Did you know that the funds from a deposited check are not actually yours until it’s been cleared by the bank? Many people mistakenly believe that banks add funds immediately into your account after the check has been deposited — but this is merely the first step. MyBankTracker had identified the fund availability policy at America’s top 10 banks.

Although the deposited amount of money will be posted to your account when it is received by the bank, additional time is needed for the verification process — from banks on both ends — before funds become available for withdrawal. At this time, you will see a discrepancy in the amount listed for your 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 funds that have yet to clear.

The amount of time it takes for a check to clear is difficult to determine. The actual transaction is a multi-step process, heavily dependent on the paying institution, with several factors that could possibly delay your bank from receiving the funds. For this reason, the exact time it will take to clear a check cannot be determined until the check is submitted for payment of funds.

Note that the time it takes for your funds to become available is not the same as the time it takes for checks to clear at the bank — people often confuse the two. The fund availability policy that your bank operates on is good for most consumers because it means that you do not have to wait for checks to fully clear before getting access to the deposited amount.

Expedited Funds Availability Act: Regulation CC

The Expedited Funds Availability Act — commonly known as Regulation CC — was enacted in 1987 to standardize the hold periods on deposits, regulate the use of deposit holds at financial institutions across the U.S., and require banks to provide fund availability disclosures and notices to customers for when their funds will be available for withdrawal.

Regulation CC addresses restrictions on the maximum amount of time that the financial institution is allowed to hold your funds — which may be up to nine business days after the deposit has been made — but not how quickly your funds will become available to you.

How long it takes check funds to become available

The actual time it takes for your funds to become available depends on where you bank, the type of deposit, and even your account standing. Some banks reward loyal customers for their long-standing support, where the likeliness of same-day deposit availability increases for older accounts in good standing.

Depending on the type of deposited item, you might qualify for same-day fund availability, next-day fund availability, or even face a delay for an extended period of time. For low-risk deposits, the usual hold time on your money lasts no longer than the first business day after you deposit (and many are available on the same business day that the deposit is received).

This included deposits in cash, postal money orders, U.S. Treasury checks, cashier’s checks, certified checks and teller’s checks, Federal Reserve Bank and Federal Home checks, Loan Bank checks and government checks (federal, state, and local). Any check drawn from another account at the depository institution, or any check that amounts to less than $200 also qualifies for next-day fund availability. Electronic payments, such as wire transfers, ACH credits, and pre-authorized payments (e.g., direct deposits of Social Security benefits and payroll payments) usually qualify for same-day fund availability at many financial institutions.

Note that certain conditions must be met — checks must be payable to you and deposited in person with a banker, for instance. Some banks may have special deposit slips or envelopes required for next-day availability of your deposit. Make sure to check with your bank before making the deposit.

See the funds availability policies for the top 10 U.S. banks in the table below:

How much is available to you after a check deposit

BankWhen funds become available:
Bank of AmericaThe first $200 of the check amount is available for cash withdrawal no later than one business day after the deposit.
Wells FargoThe first $200 of your deposit is available on the first or second business day after the deposit.
ChaseAt least the first $200 of the check deposit will be available on the first business day after the day of your deposit.
CitibankThe 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. BankThe first $200 of the total check deposits will be available no later than the first business day after the deposit, usually available immediately.
Capital OneThe first $200 of your deposit will be available on the first business day.
PNC BankThe 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 BankThe 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 BankThe first $200 of your deposit may be available on the first business day after the day of your deposit.
SunTrust BankThe 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.

Cut-off time for check deposits

Another important factor to meet is the cut-off time. For the bank to consider making your funds available on the same day you deposit your check, you must make the deposit in person before the bank’s established cutoff time on a business day when it’s open. If the deposit is made after the cut-off time or on a day the bank is closed, your deposit will be made on the next business day that it’s open.

