How long does it take a check to clear?

Panna Kemenes
04.22.21
4 minute read

In an ideal world, when you cash out a check, you would hope that it doesn’t take long to clear. Unfortunately, this decision is in the hands of the banks, which determine how long this process takes.

There are several factors involved in this calculation. A check can take more or less time to clear depending on the amount of money, your account’s standing, and your loyalty to the bank.

This post will break down exactly how long you can expect to wait for a check to clear, why it might take longer than you hoped, and the average check clearance time at various banks.


If you’re fed up with waiting for checks to clear, then it may be time to try an alternative. With Wise, you can usually transfer money instantly, and you can see in advance how long it will take. You can forget about waiting around for checks to clear.

Join millions of happy customers

how long does it take for a check to clear


How long does it take for a check to clear?

On average, it takes around two business days for a check to clear at most banks. Yet various factors can delay the process and extend the process to as many as five business days.

If you want to know how long it will take in your case, there are a few determining factors that will be covered in this article.

It’s worth checking your bank’s hold policies if you want to know exactly what to expect.

Can a check clear in one day?

Yes, it’s possible that your check will clear in a single day.

This often happens when it’s a government or cashier check or if the check is heading to an account associated with the payer’s bank.

As you’ll see below, many banks offer single-day check clearance, provided there are no delays or holds along the way.

Where can I check how long it takes for a check to deposit?

The easiest way to find out how long it will take for your check to clear is to get a receipt when you send the funds. This receipt will give you relevant information such as roughly how long the transaction might take.

How long does it take a check to clear - Banks compared

If you’re curious how long it takes a check to clear at various banks, take a glance at this table of some of the most popular banks in the US:

BankTime to clear
ChaseSame day if the check is received before 11 p.m. Eastern time via QuickDeposit¹
Wells FargoFunds typically available same day if received on a business day²
Bank of AmericaSame day if the deposit is made by 9 p.m. Eastern time³
TD BankSame day if funds sent before 8 pm. Eastern time⁴
Capital OneFunds available same business day if deposited before 2 p.m local time at a branch⁵
PNCSame day if funds are sent before the end of the business day⁶

How long does it take a check to clear at banks

Reasons why your check could take longer to clear

There are many reasons for potential delays to check clearance, and they include the following:

  • Large Amounts of Money

Due to the 1987 law, sums of money larger than $5,000 will be subject to delays before clearance⁷.

In this case, you can expect to wait anywhere between two to seven days for the check to clear.

  • Insufficient Funds

If the money isn’t available in the payer’s account, then the transaction is voided, and the bank will inevitably return the funds.

You can read 'What is a voided check' to find out more.

  • New Bank Account

If you’ve only had your bank account for less than 30 days⁸, there’s a strong chance the check will take longer to clear.

  • Negative Account History

In the case that you have a history of overdrafts in your account or several bounced payments, you can expect checks you send to take longer to clear.

  • Mobile Check Payments

Mobile check payments generally take longer to clear than those made in branch.

Alternatives to checks

Checks aren’t the only way of quickly sending money, and in fact, they can be more expensive and slower than some other options.

P2P (Peer to Peer) payments are an excellent alternative. With this form of payment, you can send money to contacts with basic information such as an email address or a phone number.

With Wise, you can send P2P payments instantly in over 50 currencies spanning more than 70 countries. Same currency transfers are free, while international payments are subject to a small fee.

Register for free and send money with Wise!

If you’re looking for a faster and more convenient alternative to send money, Wise offers just that.

Sources:

  1. Chase
  2. Wells Fargo
  3. Bank of America
  4. TD Bank
  5. Capital One
  6. PNC
  7. Consumer Affairs laws - Page 8
  8. Consumer Affairs laws - Page 8

All sources checked 22 April 2021.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Wise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location