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Is There an Expiration Date for Checks?

Technically, checks do not expire. Even if they are dated, they can still be cashed as long as the bank account funding the check has enough money.

There is such a thing as a stale dated check, however. A check is considered stale dated when the date written on the check is more than six months old. In this case, as long as the account is still open and there are funds in the account, the check can be cashed at the bank’s discretion. In cases of stale dated checks, the bank can actually refuse to cash the check. If this happens, the check will bounce, and the issuer will have to pay fees. The issuer cannot complain, however, as the check is already considered stale dated. The same “no complain” principle applies if the bank decides to pay the check holder.

What about blank checks? While blank checks may be special in their own way, they also have no expiration date. The important factor is that the account is still active and has enough funds to cover the amount to be written in the check.
There is one way by which one can ensure that checks are not cashed. For whatever reason, the issuer of a check can request a stop order. This means that if the holder goes to the bank to cash the check, the bank will refuse to carry out the transaction. For stale dated checks and blank checks, the stop order applies as well and should be used if necessary.

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