How long is a check good for?


Quick Answer

Banks do not have to honor checks that are more than 180 days old. However, banks have the option of honoring a check older than 180 days.

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Full Answer

Commercial checks sometimes have instructions on them limiting their validity. The check writer's bank does not usually honor checks beyond their valid date. Government checks are valid one year past their issue date. These include Social Security checks and tax refunds.

When a commercial or government check is not cashed within the appropriate period, the money goes to the state's unclaimed funds department. People who find expired checks can contact the unclaimed funds department to get the money to which they are entitled.

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