Because it is important to know the rules for managing these means of payment to avoid problems!
Indeed, the validity of a check or a checkbook can vary according to several criteria.
And if we are wrong on one of them, we can end up with costs or financial problems.
So to avoid any worries, I asked my friend Pierre who is a banker to explain to me how it works.
Discover what is the validity period of a check and a checkbook. Look :
Before telling you how long a check is valid for, a reminder of how this means of payment works.
A check is a financial document that can be used for 2 things:
– Either to pay for a consumer good (at a merchant for example)
– Either to transfer money from one bank account to another
For the check to be valid, you must respect 4 mandatory information:
– Write the amount of the transaction in numbers and in words. Knowing that it is the written amount that is the most important in the event of a dispute.
– Write the name of the beneficiary of the check.
– Write the date of issue of the check.
– Sign the check otherwise it has no value.
The payee of the check must then deposit the check at their bank to obtain payment.
For the check to be cashed, the beneficiary must always sign it on the back.
The amount of the check is then deducted from the bank account of the issuer (the person who wrote the check).
A check issued in France is valid for 1 year and 8 days
In France, a check is valid for 1 year and 8 days from its date of issue.
Let’s take a concrete example to understand better:
Imagine that I give you a check for €100 made out on January 1, 2023.
Well that means the check is valid until January 9, 2023, 12 months and 8 days later.
The 12 months correspond to the period of validity of the check.
The additional 8 days are linked to the duration of its collection.
That is to say the administrative time that banks need to process it.
It’s clear ?
The period of validity varies according to the place where it is issued
I told you above that the normal period of validity of a check was 1 year and 8 days.
Well, this rule only applies if the check is issued exclusively in France.
If we make a check outside France, here is what happens:
– If the check is issued in the DOM-TOM:
The period of validity of the check is then extended to 1 year and 30 days.
As the administrative processing time may be a little longer, the legislator has increased the time limit to 30 days.
– If the check is issued in a European country:
If you are writing a check for a friend who lives in a European Union country, the deadlines also change.
They go to 1 year and 20 days.
– Finally, if the check is issued in a country outside the European Union:
The validity of the check is then 1 year and 70 days.
Tips for avoiding issues with check validity
To avoid any problems cashing a check, Pierre gave me 3 important tips.
– Cash checks quickly:
He advised me to cash the checks as soon as possible to avoid any expiration of their validity period.
As soon as you have one in hand, try to deposit it immediately in the bank.
Note that most banks now allow checks to be deposited in ATMs.
You know the machines where you withdraw money; well some of them also handle checks.
– Check the issue date:
Before accepting a cheque, always check its issue date!
That is to say the date that is written on it.
That way, if the date is close to the end of validity, you can react quickly.
– Make sure the check is signed and completed correctly:
Always check that the check is correctly completed, signed and dated.
If information is missing or incorrect, there may be delays in processing.
As a result, it can drag things out and stupidly exceed the validity period.
What happens if the validity period of the check has passed?
Use a check with an expired validity period may lead to significant financial risks.
I therefore strongly recommend that you respect the legal validity periods that I have given you above.
Because otherwise, this can happen to you:
– The check can be rejected and return unpaid
Imagine you deposit a check for €1000 that was issued in January 2022.
As it is April 2023, its validity has largely been exceeded.
As this check is not in conformity, it has every chance of being rejected by the bank.
Result: you have deposited €1000, but the check cannot be credited to your account!
As a result, you were counting on an amount that you cannot use.
This situation can create quite a cash flow mismatch.
– An invalid check can cost you dearly:
A check that comes back unpaid because of its validity can cost you dearly; very expensive too.
I’ll tell you why.
Already, the bank charges you a fee when a check comes back unpaid because of an overdue date.
It can range from €10 to €30 by check depending on the establishment!
But this is not the most serious. I’m going to tell you what happened to my friend Sandrine.
It’s a bit complicated, but I’ll try to be as clear as possible.
Sandrine deposited a check for €500 into her account without noticing that the check had expired.
The problem is that she was counting on these 500€ to pay for levies and another check for 150€.
2 days after depositing the expired check for €500, it was rejected since it was not validated by the bank.
