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Stale dating checks

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia's rules and conditions for cheques (2014: Section 1.7.6 'Dishonour of cheques') clearly state that a cheque will be dishonoured if it is presented before the post-date as written on the cheque for the reason that, '..cheque bears a date that is in the future.

This is known as a post-dated cheque and it cannot be paid until that date arrives.' While this is a sound interpretation of Australian Commonwealth law, for insurance reasons the bank protects itself from possible attack with the condition (2014: Section 1.7.1 'Using your cheques '): 'You authorise us to pay a post-dated cheque (one which is dated with a date in the future) drawn on your account and presented for payment at any time before the date of the cheque arrives.' In Brazil, the drawer may seek damages in Justice if their cheque is cashed in before its due date, according to the jurisprudential orientation of the Superior Court of Justice, as per Summary No. Under the clearing rules of the Canadian Payments Association, a post-dated cheque cannot be cashed prior to the date written on it.

The bank on which it is drawn has a right to pay it but also has the right to send it back unpaid. From a practical standpoint, most banks are not checking the date of items presented as the items go through an automated process.

And, his or her employees should know the procedures of the business for minimizing the risk of loss. a stale dated check is one that is more than six months old.

These are some of the questions for which the manager of a check cashing operation should have an answer.

However, a bank may refuse to honour a cheque if the post-date is noticed; otherwise, the payer has no right to take any form of legal action against the bank for letting the cheque be processed.

Every year, untold millions of dollars’ worth of checks go uncashed.

It’s a common enough problem that it’s been the plot of TV shows like “Seinfeld” and “King of Queens.” Check out the best checking account rates at Bankrate.

The best practice to minimize risk of loss is to not accept checks for encashment that were issued long ago.

For example, it may not make sense for a person to present a paycheck that is two weeks old or more.


  1. Stale Dated Checks. What is a “stale” dated check? How does it go “stale”? Do all checks go “stale”? These are some of the questions for which the manager of a check cashing operation should have an answer.

  2. Six-Month Limit. Personal checks don’t expire. But they do become what is known as “stale dated.” Simply put, a check becomes stale dated six months after it was written.

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