Compare the Deposit Cutoff Times at the Top U.S. Banks
Do you know what your bank’s deposit cutoff time is? If you don’t, it’s something you need to be familiar with.
While banks follow similar policies, there are variations from one institution to another.
If you don’t know exactly what the deposit cutoff times are, you run the risk of incurring non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees as you write checks and run other charges against your assumed balance.
The best way to avoid this problem is to be aware of exactly when your checks will clear your bank account.
Branch and ATM Deposit Cutoff Times at U.S. Banks
|Banks||Standard Deposit||ATM Deposit|
|Bank of America||2pm local time||5pm local time|
|Wells Fargo||2pm local time||9pm local time (8pm in Alaska)|
|Chase||End of business day||11pm ET|
|Citibank||End of business day||10:30pm ET|
|U.S. Bank||2pm local time||6pm local time (8pm local time at deposit envelope ATMs)|
|PNC Bank||End of business day (no earlier than 2pm)||No earlier than 12pm (3pm at non-PNC ATMs and 10pm for mobile deposits)|
|Capital One||End of business day, no earlier than 2pm ET||9pm ET|
|TD Bank||8pm local time||8pm local time (same for mobile deposit)|
|BB&T||End of business day||6pm local time|
|SunTrust||End of business day (no earlier than 2pm)||12pm local time|
Why You Should Care About Deposit Cutoff Times
The average time a check deposit clears the bank is one or two business days after the deposit has been made.
Most banks will allow you immediate access to a small amount of a check deposit.
The first $200 is typical, but you should know exactly what the limit is with your bank.
But aside from the general deposit cutoff policy, all banks have more specific guidelines for certain types of checks or even higher check amounts.
It’s not unusual for a bank to hold certain checks for up to 7 business days.
If you’re not aware of this, you might make such a deposit and assume all is well, then see your account hit with multiple NSF charges.
For example, let’s say your bank has a general cutoff time of 2:00 PM.
As long as you make a deposit before that time, the funds will be available the next business day.
But the check is for $6,000, and your bank requires that checks in excess of $5,000 be automatically held for up to 7 business days, or when funds are actually received from the payor’s bank.
The next business day, you happily send out checks to five different vendors, assuming all is well.
But then one by one, you receive five NSF notices over the next seven days, each informing you you’ve been charged $35 for insufficient funds. That’s $175 for all five NSF’s.
You might argue that your account has sufficient funds, by virtue of the $6,000 check, and that’s exactly how it will seem to an ordinary consumer.
But due to the bank’s cut off times policy, they would be within their rights to charge the five NSF’s.
The problem: though the check was deposited, the funds have not yet been received by the bank.
The Effect of Holidays and Weekends on Deposit Cutoff Times
There’s another factor that’s critical in knowing deposit cutoff times, and that’s the definition of the term business day.
In banking terminology, a business day is a weekday, Monday through Friday. Specifically excluded from the count are Saturdays, Sundays, and federal or bank holidays.
This will impact deposit cutoff times. Let’s say you make a check deposit on a Saturday, when the bank is open for business.
You might assume the funds will be available on Monday – which technically speaking is the next business day. You’d most likely be assuming wrong.
Since Saturdays are not considered business days – despite the fact that the bank is open for business – any deposits received on that day will be considered as received on Monday.
If your bank makes funds available on the next business day, the funds from the check deposited on Saturday won’t be available until the following Tuesday.
Added Deposit Cutoff Times Complication: Check Holds
Banks typically have published deposit availability guidelines.
But due to the fact that checks come from a variety of sources, and are often for very large amounts, virtually all banks have special policies relating to check holds.
For example, the bank might make a small amount of the deposit – generally $200 – available on the day of deposit.
The balance of the check deposit is usually not payable until the next business day.
But your bank may require extended holds if a check is large, if payment on the check is considered uncertain, or if the check looks suspicious.
Exactly how each bank handles each situation varies from one institution to another.
Though the estimated clearing time on a check is usually posted on the deposit receipt, it’s important to both be aware of the bank’s check hold policy, as well as to inquire as to when the check is likely to fully clear.
In most cases, if the bank is uncertain a check will be paid, it may be put on collection status. That’s when the bank places a hold on the proceeds of the check until it’s been fully paid by the issuer’s bank.
