While writing checks may not be mainstream like they used to be a few decades ago, they are still quite rampant in the financial and personal world. In this technological age, mobile and online banking have taken over and made checks feel like old relics. When you do come across a check, especially an older one, there is some etiquette that still should be followed. Below are some of the top five check-cashing etiquette you should keep in mind.
1. Give Check Writer Notice
If it has been a while since the check was written, the person who wrote it may not be prepared for that amount of money to be debited from their checking balance. If the check was issued by a family member or close friend, contact them before you cash the check to let them know what your intentions are. Depending on how old the written check is, you might want to ask for a newer one from the person who wrote the original.
2. Check Expiration Dates Can Be Flexible
Banks are not required by law to cash a check indefinitely. Each bank will weigh their risks and decide if they will accept your old check or not. Many banks do not accept checks that are more than six months old unless they have a valid routing and account number. To ensure your check will be accepted by your bank, make sure the issuer of the check has not switched their banking institution or opening a new account instead.
3. Don’t Knowingly Cash Bad Checks
If you attempt to cash a check that bounces, you might be responsible to return the deposited item. These fees will vary between banks and can double when the checks are international. If your old check is for a nominal amount and you are unable to verify the account status of the issuer, it may be best to forget the check and chalk it up to a learning experience.
4. Cashing Voided Checks
Even if an old check has written on it to be voided after a certain amount of time, it does not necessarily mean your bank will not cash it after that time. Unless the issuer of the check instructed the bank not to pay for the check, your bank will still try to retrieve the funds. Unfortunately, if the void notice was due to there not being enough funds in the account after that time has passed, you may end up having to pay if you try to cash the check. Again, this may be the time to forget about cashing the check.
5. Certified Checks Are Different
When it comes to certified checks, standard practice is going to be different than personal checks. The standards for certified checks will be the same for traveler’s checks, money orders and any other checks that are backed or guaranteed by a specific financial institution. In most cases, you should not have trouble cashing any certified checks no matter how much time has passed.
To stay safe and not run the risk of any issues trying to cash a check, it is always best to deposit them in your bank as soon as possible after receiving them. With the technology available today, you don’t even have to make a trip to your bank to deposit a check. Instead, deposit the check using mobile banking on your smartphone.