How long is a cheque valid for

How long is a cheque valid for

This page was last updated on 1 May 2022

How long is a cheque valid for In 2022?

There are many ways of making payments in today’s society. The most popular of these ways is to pay through a debit card, as not only do they save time, but there are security benefits to this method as well. However, cheques are still a popular form of payment as it can be used to avoid having to carry large sums of cash around with you, which risk being lost or stolen. 

Additionally, the money will not leave your account until the cheque has been processed. This can make paying with a cheque a more secure payment method compared to other alternatives.

There are many reasons why people use bank drafts and personal cheques. For example:

  • To make an online payment (e.g., for paying rent, bills)
  • To pay off part of a loan (e.g., a credit card)
  • To pay for things (e.g., a car mot, a new electronic device)
  • To pay someone back (e.g., friend, family member etc.)

Whenever you pay a cheque, you have to abide by a specific set of rules and regulations to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

How do you write a cheque?

In order for a cheque to be successfully cashed, it is necessary for the account holder writing the cheque to have sufficient funds in their account. Once this has been confirmed, you will need to fill out all relevant information regarding the payment. 

These are:

  • the date of payment, payee (the party that will receive the money), and 
  • amount to be paid. It must also then be signed correctly. 

You then hand over the cheque to whoever you are paying it to, and they deposit it in their bank account. Your bank will then transfer the funds, provided there is money available in your account.

The newest cheque processing technology in the UK is called cheque imaging. The advantages of cheque imaging are numerous. They include the elimination of paper storage, faster processing speeds and reduced document printing costs. Most banks will deposit your cheque by the end of the next weekday if you pay them in on a weekday.

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What problems can occur with cheques?

Cheques might “bounce” if the accounts they are drawn from do not have enough money in them. If a bank spots something they think might be fraudulent, this could also make a cheque bounce. If this occurs, attempting to cash the cheque again or recouping the amount may result in some fees. 

As a result, cashing cheques as soon as feasible should minimise the chance that money will be unavailable in the cheque writer’s account.

Checking your balance can also help you avoid problems by letting you know whether there is still money in your account and if all payments have been covered so that no problems occur when money is taken out of a cheque. If your bank thinks there is not enough money in your account, it can refuse to pay cheques. Having this information on hand allows you to prevent these situations from developing any further.

The only way to find out whether a cheque will clear is to wait for the bank to process it and return an approval notice. Be aware, you risk having your money returned as well as paying extra costs if you deposit a cheque before it is approved. It is therefore advised to be patient when cashing a cheque and wait for the bank to process it first.

Do cheques expire?

So how long are cheques valid for? There is no official cheque expiry date in the United Kingdom, but it is generally advised to cash a cheque before six months has passed from the date of issue. 

Due to the fact that an old cheque might no longer be valid, the choice of whether or not to reject cheques is up to the discretion of each individual bank. Common banking practice dictates that most banks will request a new cheque written within the 180 day period.

Do cheque books expire?

The same can be said for cheque books – there is no law in the United Kingdom that specifies when cheques must be renewed or when a fresh book of cheques must be purchased. With that said, the vast majority of banks will provide them free of charge once every twelve months if requested to do so.

How can you verify if your cheques are still valid?

You can find out how long your cheque will be valid for by looking at the first nine digits. They will be written in the following format: DD MM YY – e.g., 16 09 16.

The first two digits indicate the month; the next two are for the day and the last five for the year. If you ever have concerns about the validity of a cheque, it is usually a good idea to contact your bank immediately before cashing or depositing it into your account.

how long do cheques last

How do different types of cheques vary?

Authorised Cheques:

A cheque that a person has created himself is always valid as long as he or she has the money to cover it. The four digits that appear on this type of cheque tell you that the cheque is authorised – i.e., it can be used without having to obtain permission from another individual.

An authorised cheque might still not pass the clearing process, however, if there aren’t enough funds in your account or if your bank believes the transaction could result in a problem later down the line. If this occurs, you will have to pay back what was not paid and incur additional costs as well.

