Why Is My Bank Deposit Not Showing up as Planned?

Find out why your recent deposit is still pending

This illustration shows why your money might not be available yet including that it may take additional time for a check to clear if the bank is out of state, the check may not be sent to the processing center until the next business day, the bank may have put a hold on your funds, or a bank mix-up has taken place.
Image by Bailey Mariner © The Balance 2020

When you deposit a check or receive a direct deposit in your bank account, you may expect the money to be accessible immediately, but this may not always be the case.

Although banks are becoming more digital and tech-savvy, it may take up to several days for new funds to become available to withdraw as cash or write checks on.

It can be frustrating when your deposit is not showing up when you expected and you need it to cover expenses. Having a clear understanding of how deposits are processed and what delays can occur will help you make sense of why your deposit is still pending.

Understand Funds Availability Regulations

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When you make a deposit to your bank, the bank may make the funds available for withdrawal immediately or temporarily hold them according to the standard hold periods established under the Expedited Funds Availability Act.

These hold periods vary by deposit type and amount. In general, banks must make the funds from your deposit available for withdrawal no later than the next business day after the day when the bank received the money for the following deposits:

  • Cash deposits made in person
  • Wire transfers
  • Electronic payments (e.g., direct deposits like your paycheck)
  • Bank checks up to $200
  • Official government checks of up to $5,000 in value
  • Other ACH credit transfers

Keep in mind that for non-cash deposits, the funds availability date is different from the date when the payment clears, or when the payee's bank has successfully collected the funds from the payor's bank.

For a check to clear, for example, your bank must send the paper or electronic check to a regional clearinghouse, after which it will go to the check writer’s bank for payment. If the check is good, the paying bank will send the payment and the check will clear; if not, the bank will return the check as unpaid, and your bank will debit your account for the amount of the bad check. The clearing process can take up to 10 days. While the deposit is still pending, you're in effect spending on credit since the bank can still claw it back if the payment is uncollectible.

Banks are required to communicate hold periods to customers in writing, so take the time to review your account agreement for details on the holds that apply to your deposits.

Many banks make electronic payroll deposits available for withdrawal immediately.

Be Aware of Exception Holds on Your Deposits

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Another reason that your check or cash deposit may not be showing up as planned is that the bank put an exception hold on the funds, which allows it to hold the deposit for a period is longer than the standard hold periods established under the law.

Exceptions to the next-day funds availability standard apply to certain types of deposits:

  • Redeposited checks or checks that you deposit to new accounts or repeatedly overdrawn accounts
  • Deposits of $5,000 or more
  • Deposits that the bank suspects it can't collect on
  • Deposits made under certain emergency conditions (a system malfunction at a bank, for example)
  • Cash deposits not made at a teller

When exception holds apply, the bank can extend the standing hold period by what it deems to be a "reasonable" timeframe, which it will state in the account agreement. But in general, your funds availability date will be delayed by:

  • Up to five extra days for most checks
  • Up to eight extra days for checks over $5,000
  • One extra day for "on-us" checks (those deposited in and drawn from the same bank)
  • One extra day for cash deposits not made at a teller
  • Up to six extra days for deposits at an ATM not owned by your bank

The reason for these delays is that these deposits are considered by banks to be risky. For example, the larger a check's value, the more risk the bank would take on if it were to give you immediate access to the funds in their entirety. But banks still generally guarantee next-day availability for the first $200 of a large check, and often make it available at the time of deposit.

As of 2010, there is no distinction between local and non-local checks in terms of the standard hold periods. This means that whether your check originates locally or from out of the state, it generally won't impact your funds availability date.

Know the Business Day Cutoff

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For the purposes of next-day funds availability, banks consider the next day to be the next business day. However, most banks establish a cutoff for what constitutes the end of the business day, after which they switch over to the following business day to determine your funds availability date.

The cutoff for the business day can generally be no earlier than 2 p.m. for deposits at the bank or no earlier than noon for off-site deposits. In such a case, if you were to make a deposit at 3 p.m., your money wouldn't show up for use the next morning, but rather the day after.

One reason banks do this is so that they can send the majority of the day’s work on to the processing center so that everything can be handled by midnight. This can also apply to checks. When you deposit a check and the receipt says "next business day" or the date on the receipt is for the next day, it means that although the paying bank received the money, the check will not be debited from the payor's account until the next business day.

If a bank has already crossed over to the next business day, it will print this information on your deposit receipt. Some banks will switch over the ATMs first, so you may be able to complete a transaction on the same business day by going inside. They may also have one teller that switches over after others, so it doesn’t hurt to ask if someone is still on the same business day if you need the money more quickly.

Monitor for Bank Mix-Ups

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Occasionally, your deposit may not be showing up as planned because of a mix-up with the bank. A good way to look out for this is to monitor your account daily. When you make a deposit to your account, it should show up in your account history, even if the funds are not immediately available to you.

Occasionally, a deposit may accidentally post in the wrong amount, or in rare cases, to someone else's account. When this happens, you will see an incorrect record of the deposit—or no record at all—when you access your account online.

Contact the bank and find out what happened and remediate the issue. Your account agreement will inform you of how long you have to notify the bank about errors. In general, you have 30 days from the statement date to alert the bank to a discrepancy in your account.

Until the deposit clears, keep your deposit receipt so that you have proof of the deposit in case it goes missing. If the bank still can't confirm that you made the deposit, you may need to obtain a copy of the front and back of the check from the payor and present it to the bank to work out a solution.

Updated by Rachel Morgan Cautero.

Article Sources

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  2. HelpWithMyBank.gov "Answers About Funds Availability: I Opened a New Checking Account, but the Bank Will Not Let Me Withdraw My Funds Immediately." Accessed April 2, 2020.

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  4. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. "Depository Services." Accessed April 2, 2020.

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