Here are the cut-off time for deposits at the 10 biggest banks in the U.S.:

BanksStandard DepositATM Deposit
Bank of America2pm local time5pm local time
Wells Fargo2pm local time9pm local time (8pm in Alaska)
ChaseEnd of business day11pm ET
CitibankEnd of business day10:30pm ET
U.S. Bank2pm local time6pm local time (8pm local time at deposit envelope ATMs)
PNC BankEnd of business day (no earlier than 2pm)No earlier than 12pm (3pm at non-PNC ATMs and 10pm for mobile deposits)
Capital OneEnd of business day, no earlier than 2pm ET9pm ET
TD Bank8pm local time8pm local time (same for mobile deposit)
BB&TEnd of business day6pm local time
SunTrustEnd of business day (no earlier than 2pm)12pm local time

Longer delays

Funds from certain check deposits deemed to be risky by the financial institution may be delayed for a longer period and put under various holds. For example, check deposits totaling more than $5,000 on any one day period and a check that’s redeposited after it’s been returned unpaid may cause the funds to be delayed. Also susceptible to special holds: if the account where the funds are being deposited to is less than 30 days old and accounts that were overdrawn repeatedly in the past six months.

In addition, if the bank has any reason to believe that the deposited check will not be paid, it will delay the the fund availability. And of course,  in emergency situations where there is a failure of computer or communications equipment, don’t expect the funds to become available immediately.

If all the funds from the deposit are not be made available by the first business day after you’ve made your deposit, your bank will generally notify you at the time you make the deposit and tell you when your funds will become available. Despite the initial holds, the deposited funds will be available no later than eight business days after you’ve made your deposit.

Clearing a check

Generally, if there are no issues, your bank should receive the funds within five business days, at which time the check will clear. However, if your bank is notified from the paying institution that the check cannot be cleared, the check will be placed on hold and resubmitted within two to three business days, which will delay the entire process.

Additionally, if either account is frozen, blocked, closed, or has insufficient funds, it may cause a delay or a stop payment on the check. Unfortunately, it will be unclear to the customer why the funds have been put on hold until the check is actually submitted. To get the latest information on when your check will clear, you should review your account statement or call your bank.

Frustrated with your bank? Check out these new top banks that people are talking about:

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  • Theresa Kim

    What was the longest time you had to wait for your funds to become available? Share your stories with us!

    • david

      I’m getting tired of this bank gambit of holding funds, gonna dump Citibank and find a better solution.

      • Joel Ayon

        banks make money off of you while the funds are on hold, I’ve been told by actual bankers, all that crap about verifying funds and checking the depositor are just excuses.

        • Dave Johnson

          Absolutely true. With the technology that is available today, funds from incoming deposits can be verified immediately. There is no reason for a bank to hold funds EXCEPT to profit from it. If you believe otherwise, you have your head in the sand. Banks are legal criminalized organizations. If you or I did what they did each and every day, we would go to jail.

    • Tanus

      I recently opened a checking & a saving accounts with Wells Fargo. I deposited a little more than $30,000 using a cashier’s check issued by Chase bank. Wells Fargo hold the fund for 14 days claiming that it was new account and it did make $200.00 of that fund available immediately.

  • tltx123

    Compass BBVA, 8 days for $10,000 deposit to business acct. Switched all banking to local credit union 3 years ago. Deposits up to $25,000 available same day at my credit union..

    • Theresa Kim

      That’s a great move you made for yourself!

      A Federal Reserve study from back in 2007 actually showed that check deposits clear at credit unions more quickly than at banks — having the highest number of same day availability among the different types of financial institutions in America.

      Still, it’s important to remember that fund availability can be delayed or placed on hold for various reasons — which can be very difficult to compare.

      • Joel Ayon

        banks make money off of you while the funds are on hold, I’ve been told by actual bankers…

    • Joel Ayon

      banks make money off of you while the funds are on hold, I’ve been told by actual bankers

  • Michael Londerville

    14 business day hold with wells fargo because the check for 2000 was from a credit union. at least thats what i was told by the representative.

    • Simon Zhen

      Wells Fargo’s reason for putting a hold on your check deposit is because the check came from a credit union? That’s would be ridiculous move on their part. Usually, that kind of hold is put on checks with larger amounts or if the depositor has check-deposit issues in the past.

      • Joel Ayon

        not true !! because the banks make money on your funds while the money is on hold

        • adrenaline_jen

          Exactly! Citibank has put a 14-day hold on an ELECTRONIC TRANSFER, which shows online as having been processed at both accounts. Joel, you hit that nail on the head!

  • Joel Ayon

    it’s 2016 and banks still hold money for 10 days to verify ?? cmon give me a break, they make money of your money interest free !!!

  • Nan C Frankl

    Looking to change banks. Thinking of just stuffing a pillow with my cash. Tired of paying to use my own money!