When will my check clear? This is something you may wonder about after making a deposit, since you may have bills or other financial transactions that depend on that deposited check. Find out what factors determine how long it takes for your check to clear and what you can expect after you make your deposit.
Look at your deposit receipt to get an idea of how long it will take
After making your deposit at an ATM or inside the branch, you will receive a deposit receipt with the date and time of when the check will be cleared and the hold time on the check, if any. (A hold time refers to how long the check will be placed on hold, and banks use many factors to determine this, including your account history and account balances.)
Related: MyBankTracker tested how long it took for a personal check, money order and cashier’s check to clear at Chase Bank.
The actual time of how long it will take for the check to clear won’t stray too far from the expected time presented on the deposit receipt. You can expect the funds to be available as indicated on the slip, which is usually a one to two business days, at most, unless it is a large amount.
The policy for very large deposits varies by bank. We recently spoke with a banking representative at Chase, who better explained their policy to us. The rep explained that the speed of the check deposit also weighs heavily on the banking relationship the customer has with Chase.
Let’s say Chase customer John Doe is in good standing with the bank and normally keeps a high balance in his account and wants to deposit a $10,000 check. The rep told us in this case, the check would probably clear the next business day.
However, if John normally had an average balance of $1 in his account and tried to deposit $10,000, Chase would probably put the check on hold (for up to 10 business days). In addition, if John showed regular overdraft activity and had a number of returned deposits, it would also delay the clearing of his check.
Holds on checks
In the case that the check cannot be cleared, a hold is placed on the check and it will be resubmitted for approval. This will prolong the process. Other reasons for a delay may be due to insufficient funds or a frozen, blocked, or closed account.
However, if nothing looks out of the ordinary, your bank should receive the funds from the paying institution within five business days — at which time the check will clear. But keep in mind that even if your bank is still waiting for the money from the paying institution, they can still release the funds to be available to you. This is called fund availability.
Fund availability vs. time it takes for a check to clear
Many bank customers may confuse the terms “fund availability” with the “time it takes for a check to clear.” They are actually two separate things. Even though the deposited amount may be partially or fully available to you, it isn’t actually yours until the check completely clears at the bank, because your bank may not have received the funds for it yet.
The fund availability policy that your bank means that you don’t have to wait for checks to fully clear before getting access to at least a portion of the deposited amount.
|Bank||When funds become available (UPDATED 3/20/15):|
|Bank of America||The first $200 of the check amount is available for cash withdrawal no later than one business day after the deposit.|
|Wells Fargo||The first $200 of your deposit is available on the first or second business day after the deposit.|
|Chase||At least the first $200 of the check deposit will be available on the first business day after the day of your deposit.|
|Citibank||The first $200 of your total deposits will be available immediately on the business day of the deposit. Deposits of $5,000 or less usually clear within 3 business days. Deposits of more than $5,000 usually take 4 business days to clear.|
|U.S. Bank||The first $200 of the total check deposits will be available no later than the first business day after the deposit, usually available immediately.|
|Capital One||The first $200 of your deposit will be available on the first business day.|
|PNC Bank||The first $100 is available on the evening of the day of the deposit. An additional $100 is available on the first business day after the day of the deposit.|
|TD Bank||The first $100 is available on on the same day of the deposit. An additional $100 becomes available no later than the first business day after your deposit.|
|BB&T||The first $200 of your deposit may be available on the first business day after the day of your deposit.|
|SunTrust||The first $200 of each day’s total deposits will be available on the first business day after the day of the deposit. Additionally, up to $400 of a deposit of local checks is available at 5pm and after on the 2nd business day after the deposit. The remaining funds of the deposit of local checks will be available on the 3rd business day following the deposit.|
Most banks will generally provide the depositor with at least $200 for immediate availability after a check deposit is made. Also, when you’re using your online banking to your funds, you may see two different figures listed for “account balance” and “available balance.” The available balance indicates the amount you have to use at your disposal and the account balance shows the total amount you have in your account — including money that has yet to clear.
What about cashier’s checks?
The rules are different when it comes to cashier’s checks. The good news is, it is more secure than a personal check, as the funds are held by the bank. Therefore, the verification process from the paying institution is curtailed significantly, making it possible for most banks to have the funds available to you by the next business day, in most cases.
This is unless the bank suspects the cashier’s check to be fraudulent — at which time, it may take up to several weeks to verify the check.
Wait a few days before contacting your bank
Again, it will usually take a day or two for your check to clear. But if it doesn’t clear in that time, it’s most likely due to an issue with the paying institution (where the check came from), your account history, account balance, or check amount. You know your banking history better than anyone else. If you’ve consistently bounced checks or overdrawn your account, you will have an idea of why that check for $5,000 isn’t clearing within the average amount of time.