The Time It Takes for a Check to Clear at Top Banks
MyBankTracker examined factors that determine how long it takes for your check to clear and what you can expect after you make your deposit
- Time It Takes For Checks To Clear
- Regular Checks at an ATM or Branch Teller
- Cashier’s Checks
- Money Orders
- Mobile Check Deposits
- Post-Dated Checks
- When Funds Are Delayed
- Holds on Checks
- Fund Availability vs. Time It Takes For a Check to Clear
- How much is available to you after a check deposit
- Business Day Cutoff Times
Time It Takes For Checks To Clear
|Type of Check||Time To Clear||Fund Availability|
|Regular Checks At An ATM or Branch Teller||Receive a deposit receipt with the date and time of when the check will be cleared and the hold time (if any)||Can expect funds in 1-2 business days unless it is an unusually significant amount|
|Cashier's Checks||Can clear on the next business day, unless a bank suspects there might be fraud, then could be several weeks||Can be available on the next business day in most cases|
|Money Orders||Can clear on the next business day, unless a bank suspects there might be fraud, then could be several weeks||Can be available on the next business day in most cases|
|Mobile Check Deposits||Receive a deposit receipt with the date and time of when the check will be cleared||Similar to regular checks, you can expect funds in 1-2 business days unless it is an unusually significant amount
(Note: you may be limited to the amount you can deposit through mobile check deposits)
|Post-Dated Checks||Banks will accept post-dated checks immediately and begin to process them like they would for any other regular check|
(Note: be aware of possible insufficient funds fees as the payer or returned deposit fees as the payee)
|Similar to regular checks, you can expect funds in 1-2 business days unless it is an unusually significant amount|
Regular Checks at an ATM or Branch Teller
After making your deposit at an ATM or at the branch teller, 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.
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 1 to 2 business days, at most, unless it is a significant amount.
Large Deposits Vary Based on Customer Relationship
The policy for very large deposits varies by bank.
We spoke with a banking representative at Chase Bank, 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).
Also, if John showed regular overdraft activity and had a number of returned deposits, it would also delay the clearing of his check.
For all accounts other than Chase Analysis Business Checking (with or without Interest): Wire transfers, electronic direct deposits, and cash deposits will be available on the day Chase receive your deposit.
Except when you make other deposits, the funds are available on the first business day after the day we receive your deposit.
In most cases when you deposit checks drawn on a Chase account:
- At a teller station, funds from these deposits made with an employee will be available on the same day we receive your deposit
- At an ATM, some or all funds from these deposits will be available on the same day we receive your deposit
Once funds are available, you may withdraw them or use them to pay checks and other items.
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 a 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.
Not surprisingly, a cashier’s check from the same bank that issued it is likely to deposit much more quickly that one that is issued by a different bank.
The bank would be able to verify the funds much quicker.
This is unless the bank suspects the cashier’s check to be fraudulent — at which time, it may still take up to several weeks to verify the check.
Money orders are very similar to cashier’s checks.
They are frequently bought through the United State Postal Service, Western Union, MoneyGram, and financial institutions.
When a money order is deposited at a bank, the bank collects the funds from one of these institutions.
The time it takes for money orders to clear will be similar to that of cashier’s checks — so one business day.
Like other forms of payments, money orders can be fake and used to scam unsuspecting people. So, a bank may take longer to clear the money order if it believes fraud is involved.
Mobile Check Deposits
With the ability to deposit checks through smartphones, you may expect different rules for them.
However, mobile check deposits will clear in roughly the same amount of time as a regular check deposit made at an ATM.
You’re submitting a check image for reviews — similar to what happens when you submit a check at the ATM.
Note that your bank will have limits on the amount that can be deposit through your smartphone.
People often write post-dated checks with the expectation that they’re deposited at a later time.
This practice may be used when sufficient funds are not available yet.
The post-dated check acts as an agreement to pay — with the expectation that the recipient doesn’t deposit it until the date written on the check.
Although you may think that the bank won’t process a check deposit until the date written on it the check, that’s not the usually not the case.
Generally, banks will accept check deposits even if they’re post-dated.
And, they’ll begin to process them immediately and it will follow the same procedure as a regular check for deposit clearance.
If there aren’t enough funds in the accounts, the payer will get hit with a fee for insufficient funds. Meanwhile, you (as the payee) may be charged with a returned deposit fee.
When Funds Are Delayed
In some cases, Chase may not make all of the funds that you deposited by check available by the first business day after the day of your deposit.
Funds may not be available until the second business day after the day of your deposit.
However, at least the first $200 of these deposits will be available on the first business day after the day of your deposit.
If you will need the funds from a deposit right away, you should ask us when the funds will be available, but further review of the deposit after we receive it may still result in delayed availability.
For all accounts: Funds you deposited by check may be delayed for longer than two business days under the following circumstances:
- If bank believes a check you deposited will not be paid;
- You deposited checks totaling more than $5,000 in any one day;
- You redeposited a check that has been returned unpaid;
- You have overdrawn your account repeatedly in the last six months; or
- There is an emergency, such as failure of communications or systems.
If the bank delay availability for one of these reasons, funds may not be available until the seventh business day after the day of your deposit.
If your check deposit is made with one of the employees or at an ATM and decides at that time to delay your ability to withdraw funds, they will tell you then.
If a bank decides to delay the availability of your funds after you complete your deposit, the bank will mail you a deposit hold notice.
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 5 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 two separate terms.
Even though the deposited amount may be partially or fully available to you, it isn’t 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.
How much is available to you after a check deposit
|Bank||When funds become available:|
|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 Bank||The first $200 of your deposit may be available on the first business day after the day of your deposit.|
|SunTrust Bank||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.
Wait a Few Days Before Contacting Your Bank
Try waiting a day or two before you call your bank.
Keep in mind business days are Monday through Friday, and non-business days are on the weekend.
Holidays can also slow down the hold time on your check because they are not considered business days.
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.
Business Day Cutoff Times
It is important to know what a bank considers to be the cut-off time for a “business day.”
If you deposit a check after that time, it won’t begin processing until the next business day. This could delay your access to those funds.
The cut-off times can vary based on whether you deposit the check with a branch teller or at an ATM.
Legally, the cut-off deposit time cannot be earlier than 2 p.m. at a branch or noon at an ATM.
For most banks, the cut-off time is around 5 p.m. at a branch location.
For ATMs, it is usually later — around 8 p.m. or even later.
For mobile check deposits, the cut-off time is similar to that of ATM check deposits.
Note: Even though a bank may be open on a Saturday or Sunday, it may not be considered a “business day.” Also, remember that holidays are not business days. If you need a check to clear quickly, it would be best to know your bank’s cut-off times.
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Theresa is a research analyst at MyBankTracker.com. She is an expert in bank fees and policies, money psychology and consumer spending.