Need to Deposit a Check? How Long It Takes a Deposit to Clear

If you’re expecting a check soon, you might want to know how long it takes a check to deposit and clear and which banks are the fastest.

Ruchi Gupta - Author

Sep. 21 2021, Published 9:01 a.m. ET

Person writing a check
Source: Getty

The rise of payment apps and cards has reduced the use of checks in everyday transactions. However, many people still like the good old paper slip. For example, a family member might write you a check for your birthday. If you’re hoping to use the money to buy the next cryptocurrency to explode, keep in mind that it can take some time before you can access the funds from a check. How long does it take for a check to deposit and which banks are the fastest at clearing checks?

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After you receive a check, you need to deposit it so you can receive the money in your bank account. You can deposit a check in a variety of ways. For example, you could drive to the bank and deposit the slip in person. You could also deposit it at the ATM.

Alternatively, you could capture the check’s image with your smartphone and deposit it through your bank’s mobile app. When using the app, remember to endorse the check by signing the back of it.

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depositing a check
Source: istock

How long does it take for a check to deposit?

Federal rules require banks to release funds for check amounts of $200 or less the next business day after the deposit. For checks of more than $200, you should be able to access the money the second business day following the deposit. Sometimes checks can clear faster or be delayed. Therefore, the time it takes to process checks can vary from bank to bank.

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Why do banks take so long for a check to deposit?

A check needs to go through a clearing process before the bank can make the money available to you. While the standard time to clear a check is two days, sometimes it can take up to seven days or even longer.

Several factors can result in a check taking longer to clear. For example, you might need to wait long for the money if you’re depositing a check to an account that has been open for less than 30 days.

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A check deposit might also get delayed if your account has had multiple overdrafts in recent months. Large checks of more than $5,000 can take longer than the standard time to clear. The bank might subject your check to a longer hold time if it suspects fraud.

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Which banks take the least time to deposit checks?

As competition has intensified, many banks have improved their check clearing process. For example, Wells Fargo can release up to $400 of your check amount the same day you deposit it at the branch or ATM. PNC Bank will let you access up to $100 of your check amount the same day for deposits that you make through its mobile app, branch, or ATM.

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Bank of America, Citigroup, and Capital One will let you access up to $5,225 of your check amount the next business day after the deposit. At TD Bank, you can cash your eligible check on the spot if you pay a 3 percent service fee. Square and PayPal can also cash your check instantly for a fee.

Which banks take the longest time to deposit checks?

All banks will subject your check to an extended hold time if clearing it involves a complex process or if there's a problem. For example, a check with a large amount drawn from an international bank will usually take longer to clear at any bank. Also, it would take any bank a long time to process a check if the payer’s account is suspended for some reason. Finally, if you want a check to clear quickly, try to deposit it as soon as you receive it.


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