The Uniform Commercial Code states the laws and regulations which help harmonize the laws of regulations and sales across the U.S. It tells the banks that they are not obliged to accept personal or business checks that are more than 6 months (180 days) old.
Do checks expire?
All business and personal checks are useful for 6 months, but some banks accept older checks. Those who have an old check need to connect with the bank and verify their policy. Further, if you have written a check that has not been cashed, you may want to put a stop payment on the old check. You can then contact the recipient of the check to see if they want you to replace the old one.
Most checks can be used for 6 months but the details can be slightly confusing. How long a check is valid for will depend on the check. Business checks, U.S. Treasury checks, government checks, traveler’s checks, and money orders have different rules.
Do all checks expire?
The 6-month rule is a general rule but it does not include money orders. Let us get into the details of every type of check.
Business, personal and payroll checks are suitable for 6 months and many businesses have “void after 90 days” printed on them. However, many banks honor the checks for up to 180 days. It makes no sense to hold on to the check for no reason. If you have the check, you should deposit it or cash it at the earliest.
Treasury checks can be used for one year from the date on the check. If you have federal tax refund checks, you can use them for one year. After that, you will still be entitled to money but you will need to contact the check issuer and ask for a new check.
State/Local Government checks
Checks that are issued by the local government agencies of the state expire as per the state law. Hence, you need to verify with the state as the rules vary from state to state. In most cases, it is 6 months to one year. If you have an expired state tax refund check, you have to contact the state and ask for a new check. Once you receive the check, you need to read it thoroughly and look for the date when it expires.
The cashier check is a type of official check and there are rules surrounding it. There is no particular expiration date for the check. Many are of the opinion that the checks do not expire while many state that it has a 180 day period. The checks are backed by the issuing bank and should ideally be valid for as long as the bank remains in operation. Many banks add the expiration date on the check themselves. Such checks are usually used for larger transactions and you should look for the “void after X days” disclaimer when you receive them. If you have an old check, you need to speak to the issuing bank and ask them how they can handle this transaction.
In the case of money orders, the expiration will depend on state laws. Money orders generally do not expire but they can become so old that they go under abandoned property regulations. Read the fine print when receiving the money order. U.S.P.S money orders never expire. But it is best to contact the issuer of the money order to check if they have an expiration date or charge fees against the old money orders.
If you are wondering do checks expire, then traveler’s checks do not expire. Hence, you can cash them with the issuer or use them at home like you would when traveling. As long as the issuing bank is in existence, the checks are valid.
It is best to cash or deposit the checks as soon as possible. If you have checks that have gone past the 180-day window, you must contact the issuer or the bank about the same. Those who have issued a check that has not been cashed, contact the payee and ask whether the check has been lost or stolen. If not, you need to place a stop payment order on the check.