How long before a personal check expires?

Written by faith davies
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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.

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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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