Below are the check hold policies of the five largest banks in the U.S. (by assets, according to the FDIC):
The first $200 of a check deposit will be available the next business day.
The remaining balance of the check will be available after two business days.
However, funds may be held as long as seven business days for any of the following reasons:
- The bank believes a check will not be paid
- You deposited checks totaling more than $5,000 in any one day
- You redeposit a check that has been returned unpaid
- Your account has been repeatedly overdrawn in the last six months
- There is an emergency, such as a failure of communications or of the bank’s computer systems.
There are exceptions for U.S. Treasury checks, checks drawn on another Chase account, state and local government checks, cashiers, certified and teller’s checks and checks issued by Federal Reserve Banks, Federal Home loan Banks, and U.S. Postal money orders, as long as all checks are made payable to you personally.
In each case, the funds will be available on the next business day.
Bank of America
Uses the exact same policy as Chase.
The first $400 of a day’s check deposits at either the teller window or a Wells Fargo ATM are available on the day of deposit. (Though they may also set the limit at $200 in certain cases.)
Other deposit will generally be available on the next business day.
Government checks, bank checks, and U.S. Postal money orders are available on the next business day.
Wells Fargo may delay funds availability for up to 7 days for the same reasons listed by Chase.
Wells Fargo doesn’t give as much detail on check holds as other banks. If a hold is placed on a check, you will be informed as to the date of funds availability.
Funds from check deposits, whether made at a bank branch or an ATM machine, are generally available on the next business day.
This includes government checks, bank checks, U.S. Postal money orders, and checks drawn on a Citibank branch.
Otherwise, Citibank’s check hold policy is as follows:
- Deposits of $5,000 or less: 3 business days
- Deposits of more than $5,000: 4 business days.
They further disclosed that if the deposited check is in any way questionable, it will be sent out for collection, and funds will not be available until it has been paid out of the payor’s account.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
This bank breaks down check cutoff policy by the amount of the deposit.
Up to $5,000 will be available the next business day for the deposit of checks from the U.S. Treasury and other government entities, as well as certified, teller and cashier’s checks. The remainder will be available on the sixth business day after your deposit, unless an exception applies.
For all other checks, up to $200 will be available on the next business day. Up to $5,000 will be available on the second business day.
Balances in excess of $5,000 will generally be available no later than the sixth business day.
Longer time frames may be required if you redeposit a check that has been returned unpaid, if the bank believes a check deposited will not be paid, or if there’s an emergency, such as failure of computer or communications equipment.
Tips for How to Successfully Manage Deposit Cutoff Times
If your bank cutoff times don’t comfortably accommodate your need for funds, there are a few workarounds that can speed the process:
ATMs usually have extended cutoff times
Many banks accept same-day deposits even after their official cutoff time.
For example, Bank of America’s normal branch cutoff time is 2:00 PM. But a same day deposit can be made as late as 5:00 PM at BofA ATMs.
Wells Fargo’s cut off is when the local branch closes. But same-day deposits can be accepted at ATMs as late as 9:00 PM local time.
Citibank’s branch cutoff is the close of business in that branch. But same-day deposits will be accepted at ATMs up to 10:30 PM Eastern time.
Funds received by wire transfers, electronic transfers, direct deposits, and cash made at either a bank branch or an ATM will generally be available on the day the deposit is received.
That’s because, unlike checks, each involves the immediate transfer of cash into your bank account.
Mobile check deposits
This doesn’t speed up the funds-availability situation within the bank.
But it’s a way to make a deposit when you can’t get to the bank.
Let’s say you receive a check on Monday when you’re at work. You won’t be able to get to the bank until Tuesday morning, which means the funds from the check won’t be available until Wednesday.
But you instead use your smartphone to make a mobile check deposit, which makes the funds available for use on Tuesday.
You should use mobile check deposits whenever possible as long as you're within the deposit limits.
With so many people being paid by direct deposit or accepting funds by electronic transfers, the complications of check deposit cutoff times may not be a critical issue for you – until it is.
One day you receive a check for a very large amount, deposit it, and forget there may be restrictions.
For that reason, you should periodically review your bank’s deposit cutoff times.
It can save you hundreds of dollars in unexpected NSF fees, not to mention the embarrassment of bounced checks.