According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a personal check must be cashed within six months to ensure payment. After six months, banks and credit unions are not required to cash the check.
In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises that banks and credit unions are only obligated to cash checks written by account holders at that institution who have funds available in their accounts. The person cashing the check must show identification to receive cash. Banks are not required to cash checks that do not meet these requirements but may choose to do so depending on bank policy.
Customers may deposit personal checks into their own bank accounts even if the check is drawn on another bank, states the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Some banks place a hold on these deposits to ensure the check clears.