When you deposit a check, the bank will usually release the funds to you right away as a courtesy to you. The bank does not receive the money from the bank for a few days, and you will be held responsible for any money that you spend if the check were to bounce. The time for in-state checks to clear in the area is just a few days, while out-of-state checks may take more than two weeks to clear. As a result, the bank may choose to put an out-of-state check on hold.
How Long the Hold Will Last
Most banks will put an out-of-state check on hold for at least 10 business days. It is important to remember that business days are days that the bank is open Monday through Friday. If the bank is closed for a federal or state holiday during the time of the hold, this will add additional days to the hold. The bank is required to notify you when they put a deposit on hold, and you can ask any questions about the length of time that your deposit will be put on hold.
The Process Cannot Really Be Sped Up
There is not a lot you can do to speed up the process to have the money available to you sooner. The hold is put into the system manually, and it may hang on even if the check has cleared. After five days you can call your bank to see if the check has cleared the system and if they can remove the hold. This really depends on how quickly the check goes through the different clearinghouses.
Certain Checks Are Flagged More Often Than Others
The bank does watch for specific things before determining whether or not to place a hold on the check. One of the things they consider is how large the check is. The other things they consider is where the check is from (such as out-of-state), or if it is an insurance check. If there are flags, then the bank will review the transaction and determine whether or not to put the account on hold.
If You Need the Money Now
Unfortunately, there is not a lot that you can do if you need the money right away. The bank institutes a hold to protect you as well as itself. It can be awful to realize that you have spent money that did not come through and scramble to find a way to pay it back quickly. Waiting until the money actually reaches your bank is just a way to protect yourself from owing a lot of money later. If it is really an emergency, you may want to talk to your bank about taking out a short-term loan as an alternative. You should only do this if you know that the money that you should be getting is guaranteed to come to you.
The Other Payment Options You Can Use
In the future, you may want to ask for payment in a different way such as direct deposit or a wire transfer to receive payment from the company. There are higher fees in relation to a wire transfer, but it allows you to transfer the money very quickly. You may also want to consider other options such as PayPal or Google Pay. These options may take a few days for the transfers to go through, but they usually take less than the two weeks it takes for a check to clear. Additionally, you will not need to worry about the check being lost in the mail. Talk to the person who is sending you the money to find out a better way to handle the transactions in the future.