Sandrine’s account has therefore never been credited with the €500. Do you always follow me ?
The direct debits that went to his account could therefore not be paid.
There was not sufficient supply.
Result of the races, they were all rejected and it cost him €80 in fees!
But the worst part of it all is that the check she wrote for €150 didn’t go through either.
It was rejected, which put Sandrine on a checkbook ban!
A bounced check registered directly in forbidden banking.
And here, I’m not telling you the costs and the time needed to regularize the situation…
You see, you really have to be careful about how long a check is valid for.
Can a check be backdated?
So I see you coming.
Reading Sandrine’s misadventures above, you think you could have been smarter.
When you had the check in hand, you could have changed the date so that its validity was still consistent.
Well never do that!
Backdating a check is a reprehensible act, even if it is for practical reasons.
If you are caught, you can pay a fine of up to 6% of the amount noted on the check.
What should I do if the validity date of the check has passed?
As I told you, before depositing a check into your account, always look at the date of issue written on it.
If you find that the date has passed, there are not 36 solutions.
Go back to the issuer (the person who wrote you the check) and ask them to write you a new one.
To reassure him, you can tear up the expired check in front of him so he knows there’s no trickery.
His old check is destroyed and in return he gives you another compliant one.
Generally, this kind of problem is settled amicably like that.
If the issuer of the check refuses to make you a new payment, contact a bailiff or your legal protection insurance.
How long are bank checks, holiday vouchers, gift vouchers and deposit checks valid for?
It’s not just current checks that are circulating.
Other types of checks also exist as a means of financial payment.
First there is the bank check (or certified check).
Its particularity lies in the fact that it is the bank itself that produces it. It is therefore secure.
As long as you have the amount in your account, you can request this type of check from your financial institution.
Bank checks are often used for transactions involving large amounts; it reassures the beneficiary.
Its validity period is the same as a current check, that is to say 1 year and 8 days.
Then there is the holiday voucher.
The holiday voucher can be used to pay for a whole host of establishments related to tourism or leisure.
It is valid for 2 years from the date of issue.
An extension of the validity of holiday vouchers can however be granted for an additional 6 months, under certain conditions.
A written request must be made to the ANCV.
If the holiday vouchers are not used within 2 years, you can request a refund from the ANCV.
Gift vouchers (Cadhoc, kadeos,…) and culture.
Gift vouchers allow you to make purchases in retail stores.
In general, their period of validity varies between 6 months and 2 years from their date of issue.
It depends on the brand of the gift voucher so I can’t tell you exactly.
In any case, it is important to check the validity date of these checks before using them.
Because once the date has passed, the gift voucher will no longer be usable and cannot be refunded.
Finally, I end with the deposit check.
Deposit checks are generally used when making a rental.
A check is given to the owner who can use it in the event of damage or unpaid rent.
Most of the time, this check is cashed right away.
But some owners may also keep it on hand.
In this specific case, the period of validity of the deposit check remains classic.
It is 1 year and 8 days from its date of issue.
Does a checkbook have a validity period?
A checkbook is the book that contains personal checks.
That is to say a series of numbered and preprinted checks with the coordinates of the holder of the bank account.
There is no validity period for a check book.
If you ordered one in 2020, 2021, or whatever, it’s still valid.
These are the checks it contains which have a validity period of 1 year; not the checkbook itself.
Did you know that you can write a check on another medium?
I end the article with an info that you may not know.
Did you know that all you have to do is write on a free sheet of paper the mandatory information to write a cheque?
Yes yes. You take a blank sheet and write down the following mandatory information:
– Write the word “cheque” at the top of the sheet
– Write the amount of the check in numbers and in words.
– Enter the name of the bank as well as the account and contact details of the drawer (you).
– Enter the date (“Do it ../../.., at …”) and the place of payment as well as the name of the beneficiary.
– Finally, sign the check.
Have you ever had an expired check in your hands? Let us know in the comments how you handled the situation. We can’t wait to read you!
Share this tip
Do you like this trick ? Click here to save it to Pinterest or click here to share it with your friends on Facebook.
Also to discover:
7 Good Reasons to Stop Paying by Check Right Now.
How to Protect a Check to Avoid Tearing it.