In order for a cheque to be successfully cashed, it is necessary for the account holder writing the cheque to have sufficient funds in their account

Partially Authorised Cheques:

A partially authorised cheque will generally be acceptable for six months from the date of issue on the cheque. Some banks may want to see what the original cheque is, while others will accept them within this time frame regardless. 

It’s worth noting that if there isn’t enough money in your account to cover a fully endorsed partially authorised cheque by the end of six months, your bank may refuse to pay it.

Unauthorised Cheques:

A cheque that has not been authorised may be presented as soon as it is completed and signed, but UK banks may refuse to cash them after the expiration date written on the cheque unless there is sufficient money in your account. The bank should provide you with a notification explaining why they are refusing to accept the cheque. You could then withdraw or pay for it using another payment method (i.e., credit card).

how long does a cheque last

How can you avoid cheques expiring?

The best way to avoid the problem of an expired cheque is to keep on top of your finances as much as possible. Keeping strict records means that there should be no question about whether or not the cheque has expired, and it should be evident that money was there when the cheque was first written.

It is also important to make sure you have the contact details of the cheque writer so that you can get in touch and request a new cheque if there is ever a problem.

If you really want to avoid problems with your cheque’s expiry dates, the best way is to consider handling your transaction by other means. Debit cards can be a good alternative to writing cheques, as they are immediately available to use and don’t have any ‘expiry dates’. Direct debits are another way of paying for things, taking the pressure off having to handle payments manually.

A bank transfer is also a good alternative to writing a cheque. It’s quick, secure and can be handled right from your bank account. It’s also more convenient for online shopping, as you can send money straight to the website or business in question. These options will help avoid the stress of expiring cheques and also remove the necessity of waiting for the cheque to arrive and be processed.

What can you do if you have an expired cheque?

If you have an expired cheque, you should contact the person who wrote the cheque and request a new one. It is worth asking them to cancel the old cheque to show that you are not attempting to be fraudulent. If they do not oblige, you will probably need to contact your bank for help. 

Your bank should be able to give you further advice on what to do next and what the consequences might be if the money isn’t covered by other means. Sometimes individual banks may be happy to cash the cheque even though it is expired, but you cannot rely on this being the case.

If neither the bank nor the writer of the cheque are willing to help you, then there isn’t much more that can be done about an expired cheque aside from contacting a lawyer and possibly going through the court system to settle your debt between the two parties (which can take a long time and end up costing more than the cheque’s worth).

how long are cheques valid for

Conclusion

As you can see, cheques are a complicated issue to deal with. Luckily in most cases, they’re not used often enough in the day-to-day world that it’s too much of an inconvenience or potential liability when one expires. 

When this does happen, however, there are many options available that should help put your mind at ease if you are worried about how long cheques last. From requesting new ones from the person who wrote them to using debit cards or direct debits instead – these options will help ensure your money is safe and secure while also avoiding unnecessary hassle all around.

Article author

James Lloyd

I am the primary writer and author for Help and Advice, having originally helped start the site because I recognised that there was a need for easy to read, free and comprehensive information on the web. I have been able to use my background in finance to produce a number of articles for the site, as well as develop the financial fitness assessment tool. This is a tool that provides you with practical advice on improving your personal financial health.

Outside of work I am a keen rugby player and used to play up to a semi-professional level before the years of injury finally took their toll.  Now you are more likely to see me in the clubhouse enjoying the game.

Email – james@helpandadvice.co.uk

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Long is a Cheque Valid For?

There are many ways of making payments in today’s society. The most popular of these ways is to pay through a debit card, as not only do they save time, but there are security benefits to this method as well.

How do you write a cheque?

In order for a cheque to be successfully cashed, it is necessary for the account holder writing the cheque to have sufficient funds in their account.

What problems can occur with cheques?

Cheques might “bounce” if the accounts they are drawn from do not have enough money in them.

Do cheques expire?

So how long are cheques valid for? There is no official cheque expiry date in the United Kingdom, but it is generally advised to cash a cheque before six months has passed from the date of issue.

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