A scenario:

You pay someone with a cheque for something, receiving a receipt for it. They do not cash in the cheque.

What is the ettiquette for this situation? Are you to go on living your life, mentally subtracting the amount of the cheque from your bank account, reserving enough money for that cheque to be perhaps paid off.

What happens after 5, 10, 25, 50 years? Can they "lose" the cheques, then come to you, asking for new ones, saying you owe it to them?

I can see within a year that you probably owe it to them, but after time goes on, it seems I personally see it as less of an obligation. It ends up being a very large hassle after awhile. Especially if the sum is large.

EDIT: as asked for in the comments, my country is Canada.

  • 3
    You need to specify a country - different countries will have different laws about this. – curiousdannii Jul 2 '15 at 7:25
  • To play it safe, you could always issue a "stop payment" after a certain amount of time has passed. – barrycarter Jul 3 '15 at 3:02

Checks actually have a limited lifespan before the bank no longer has to honor them, which simplifies this question. After about 6 months you assume that check won't be cashed. If they find it after that, you write them a new check. If they don't, you really should pester them to do so.

  • The trouble is that it is in the bank's discretion to honor the check. Many won't, but I'd hate to risk being overdrawn because one decided to. – JohnFx Jul 2 '15 at 16:37
  • Usual practice is to have them mail you the old check so you can void it s=and replace it with the new check. If they can't find it, you can tell your bank not to honor the old check; there is usually a fee for that service. – keshlam Jul 2 '15 at 17:31
  • Thank you, this is helpful! I will accept this as the answer for now, but anyone else with more details can be free to leave another answer. – user30029 Jul 2 '15 at 22:47
  • Actually I do not understand. Giving someone a check (w/ receipt) is as good as giving them greenback (w/ receipt). Not cashing the check seems to me the same like losing the hard money. How could the one giving the check be responsible? – Ghanima Jul 2 '15 at 23:17
  • 1
    @ghanima: correct, but the honorable thing to do -- since they deserve the money and it costs little or nothing -- is to replace the elapsed check with a new one. – keshlam Jul 3 '15 at 2:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.