When Do Checks Expire?

It's all too easy to misplace a check. But figuring out what to do if a check resurfaces may seem confusing, especially if they resurface months, or even years, later—perhaps well after their expiration date. So what happens if you dig up an old check? Here are the quick answers:

  • By law, banks are only required to honor checks for up to six months. Consider contacting the issuer before attempting to cash a stale check.
  • U.S. Treasury checks are good for up to one year.
  • Traveler’s checks and domestic U.S. Postal Service money orders don't expire

So what can you do with an old, uncashed check? It's always best to contact the issuer before trying to cash a stale or outstanding check. Such a call may be awkward, but it's better than imposing an overdraft fee on the person or business that wrote it. Ask for a new check if the old one is past six months old.

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