Do personal checks expire in the US? Also, if I stamp the following on it:

VOID if not claimed within 60 days.

Will that be honored by most banks?


Do personal cheques expire? [Canada]


2 Answers 2


It depends on the bank. According to the Uniform Commercial Code, a bank is not obliged to pay a cheque after six months, but may do so if it wants to.


A bank is under no obligation to a customer having a checking account to pay a check, other than a certified check, which is presented more than six months after its date, but it may charge its customer's account for a payment made thereafter in good faith.

Official link to UCC 4-404

As for your second question, if you stamp "void after 60 days" on your cheque; I don't have a specific answer for that part (yet).

Update: I can find no specific rules about someone putting an arbitrary "void after xxx days" on their personal check. Businesess are alllowed to, but again the overriding rule seems to be that after six months it's the bank's choice, and you certainly couldn't make a cheque expire before six months, so I don't think that putting a stamp would make any difference. It's still up to the bank in the end.

  • 1
    "It's still up to the bank in the end." But I think the question would be, if the business's bank honored a check that was past the "void after" statement on the check, could the business force the bank to reverse the charge, on the grounds that the check was void?
    – user102008
    May 20, 2013 at 3:16
  • @user102008 this question is interesting, does anyone has an answer?
    – o0'.
    Oct 22, 2014 at 20:00

When I last asked a certain large bank in the US (in 2011 or 2012), they didn't offer expiring personal checks. (I think they did offer something like that for business customers.)

They also told me that, even if the payee cashes the check a year later and the check bounces, even if it's because I have closed the respective account, he will be able to go to the police and file a report against me for non-payment. (This is what the customer service rep told me on the phone after a bit of prodding, but someone else feel free to improve this answer and fix details or disagree; it's hard to believe and quite outrageous if true.)

  • 1
    Thanks for the answer! As a side note you can file a police report for a lot of things and nothing ever come of it.
    – C. Ross
    May 19, 2013 at 18:16
  • @C.Ross check is an obligation to pay. The obligation doesn't expire, even if the check is stale. But Check bounced because its stale is not a criminal offense (and I doubt a police report can be filed). Check bounced because of insufficient funds (or forgery, or closed account, etc) may trigger law enforcement action, and in fact in many cases does - especially if there's a fraud motive.
    – littleadv
    May 19, 2013 at 21:02
  • @littleadv Thanks for the details! There is a legal side to it, and you may very well be technically right about how checks fit into the present system of things. And if you are, it is certainly valuable to figure out the particulars. Nonetheless I think that there is a problem in that the default way checks work are by representing a non-expiring obligation to pay. I think it would make sense for (most) checks to automatically expire (after 6-12 months) - unless the payee was somehow unexpectedly incapacitated, but it should be easy to accommodate such circumstances with exception clauses. May 20, 2013 at 18:16
  • 3
    If a check is issued and the recipient claims not to have received it, would the potential existence of the old check compel an issue who replaced it to perpetually hold onto evidence that the replacement was accepted? If someone claimed not to have received a check, cashed the replacement, and then demanded that the original be paid twenty years later, long after any records associated with it would typically have been destroyed, would the existence of the check constitute a "preponderance of the evidence" that the money was owed?
    – supercat
    Sep 24, 2014 at 18:21

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