Why You Should Never Rely on Sending a Check

When you know that there is not enough money in your checking account, you might think that posting a check – stating the date in the future – will prevent the recipient from cash it out. Unfortunately, the date you write on your checks is not valid.

Most banks and credit unions consider your check legal tender as soon as you sign it, according to US law and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau . However, as Consumerist’s Ashley Keeler explains, there are still some things you can do to buy time:

In some states, if a consumer gives a financial institution a reasonable written notice of a dated check prior to receiving it, the notice is valid for six months. This means that the bank must wait to cash out the payment until the date on the paper, or until six months have passed, whichever comes first. But if the consumer gives the bank an oral notice, the institution only has to wait 14 days before processing the banknote, even if this happens before the date shown on the check.

Be sure to check with your financial institution to see what options you have. Otherwise, it is best to inform everyone involved in the check transaction ahead of time what is happening. As a general rule of thumb to avoid overdraft fees and bounced checks, think of the date you put on your check as the date you put on your check as a reference for your records, rather than the actual date when it is allowed to cash out.

Will sending the check prevent someone from filling it in early? | Consumer


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