Do Checks Expire? Definition, Example & Overview

The discovery of a blank check might raise several issues. You may wonder if the check is still valid, where it came from, if the account is still active, and other related questions.

Even though electronic payments are becoming increasingly popular, there is still a demand for paper checks. If you have found a blank check and do checks expire? we have the necessary information.

Do Checks Expire?

In the majority of instances, checks do not expire since they are financial instruments without a fixed expiry date. Personal checks get “stale” after a specific period of time, often six months after they are issued.

Do Checks Expire?

Banks are not compelled by law to cash or deposit expired checks. However, a stale check is not quite the same as one that has expired. Whether the cashing institution accepts or rejects an expired check is primarily at the discretion of the bank.

Examples of Expiration of Checks by Type

Treasury checks have a validity period of one year. Be sure to cash your federal tax return check within a year of its issuance date. State and federal authorities can provide you a fresh check upon request.

If you misplace your state tax refund or a local government check, you must contact the issuing office. Local and state governments may have their own respective expiry dates. As previously stated, personal checks are typically good for up to six months from the date of issuance, but you should not rely on the bank to observe the dates.

Traveler’s checks and domestic money orders issued by the United States Postal Service do not expire.

Personal Checks

Typically, personal checks are good for six months following the date printed on the check. However, banks may miss the expiration date or opt to execute stale-dated checks for consumers.

U.S. Treasury Checks

When it comes to timing, federal government checks, such as federal income tax returns, differ. State and municipal governments may establish their own expiry dates, so it’s advisable to contact the agency that issued the check if you lose it or if it’s been more than six months after it was issued.

Treasury checks consist of those from the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service for the Department of Defense, the Office of Personnel Management, and Veterans Affairs.

Cashier’s Checks

State legislation impacts the validity period of cashier’s checks, which might be difficult to understand. Because the issuing bank may return the check unpaid after 90 days, banks may not accept cashier’s checks for deposit after that time.

If your cashier’s check is older than 90 days, contact the issuing bank for a replacement.

Money Orders

Typically, money orders do not expire. However, the money order issuer may begin collecting fees, eroding the money order’s value until it becomes useless. Western Union, for instance, assesses fees on money orders after one to three years.

Rather than depositing outdated money orders, you may need to contact the issuer to obtain any leftover value. Other issuers may not collect fees, but they are ultimately required to transfer unclaimed funds to the state.

For specifics, it’s advisable to contact the money order issuer; the process might be complex. For instance, domestic USPS money orders are valid forever, however international money orders might expire.

Traveler’s Checks

Traveler’s checks may never expire and are always refundable if they are lost or stolen. As long as the issuer is in business, these instruments are valid anywhere they are accepted.

Do Checks Expire?

Personal Checks vs. Company-Printed Checks

Do personal checks have a shorter validity period than business checks? Technically speaking, there is no difference between these two sorts of checks; nonetheless, the danger of incurring fines is slightly higher with personal checks, as businesses are less likely to keep little balances.

Some checks contain language indicating that they become invalid after 90 days. This may be fairly ignored as an attempt to persuade individuals not to hold their checks for too long. Regardless of what is said on the check, the six-month rule applies.

Why Waiting Is Risky

There may be genuine reasons for keeping a check made to you, but it’s advisable to deposit or cash checks as soon as possible due to the hazards involved.

How can I cash an expired check?

In most instances, a cheque older than six months cannot be cashed. You can instead contact the individual who issued the check and request a replacement.

What Happens If I Forget To Date A Check?

Many individuals complete a check quickly. Most likely, you are attempting to pay for a product or service, or perhaps a bill, as swiftly as possible. The issue with going rapidly is that it is possible to neglect to complete some sections of the check.

Always fill out every box on a check for your own safety. The date is a field that is frequently left blank. If you hand someone a check that does not have a date, that person should write the date on the check the day they get it.

If a check does not contain a date, it is acceptable to write in the date that you receive the check. From this point forward, the date you selected will be used to determine the validity period of your check.

If you neglect to date your check, someone might modify the date and have a significantly longer period of time to cash it. This might make it difficult to balance your checkbook and ensure that you have sufficient cash at all times.

When writing a check, it is essential to verify that all of the boxes are completed.

Do Checks Expire?

Can I Fix A Mistake I Made On A Check?

When writing a check, it is essential to be as exact as possible. Banks will review the cheques that you deposit to ensure that they are valid and include accurate information. Customers rely on banks to safeguard their accounts, therefore when a check seems to be forged or an error, the bank must notify the customer.

This means that when you try to deposit or cash a check, they may take a few moments to review your information. One of the issues that may arise is if your check has an error. Occasionally, while writing a check, you may make an error with the name or amount.

If you would prefer not to discard this check, there is a possibility that you can still utilize it. There is one important thing to follow while rectifying errors on a check. If the error is in the part containing the dollar amount, the check cannot be corrected.

The issue with these parts is that they are all the bank needs to determine the correct amount on your cheque. If they cannot understand the precise amount you wanted to remove from your account after reviewing these parts, they will not accept the check.

If you make an error in the name section or where the date should be, you can still consider the check valid. When you need to edit a name or a date, draw a line over the erroneous text and then write the proper information next to it.

You should not worry about erasing or scratching out huge portions of the cheque. Cross out the error with a single line and write the remedy immediately next to it. There is still a potential that the bank will not accept a check with any type of error.

