How long does it take a check to clear?

It usually takes about two business days for a deposited check to clear, but it takes a little longer – about five business days – for the bank to receive the funds. How long it takes a check to clear depends on the amount of the check, your relationship with the bank and the standing of the payer’s account. Wait a few days before contacting your bank about holds on deposited checks. (For more, see When do checks expire?)

Your Deposit Receipt

When you deposit a check, whether at an ATM, a teller’s counter inside the bank or a drive-through, you typically get a receipt that usually says when the funds will be available (if you don’t receive a receipt, you’ll need to contact your bank to check on this). Keep the receipt handy until the check clears. The funds-availability date on the receipt lets you know when it may be time to contact the bank regarding hold inquiries. 

Funds Availability

Depending on the amount of the check, you may have access to the full amount in two days. Some banks make a portion of the check available immediately or within one business day. For example, your bank might make $150 or $200 of a $500 check available immediately, or within one business day of the deposit, and make the balance of the check available in two days.

Large Deposits

Some banks may hold checks in amounts of $1,500 or higher for up to 10 days. The number of days the bank holds such checks depends on your relationship with the institution. You’re more likely to get the money immediately – or within fewer than 10 days – if you have a healthy account balance and no history of overdrafts. A history of overdrafts and a low account balance may mean you’ll have to wait the full 10 days to receive the money.

Reasons Your Check May Be on Hold

Your bank may hold your deposited check if there are insufficient funds in the payer’s account. You might also experience a delay in receiving funds if the payer’s account is closed or blocked for some reason. Banks usually resend checks with issues to the paying institution, but this results in a longer delay for the depositor. (For more, see Banking: Managing Your Checking Account.)

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