How long before a personal check expires?

Written by faith davies | 13/05/2017

From time to time, people may misplace or forget about a personal check that was written to them to pay for goods or services. When the check is discovered, questions can arise about whether or not the check has expired.


Personal checks do not expire; however, they do become what is known as "stale dated."

Time Frame

A check becomes stale dated six months after it was written.


Banks have the option of refusing to deposit or cash stale-dated checks.


A person in possession of a stale-dated check may have to return to the person who issued the check and ask for a replacement. Alternatively, a bank may agree to accept the check, but place a hold on it to ensure that the check clears before the funds are spent.


There is no mandate that banks are required to follow regarding stale-dated checks. Banks are free to set whatever policies they feel best protect themselves and their depositors.


It is best to check with the financial institution where the stale-dated check will be deposited to become aware with their specific policies.

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