. Your bank may impose potential overdraft charges as well as charge a fee for insufficient funds. You may be charged fees if you use a check to pay for something and the funds don’t exist.

What Should You Do If You Suspect A Check Is Fraudulent?

  • Avoid It: If you have any doubts about the payment, the best approach to protect yourself is to avoid accepting and depositing checks.
  • Contact your Bank: If you determine that a check is questionable or that fraud may have occurred, you can contact the bank where the check is supposed to have been issued to inquire about the existence of an account. Find the contact information for a bank’s customer service department on the internet if you’re calling about a questionable check. A phone number printed on a fraudulent check is probably phony as well.
  • Wait For 30 Days: It might take weeks to find out about a fraudulent check. If you’ve deposited a questionable check, wait 30 days before spending any of the money. Within that time period, most issues should develop. If your account is being used by a scammer or an account with no activity, you should receive a bounce back within a few weeks, allowing you to avoid debt with your bank. You may wait even longer if the payment comes from a foreign bank.

How Long Can I Keep A Check Before It Expires?

In general, a check is valid for 6 months. After that, the checks cashed or deposited by credit unions and banks; they are, however, not required to. It’s essential to deposit checks as soon as possible to avoid having your account numbers altered or the check expires.

Cashing A Postdated Check

In most cases, it is acceptable to disregard a check that was written with the next week’s date on it. However, there is a high likelihood that the check writer dated the check before the funds were available. When you cash a check, it’s important to make a call on when to do so, based on how well you know the payee.

Cashing Checks At ATMs

It is not quite as simple as going to a bank, but you can cash checks at ATMs. Some ATMs may or may not accept this choice; some will simply allow you to deposit the check, while others will not provide check deposits.

However, if your ATM permits it, simply bring your bank card, check, and a pen (for check endorsement) to the machine and follow the on-screen instructions. You may be required to have the money in your account before the ATM gives you cash. 

Check Alternatives

The time taken for a check to clear is determined by the check itself as well as the bank account’s status. However, it is generally days rather than minutes.

P2P transfers, direct deposits, and wire transfers are typically faster. If you are expecting a significant amount of money, ask the payer to send the cash by wire transfer or direct deposit. You can also request that the payer send you cash via a mobile P2P payment application. Transactions are quick and inexpensive, and there is no need for a pen or paper like there is with checks.

Bottom Line

If you need money right away and cannot wait for the check to clear, there are a few things you can do. You may cash the check at a check-cashing business (for which you’ll be charged a hefty fee). You can also open a bank account and maintain it for more than thirty days.

Make sure your checkbook is balanced on a regular basis to minimize the prospect of bouncing a cheque and ending up in the “Bad Customer” category. If you overdraft your bank account, replace the funds as soon as possible, usually within the same business day. Treating your banking relationship well may save you money in the long run by putting more cash in your pocket faster.