Is there a limit on the dollar amount of a personal check?


5 Answers 5


Because of the way checks are processed, you can't write a check for $100 million or more:


The field used for 'amount' has 10 digits, so anything at/above 10^10 cents (which would require 11 digits) can't be processed, at least not by normal means.

  • 25
    So I guess I need to write two different checks for my island.
    – MrChrister
    Commented Jan 26, 2011 at 17:03
  • 2
    Physically huge checks, like from Ed McMahon or the lottery, are processed on special equipment that can handle trillion dollar-plus amounts: assets.nydailynews.com/img/2009/06/07/alg_cowboy_lotto.jpg
    – bstpierre
    Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 20:33
  • 9
    I think the key here however is "automated processing" However, there is no reason that a check has to be automatically processed. I can't imagine a situation in which a check for only $90 million isn't going to cause the depositing bank to directly call the issuing bank anyway. Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 18:50
  • 2
    It is possible to write a personal check for more than $100 million and have it accepted, for example Harold Hamm's $974 million and change divorce settlement check: money.cnn.com/2015/01/09/luxury/…
    – jamesqf
    Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 17:09

Like the old American Express commercial: "no preset spending limit".

It is really up to the bank(s) in question how big a cheque they are willing to honour.

A larger amount would likely be held longer by a receiving institution to ensure that it cleared properly, but nothing written in law (in Canada, that I am aware of).


As long as someone is willing to take it, you can write it! I personally wrote a check for a new car. The dealership didn't bat an eye.


Not really. A bank will honor a million dollar check if there are funds there to let it clear.


Many businesses will request that you get a bank-issued check for large amounts of money. The exception is often in cases where you're not going anywhere: you can write a 50,000 check for a deposit on a new house, and you'll never have a problem, but a car dealer will probably request a counter check for the same sum.

  • When I bought a house the escrow agent would not take a personal check and for the earnest money deposit. Commented May 12, 2017 at 18:20
  • I've bought cars with personal checks. But I think the dealer also ran my credit, so a) they knew I probably wasn't a scammer and b) they had a ss# to create a loan against if the check did bounce (I believe there was something in the paperwork that allowed such a loan to be created in such a circumstance).
    – stannius
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 21:03

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