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How Long It Takes a Check to Clear and Banks That Do It Fast

A personal check typically clears in two business days. Some banks can clear them faster.
Sept. 4, 2018
Banking, Banking Basics, Banks & Credit Unions
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  • Usually two business days for personal checks; up to seven for some accounts.
  • Usually one business day for government and cashier’s checks and checks from the same bank that holds your account.
  • The first $200 of a personal check is usually available one business day after the day you deposited the check.

How long does it take to clear a check?

Most types of checks take about two business days to clear, though some banks and credit unions are speedier (jump to a list of banks that clear checks fast). Usually the first $200 of a check is made available the business day after the bank receives the check.

A business day is a weekday that isn’t a bank holiday, so here’s an example of the two-day standard:

ThursdayDay of deposit: You deposit a $1,000 check.
FridayFirst business day: $200 of the check is available.
MondaySecond business day: The rest of the check ($800) is available.

Cashier’s and government checks, along with checks drawn on the same financial institution that holds your account, usually clear faster, in one business day.

Why do processing delays occur?

In some cases, checks can be held for up to seven business days. (For example, if you deposited on a Monday, the check might take until Wednesday of the following week.) Delays usually occur because:

  • The check is for a large amount, generally more than $5,000.
  • The account has been open for less than 30 days.
  • The account has repeated overdrafts in the past six months.
  • The bank believes the check won’t be paid, for whatever reason.

Your bank or credit union should tell you if it’s holding your check an extended time. If you aren’t sure when the money will be available, check the deposit receipt or ask the teller. Even with a hold, generally the first $200 of a check is credited to your account after one business day, so you can have earlier access to at least some of your money.

For any deposit, the clock starts on the business day a check is received, before the institution’s cutoff time. For check deposits outside of ATMs, banks can’t have a cutoff hour before 2 p.m, but otherwise it varies by bank.

Banks and credit unions that clear checks fast

Some banks and credit unions make funds available faster than the two-day standard. Here are some of the larger institutions with same-day or next-business-day availability on personal checks. This assumes the checks aren’t being held for one of the reasons above.

Alliant Credit Union

at Alliant Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

Same-day availability up to $2,500, provided the deposit is made on a business day before 2 p.m. local time. Otherwise, the next business day.
This online bank credits mobile check deposits the next business day if submitted by 7 p.m. Eastern time, up to $25,000.
Bank of America

at Bank of America,

Member, FDIC

Generally next business day up to $5,000. Cutoff times are 2 p.m. local time for branches and 5 p.m. local time for ATMs.

Cutoff times for mobile deposit is 9 p.m. Eastern time if you’re in the Eastern and Central time zones, 8 p.m. Pacific if you’re in the Mountain or Pacific zones.
Next business day up to $5,000. Cutoff is branch closing, or 9 p.m. Eastern time for Capital One ATMs.
Citibank

at Citibank,

Member, FDIC

Next business day up to $5,000. Business day cutoff time is 10:30 p.m. Eastern time for all ATMs and branches.
Consumers Credit Union

at Consumers Credit Union,

Federally insured by the NCUA

Same-day availability during regular business hours.

For Consumers Credit ATMs, the first $200 of the deposit is available on the next business day, and the rest on the second business day. Non-Consumers ATM deposits may take up to five business days.
Same-day availability for first $100, and next business day for the remaining amount, up to $50,000.

Cutoff is 10 p.m. Eastern time for mobile deposits and PNC Bank ATMs, 3 p.m. Eastern time for non-PNC ATMs and branch closing hours for in-person deposits.
Simple

at Simple,

Member, FDIC

Next business day if deposited before the cutoff time of 5 p.m. Eastern time, up to $5,000.
TD Bank

at TD Bank,

Member, FDIC

Next business day if deposited before 8 p.m. Eastern time, up to $5,000.
Next business day up to $5,000. The first $400 is available if a check’s deposited at a branch or ATM. Cutoff time varies by branch but is generally 9 p.m. local time for ATMs.

Mobile check deposits made before 9 p.m. Pacific time are made available the day after the deposit.
Union Bank

at Union Bank,

Member, FDIC

Next business day up to $5,000. Cutoff time is close of business or 9 p.m. Pacific time for ATMs.

So what’s the holdup?

To process a check, your bank or credit union needs to acquire the money from the payer’s checking account. If the account is at another financial institution, the check is typically sent to a clearinghouse that handles the request.

The process can take a few days. If the check isn’t deemed “risky” — it’s less than $5,000, your bank account has been open for more than 30 days, there isn’t a history of multiple overdrafts, and there’s no reason to believe the check is fraudulent — your financial institution may decide to credit your account before the check technically clears.

If it later learns the check can’t clear — because the payer’s account is overdrawn, for example — your institution could take the money back out of your account. Be sure to read your deposit agreement and disclosure forms for more detail on your institution’s policies.

Alternatives to checks

The time it takes for a check to clear depends on the check itself and the status of the bank account. But it’s usually a matter of days, not minutes.

Direct deposits, wire transfers and P2P transfers are generally faster. Consider asking the payer for direct deposit or to wire the funds if you’re expecting a large amount. You could also ask the payer to send you money using a mobile peer-to-peer payment app. Transactions are inexpensive and fast — and unlike checks, there’s no need for pen and paper.

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