I absolutely hate when I do things like this. I had a clean up day and ended up coming across a lot of interesting stuff I had stored for years. While that was fun to see, I also came across a few items that didn’t make me happy. Among all the stuff, I found 5 checks that I must have tucked away and forgotten to cash. All are just under a year old and so I’m left with the question of whether or not to try and cash them.
Two of the checks have “expired” so to speak. They had a 6 month time period they needed to be cashed. One is for $25 and the other for $47. The problem is that the expiration date on a check doesn’t automatically stop it from being processed. The issuer needs to leave instructions with its bank to adhere strictly to the expiration dates in order for it to be stopped without question. If this instruction hasn’t been made, however, there is a possibility that the check will still be paid. So it becomes whether the amount of the check is worth the risk that it may not be cashed and returned (which is a $20 fee at my bank).
The other three also pose a risk / reward dilemma. Two of the checks are rather small (under $10) and if they are returned for any reason, it will cost me more in returned check fees than I would get for cashing them. I’m leaning on letting those just go.
The other one is for a couple hundred dollars and seems the one out of the five that would be worth the risk of trying to cash. The problem is that even if a check doesn’t have an expiration date on it, in most states under the Uniform Commercial Code, a bank doesn’t have to cash it if it is more than six months old. Others say that checks are generally accepted by banks as long as they are under a year old. What to do?
I’m tempted to try and cash them all as an experiment and see what happens, but if they all failed I would be bummed getting a $100 return check charge (especially since I hate paying banks money when I’m lending it to them). I’m curious what your strategy would be with these checks knowing that any that was returned would cost you $20.