By  Updated on Wed Jul 30, 2014

Learn When Your Check Funds Will Be Available and Never Pay Overdraft Fees Again

 

A big factor when it comes to how long you must wait for a check to clear, depends on where you bank. Check clearing times at the top banks are not all the same, therefore, it is wise to understand the regulations put into place with the financial institution where you hold your money.

Learn When Your Check Funds Will Be Available and Never Pay Overdraft Fees Again

Photo Credit: Gerald Morales

Understanding how long it will take for a check to clear once you deposit the funds can help you properly manage your money. While mobile deposits have made the depositing process much more convenient, you still have to wait for your bank to clear the funds, which can be frustrating, confusing and stressful.

It’s easy to advise people not to deposit checks too close to when bills are due, but oftentimes it is not by choice — people sometimes get paid late, and in general, are living paycheck to paycheck. Being late on bills may incur late fees, and if payments bounce from your account, you will get charged expensive overdraft fees from your bank.

Available Funds vs. Account Balance

There are two different forms of verification that indicate your funds are available in your account. The first is your available account balance, which is how much you have to use at your disposal. The other is your actual account balance — the total amount you have in your account, including funds that have yet to clear. While your account balance may represent a higher number than the available balance, think of your available balance as a true indicator of the amount of money you can spend.

For anyone who actively deposits money into their bank account, it is crucial to know check clearing times, especially if you manage more than one account with various banks. Compare the times it takes a check to clear at the top 10 banks to get an idea of when your deposited funds will be available.

How long it takes for funds from a check to be made available

The following table shows how long it will take a check to clear at your respective bank. This information reflects how long it will take for funds to be made available for standard checking accounts from each bank.

How Long Until Check Funds Are Available

Bank Standard Deposit Mobile Deposit
Bank of America Usually next business day. $5,000 or more may be held longer. Usually next business day when deposited before 8pm CST or 9pm EST.
BB&T First $100 available immediately, remaining funds usually available next business day. 3 business days
Capital One First $200 available next business day. First $200 available next business day, remaining funds available up to 5 days after deposit.
Chase Usually available next business day. First $200 available next business day if a hold is placed on check. Usually available next business day
Citibank Usually same day, may take longer if the funds are a high amount Usually next business day, may take longer if the funds are a high amount
PNC Bank Same business day through a teller, otherwise funds usually available next business day Available next day. Out-of-state checks take 2 days to clear.
SunTrust Next business day if processed before 9pm EST Next business day if processed before 9pm EST
TD Bank First $100 available immediately, remaining funds next business day Next business day
U.S. Bank Next business day though a teller Next business day
Wells Fargo Next business day though a teller Funds typically available next business day

Notes

  • Business days include Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
  • Some banks reward long-time customers for their loyal support. Citibank, for instance, allows for an increased same-day deposit availability depending on the age of the account, as noted from a representative by the name of Tejay via live chat, who wrote, “The same day deposit availability increases as the accounts gets older and with good banking relationship of the client.”
  • New accounts are subject to different regulations. It takes many banks an additional day for checks to clear if an account where the funds are being deposited is less than 30 days old.

How long does it take for personal check to clear?

The amount of time it takes for a check you have written to another person to clear is difficult to determine. Factors such as when the recipient actually deposits the check, as well as which institution they bank with determine when you should see the funds taken out of your account. To plan your budget properly, subtract the funds immediately for any check you have written.

How long does it take for a cashier’s check to clear?

While the majority of banks make the funds from a cashier’s check available to you the next business day, the funds are still at risk for being rescinded. This happens in the instance that you deposit a counterfeit cashier’s check.

There is an ongoing scam in which victims are given a counterfeit cashier’s check to deposit. It may take weeks for the bank to determine that it is fake — and by this time the victim has most likely already spent the funds. When this happens, the victim is unfortunately liable for the money spent, even if it was made available to the account from the bank.

Why is an overdraft fee charged when a deposit was made on time?

You may deposit a check in the hopes to avoid an overdraft fee, but your efforts may be in vain. If you are on the cusp of being charged an overdraft fee, your best bet is to deposit cash, not a check.

As noted, it may take at least a few days for the funds from a check to be available for you to use when deposited into your account. Banks only refer to the amount of funds you have available when processing overdraft fees. Therefore, when depositing a check to avoid being charged an overdraft fee, it is wise to ensure that the funds will be available before your account reaches a negative balance. If you do not deposit the funds with an adequate amount of time for your bank to fully verify the amount, you may be hit with overdraft fees.

Choose the right bank for your financial needs.

Look for a bank that clears checks in a short amount of time if you regularly deposit and write checks. Also, choose a bank that you feel has a reputation that you can trust.

For instance, MyBankTracker.com user basstracker72, expressed frustration about how Citizens Bank failed to deposit funds into the correct account, “Doing whatever it takes to stick it to the customer. I deposit a tenant’s rent check to my line of credit, they deduct it from a random checking account when it bounces.”

If you have more than one account with the same bank and deposit a check, or multiple checks, make sure that all funds are being deposited to the right accounts, as banks do make errors. Confirm with a teller or check your online statements.

In your research to find the perfect bank, make sure you find one that will accommodate your needs. For instance, if you are always on the go and need funds to be available soon after you receive checks, choose a bank with more flexible hold times, such as one that makes funds available through mobile deposit the next business day.

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