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  Home >> Checks/Money Orders >> Checks You Received  
Paycheck Expiration

Do paychecks have an expiration date? If so where is it on the check?

Unless there is a separate agreement with the bank that the checks are drawn on, paychecks have three stages of validity. Ideally, of course, you should always cash your paycheck (direct deposit is preferable to checks) as soon as possible.

Checks (all checks except those issued by the government) generally are subject to the Uniform Commercial Code. That law states that if a check is more than six months old when it gets to the bank it's drawn on for payment, the bank can refuse to pay the check. However, it can also pay it if it has no reason to believe the party that issued the check doesn't want it paid.

At some point, around three to five years after it's issued, a check won't be paid because the bank will have to turn the funds over to the state under the state's abandoned property law, so, to sum it up, unless there's something printed on the check to suggest otherwise, here's what you can expect:

  • From issue date through six months - assuming there is no stop payment and the account it's drawn on has enough money in it, the check should be good.
  • After six months - The check might get paid, or it might not. Odds are in favor of it getting paid, but there's a chance the bank will refuse to honor the check.
  • After three years (more or less, depending on state law) - The funds will have been surrendered to the state, and you will have to make a claim there to get your money.
Published on 10/18/07