How long does it take a check to deposit? 

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In a Nutshell

In most cases once you deposit a check, your money could be available as soon as the next business day. But there are rules to how long a financial institution can hold your funds.
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In most cases, you’ll have access to your money in just a couple of days after you deposit a check.

While you may be more accustomed to getting paid with cash, direct deposit or even apps like Zelle, you may still get the occasional check that needs to be deposited in your bank account. Whether you’re using that money to pay bills or are trying to grow your savings account, you likely want access to your money as quickly as possible.

Depositing a check doesn’t give you immediate access to the deposited funds. It’s important to understand when a check will clear in your account so you can make a budget, stay on track with your bills and avoid overdrafts.

We’ll explain how long it takes for a check to clear in your account, some situations where it may take longer and how you can speed up the process.

How long does it take for a check to deposit?

In most cases, the money from a check you’ve deposited will appear in your bank or credit union account in just one or two business days. But in certain situations, it could take up to six more days.

Here are some factors that affect how long it takes for a check to deposit.

Amount deposited

When you deposit a check, a bank is generally required to make the first $225 available at the start of the next business day. For checks larger than $225, the remainder should be in your account on the second business day.

For example, if you deposit a check of $500 on a Tuesday, you can expect to have access to $225 on Wednesday, and the remaining $275 on Thursday. But if you deposited the check on a Friday, the $225 may not be available until Monday, since Saturdays and Sundays aren’t normal banking days.

Deposit cut-off time

Banks usually have a cut-off time for when you can deposit your checks with same-day access. Federal regulations state that a bank can set a cut-off time any time after 2 p.m. for deposits made at the bank, and no earlier than 12 p.m. for deposits made at ATMs, contractual branches or somewhere other than the bank itself.

If you deposit a check after these cut-off times, your bank may record the check deposit as a transaction occurring on the next business day.

Method of deposit

How you deposit a check can also determine when your money will be available. If you deposit a check at a staffed facility, a contractual branch or at an onsite ATM, the funds will be deposited the same business day and should be available within one or two business days.

But if you made a deposit elsewhere, the funds could take longer to appear in your account. For example, when you mail a check, it can’t be deposited until the bank has received it. Likewise, checks left in lockboxes, offsite ATMs or night depositories aren’t considered deposited until the day they’ve been collected.

When you deposit a check using your mobile banking app (assuming you do so before the bank’s cut-off time), your check is considered deposited as if you’d made the deposit at the bank branch, and your money should be available in the normal one to two business days.

Type of check

While deposited checks are generally available in your account the following business day for the first $225 and the business day after that for the remaining balance, there are some exceptions. Several types of checks will be available in full the following business day, rather than only in part. Those checks include the following:

  • Checks from the U.S. Treasury
  • Money orders
  • Checks from the Federal Reserve Bank or Federal Home Loan Bank
  • Checks from state or local governments
  • Cashier’s checks, certified checks or teller’s checks
  • Checks written from and deposited into the same bank

Account standing

A bank can extend the hold of a check if you have a negative bank account. If your account isn’t in good standing with the bank, you may have to wait longer for your check to deposit. If you’re frequently overdrawn on your account, the bank can extend the hold on your check for five additional business days.

Can a bank stop a check from depositing?

Federal regulations have six exceptions that allow financial institutions to extend the timeline of a check on hold.

  • Checks deposited into new accounts (opened 30 or fewer days previously)
  • Checks that are $5,525 or greater (though only for the amount after the initial $5,525)
  • Redeposited checks
  • Checks deposited into accounts that have been repeatedly overdrawn
  • Checks written from accounts that the bank doubts it can collect from
  • Checks deposited under some emergency situations

Banks can generally delay deposit on a check for up to five additional business days. For checks written from and deposited into the same bank, the bank can only extend the hold for one additional business day.

As far as checks deposited in ATMs that your bank doesn’t own, an extension of up to six additional days is allowed. If your bank decides to extend the hold on a check, it must let you know and tell you when the funds will be available.

What are some ways to get a check to clear faster?

When you’re depositing a check into your bank account, you may want access to the money quickly. Luckily, in situations where you want or need fast access, there may be ways to speed up the deposit.

First, be sure to deposit your check before your bank’s cut-off time. Banks may have cut-off times as early as 2 p.m. for onsite deposits and 12 p.m. for other deposits. But major banks often have much later cut-off times, giving you more flexibility for when you deposit your check.

You may also be able to access your money more quickly depending on the deposit method. If you deposit your check via the bank’s mobile app or at the bank branch, the money should be available more quickly than if you deposited it via mail or an offsite ATM.

If your check exceeds $225, you may also access your money more quickly by cashing the check and depositing the cash itself into your account. While banks can hold the cash for a short period, they generally must make the entire amount available the next business day. If you simply deposited the check, you may only have access to $225 the next business day.

Some traditional and online banks may also allow you to access check deposits even faster, though they may charge a fee.

What’s next?

If you’re depositing a check into your bank account, it’s important to understand just how quickly you’ll have access to the money. Checks usually deposit most quickly when both parties’ accounts are in good standing and you use either a mobile or in-person deposit.

Check deposit rules and bank guidelines are also important to know when you’re writing a check. Depending on when the recipient cashes a check, the money may not come out of your account immediately. You’ll want to make sure you aren’t caught off guard and have enough money in your account to cover the check.

You may also decide to avoid checks altogether. Payments and money transfers via apps like Venmo and Zelle have become increasingly popular because they allow you to quickly receive and send money digitally.

About the author: Erin Gobler is a freelance personal finance writer based in Madison, Wisconsin. Erin studied journalism and political science at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and began writing full-time after a seven-year caree… Read more.