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What You Need to Know

Whether you hand over a check to a teller at a bank branch, slip it into an ATM slot or snap photos of the check using your bank’s mobile app, the full amount of your deposit might not be available right away. That’s because bank deposits are subject to check holds.

The amount of time it takes for the check to clear varies, depending on your bank or credit union. A partial amount can be available immediately.

After the deposit is made, the money is not credited to the bank right away, says Anand Talwar, head of deposits and president of Ally Invest Group. The check must go through a central clearinghouse operated by the Federal Reserve Bank. Once your bank receives the credit, it can make the money available to you.

“While some payments are pushed through right away, there are certain transactions that may require a temporary hold on the funds in your account,” he says.

Why Did the Bank Place a Hold on My Check Deposit?

Financial institutions place holds on checks for numerous reasons, such as ensuring that the bank receives the credit. New accounts – considered those less than 30 days old – may be subject to longer holds than established accounts.

“Although some banks do, Ally Bank doesn’t place any extended holds on new customer deposits,” Talwar says.

Banks also place longer holds on checks that are $5,000 or more.

How Long Will the Hold Last?

The Federal Reserve has set baseline rules for check deposits: The first $225 must be available the next business day, while amounts from $226 to $5,525 must be available within two business days after the deposit, and amounts of $5,525 or more generally should be accessible on the seventh business day. Weekends and bank holidays don’t count as business days.

Depending on your bank, some can give you quicker access to the money. Ally Bank will provide up to $25,000 two days after the date of your check deposit, he says. Deposits made through the mobile app include immediate check digitization.

Funds from a check deposited through the mobile app, an ATM or a branch are typically available by the next business day, says Paul Lussier, head of corporate function communications for Chase.

“We provide customers with their available balance after a deposit via a receipt,” he says. “Available funds can be used immediately to make purchases and payments.”

Customers who have opened a new account with the bank or who are opening their first checking or savings account could face longer delays.

Government and cashier’s checks clear the same day they are posted to the account.

Expect a check to take longer to clear if the consumer has a history of making overdrafts or the check comes from an account with an overdraft history or if it’s a redeposit of a check or an older check.

How Can I Avoid Long Holds on My Deposits?

To avoid the longer wait periods, consumers have several options. You can ask to get the money in cash or from a cashier’s check. Ask your employer if direct deposit is an option, because those funds are already cleared.

Depositing a check via a mobile app should also be faster if the checks are digitized immediately.

Checks also clear sooner if the person or business who wrote the check is a customer of the same financial institution, Talwar says.

“Banks have the discretion to give you faster access,” he says. “For example, if you are an Ally customer and deposited someone’s check from an Ally Bank account into your Ally account, you would have immediate access to the funds.”

Be Careful About Check Holds

Until your check deposit clears and you see the amount deposited into your checking or savings account, avoid spending the money. If the check has not cleared and you use the funds to pay a bill or make a purchase, you might wind up with an overdraft fee. Such fees could cost up to $35 per transaction.

Check your balance by calling the bank or going online and logging into your account.

Sarah Goldberg
Sarah Goldberg

Sarah is a seasoned financial market expert with a decade of experience. She's known for her analytical skills, attention to detail, and ability to communicate complex financial concepts. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance, is a licensed financial advisor, and enjoys reading and traveling in her free time.

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