How Long is a Check Good For?

There are many instances in which you might need to cash a check, such as receiving a tax refund. But before you stick that piece of paper in a drawer to deal with later, make sure you know how long a check is good for if it’s not cashed right away.

How Long is a Check Good For?

Checks that Expire After 6 Months

Both corporate checks and personal checks technically expire after six months from the issue date. There may be alternate void dates written on the check, such as 90 days, but that’s more of the issuer’s preference rather than a hard fast rule. After six months, a bank considers the check “stale” and isn’t legally required to cash it.

Checks that Expire After 1 Year

Any check you receive from the U.S. Treasury doesn’t expire until one year after the date it’s issued. Common types of Treasury checks include federal tax refunds, Social Security benefits, and Veterans Affairs benefits. In order to get an expired check reissued, you must contact the paying agency directly and go through the check claims process and appropriate paperwork.

Checks with other Expiration Dates

There are several exceptions to the six-month and one-year expiration dates associated with most checks. The reason is because the funds attached to them are typically secured by the issuing bank in some way.

Certified Checks

The issuer’s bank guarantees a certified check, but the funds remain in the individual’s account until you cash the check. However, the bank puts a hold on the correct amount of cash so there’s no risk of them overdrawing before cashing it in.

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