Is It Possible to Cash a 2-Year-Old Check?


Have you recently discovered a 2-year-old check? Lucky you! However, seeing as so much time has passed since it was initially written and given to you, you might currently be wondering about whether or not you’ll even be able to cash the money, or whether it has expired since its time of writing.

If you’re currently in this predicament and you’re a little unsure of whether or not you’re going to be able to get the money, then rest assured that you have clicked on the right article. In order to help you figure out whether or not you’re going to be able to cash your 2-year-old check, we’re going to be talking you through everything that you need to know below. Read on!

While on the subject of your finances it is vital that your pay stubs are also in ‘check’. Our paystub generator will make sure that they are.

Also read: How Do You Calculate Net Pay?


Can I cash a 2-year-old check?

Whether down the back of the sofa or in a letter that you forgot to open, sometimes we can accidentally lose our checks or even be unaware of them entirely - leading us to discover them at a far later date. When that happens and someone discovers a check in their name that hasn’t been cashed in a number of months or years, many people can begin to wonder about whether or not they’ll even be able to cash in their check, or whether the check has become null and void due to the amount of time that has passed since it was first written out.

Generally speaking, the answer to this question will greatly depend on a number of factors, as there are some banking organizations and credit unions that will accept a 2-year-old check and cash it for you, while other banking organizations and credit unions will straight up refuse as they will deem it to be too old to cash. For this reason, your best bet of figuring out whether or not you’re going to be able to cash the check that you found is to simply contact the bank that issued the bank in order to discover whether or not they will accept it. 

people looking at sheets of paper


Also read: How To Prepare Your Accounts For New Hires

Top tip: If you happen to discover, upon contacting the issuing bank, that the 2-year-old check that you discovered is too old to be cashed, then we recommend that you contact the person/company/place that issued you the check, explain the situation at hand and kindly ask them if they would be willing to rewrite the check for you. That way, it means that you will have a fresh check to take to the bank and, in turn, you’re going to end up with your money.


Is it possible for checks to expire after a period of time?

So, now that we’ve given you a little bit of insight into whether or not you’re going to be able to cash your check or not, we’re now going to be providing you with a little bit of context as to why you might find that your check bounces or simply doesn’t get approved by the issuing bank.

First things first, it’s important to note that anyone can forget to cash their check. Perhaps you received a check at Christmas time but got distracted by the hustle and bustle of getting back to work every day in January, or perhaps a company that owed you money sent you a check and it accidentally fell down the back of your sofa and it slipped your mind entirely. Everyday life is busy - which is why you shouldn’t feel too discouraged or frustrated if you happen to come across a check addressed to you that you forgot to cash at the time it was written by the issuer sent out to you. 

Also read: Can You Deposit Someone Else's Check In Your Account?

However, while it’s completely common for this type of situation to happen now and then, forgetting to cash a check after a certain amount of time can make it a little difficult to get your money - which is why it’s a good idea to make yourself aware of the law, as this will ensure that you will stand a better chance of being able to successfully cash the check, no matter how much time might have already passed since it was first given to you. 

For the most part, according to the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), it is generally considered that all checks will be valid for a period of 6 months from the time that they were first written. After that time has passed, the checks then become outdated. On the flip side, U.S treasury checks are given a little more leniency and have a period of 12 months to be checked at the issuing bank before they too become outdated. However, while this might be the case, it is worth noting that there are many banks/credit unions that will agree to cash an outdated check at their own discretion, and they will usually contact the payer to make sure that they are aware of the check and still okay to proceed with the payment owed to the person who is cashing it. 

people talking


How to cash your old check

The best way that you can successfully cash your check is to contact the issuing bank (you’ll find the name on your check) and explain the situation to them. Usually, most issuing banks will agree to cash an outdated check, but as we mentioned earlier, will often reach out to the payer prior to going ahead with it. 

calculator and sheets of paper


Alternatively, if you don’t want to go down this route, then you could also try to cash your old check by heading to your local Walmart (or just about any other large grocery store that offers cash-checking) where they will then proceed to cash the check for you. However, keep in mind that you still might be refused due to the time that has passed, especially given the fact that you are going to a third-party cash checker, as opposed to directly going to the bank that initially issued the check to you. 

Also read: What is a Paycheck

Alongside these two main options, you could also opt to simply deposit the check directly into your bank account by using any ATM in your local area, visit a cash checking store and ask them if they would be willing to cash the check for you, or even try and cash the check via online banking service PayPal. However, keep in mind that any of these alternatives might mean that you need to pay a fee for their services - but this might not always be the case.

If all else fails, then your best option is probably going to be to try and get yourself a brand new check written to you. Just like we mentioned above, if you struggle to cash your check, the best course of action is to contact the payer and ask them to write you a new check. Most issuers will be more than happy to accommodate and write you out a new check after you have explained the situation at hand, and it will ensure that you don’t encounter any additional hiccups as the check will be brand new and ready to be cashed. 

Also read: Proof of Income for a Mortgage


Frequently Asked Questions

Some banks may initially accept a stale-dated check through their mobile banking app, but it may later be rejected during the clearing process.

It depends on the issuing bank's policy, but generally, it is unlikely that a 2-year-old check can be cashed due to being considered "stale-dated."

Yes, banks have the right to refuse to cash a check that is considered stale-dated.

Some banks or organizations may charge a fee for reissuing a check, but this varies depending on the issuer's policies.

If a stale-dated check is accidentally cashed, the payer's bank can reverse the transaction, and the payee's bank can withdraw the funds from the payee's account.

A stale-dated check is one that is past its expiration date, while a post-dated check is one with a future date written on it.

Most checks are considered "stale-dated" after 6 months (180 days) from the date on the check.

Reach out to the person or organization who issued the check and request a replacement.

If the bank refuses to cash the stale-dated check, they will likely return it to you with a note explaining the reason.
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Is It Possible to Cash a 2-Year-Old Check?
Samantha Clark

A Warrington College of Business graduate, Samantha handles all client relations with our top-tier partners. Read More

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