However, for the majority of customers, the bank will accept checks with a minor error that has been appropriately repaired. Occasionally, you will need to add your initials next to the error on the check to ensure that the bank is aware that the check has been altered.

Generally, if you make an error on a check, you should void it and begin again with a blank check.

Why should I cash a check as soon as possible?

There may be circumstances in which you must keep the check for a longer period of time, however it is always ideal to deposit the check as quickly as possible, such as:

Do Checks Expire?

When a person sends you a check for the first time, they will have sufficient cash to cover the payment. However, if you wait months, their circumstances may have altered and they may have inadequate cash in their bank account.

If the issuer suspects that their check has been lost or stolen, they may withhold payment on the check, which may result in a fine for a rejected check.

If the issuer changes or shuts their bank account, it is possible that the check will bounce, and you may be required to pay a returned check charge.

How To Void A Check

Some individuals are confused about the difference between voiding and canceling a check. When you invalidate a check, one of the checks will be removed from your register. This indicates that the voided check cannot be used in any location.

You can write VOID across the bottom of the check and then file it away. Guarantee that you are aware of the check’s number in order to ensure that it is correctly entered in your checkbook. If you do not record this, you may believe a check is missing or that anything is overdue in your checkbook.

All bank clients should be familiar with the process of voiding a check. Suppose you are writing out a check and have written $37.12 in one of the boxes. Then, when you begin to write the number on the larger written line, you record it. “One thousand three hundred seven and twelve/100.”

This is an issue, and the bank will not accept this cheque. If you expect the bank to correctly manage the transfer of funds from one account to another, you must ensure that the two number boxes are identical.

If you need to cancel a check, you have already written a check that you wish to halt payment on or cancel. This occurs frequently when individuals lose a check. Consider that you gave $100 to your nephew for his birthday.

A month later, he calls to inform you that he cannot locate the check and is unsure of what to do. You must contact the bank and request that they halt or cancel this check number. The rationale for this is to ensure that the cheque does not end up in the wrong hands.

If the wrong individuals obtain checks, they will attempt to cash them in any manner possible. If for any reason the cheque you gave to your nephew was misplaced, there may be complications if it ended up in the wrong hands.

Do Checks Expire?

Instead, you should cancel the cheque and send a replacement to your nephew. Tell him to keep a close eye on this one, as canceling a check can occasionally cost you a few bucks.

Do I Need To Sign A Check?

If you observe the bottom of a blank check, you will see a signature line for the individual writing the check. If the signature line is unsigned, the bank will not cash the cheque. If you recall properly, we instructed you that if you receive a check without a date, it is permissible to write one in.

However, it is never acceptable to sign a check that is missing a signature. The act of altering a check is a heinous offense punishable by imprisonment. When you get a check for a task or payment, you should examine the whole check to confirm that it is filled out correctly.

Since many individuals are unsure if a check will be accepted, they prefer to use electronic payments wherever possible. With the convenience of tracking an electronic payment, it is much less of a hassle to be concerned about these signatures or typos made on the check.

Essentially, if you schedule an electronic payment to be deducted from your account, the bank accepts that you consent to the transaction. If you do not sign a check, the person who gets it will have limited ability to use it.

This is particularly essential to remember when submitting payments for bills such as electricity and taxes. If you do not sign the check, it will be returned to you, and you will be required to repeat the entire procedure. Sometimes it might even indicate a late payment.

Are Checks Going Away?

If you have any interest in business or banking, you may have observed that the annual number of checks drawn is declining dramatically. In the past, checks were the most common method of payment for company transactions and purchases for the house or for personal use.

The check was a direct method for making a payment from a checking account. With the introduction of credit cards and debit cards, check usage began to decline. Now that completing an electronic money transfer is so simple, the use of checks continues to decline.

Each year, we observe that around two billion fewer checks are written. Certainly, this is a gradual trend, which raises the question of whether or not checks will eventually disappear. The majority of specialists believe such checks will eventually be obsolete.

Some firms that often operate with checks may need to adjust to the new system. More online payment processors will need to be established, and further official methods of electronic money transmission will need to be introduced.

Currently, if you want a secure check, you may obtain a bank check, which is virtually equivalent to cash. If we transition to a world without checks, it will be necessary to evaluate all of the above.

Stop Payment Orders

If the check receiver cannot be reached for any reason, the account holder may opt to place a “stop payment” order on the outstanding check. A stop payment order effectively invalidates the uncashed cheque.

Do Checks Expire?

In circumstances when checks have been lost or are at risk of being discovered or altered by someone other than the intended receiver, this can be quite valuable. Whoever attempts to cash a halted check will be denied. Several banks impose a fee for the “stop payment” function.

Old, Unused Checks

If a person possesses an old, unused check for an account that is still active, the check stays legitimate regardless of its age or whether it contains obsolete personal information, such as a prior address.

Those who possess an old checkbook should verify that the account itself is still active. When a bank account is cancelled, checks become invalid.

It is also essential to confirm that the bank information, including the bank name and account routing number, has not changed. If the account information does not match the identifying information on the check, the check may be void.


If you find several blank checks lying , you should verify the account number associated with such checks. Typically, checks with writing and a date are only valid for 30 to 180 days after the date originally put on the check.

If the checks are very dated and the account no longer exists, they are no longer valid. Nonetheless, if the account still exists and there is nothing written on the check, there is a significant likelihood that it is still valid and should be utilized.

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