How to Delay the Cashing of a Check

You can postdate a check if you need a little more time to receive the money necessary to cover it. The process is not complicated, but you must take some cautionary steps to avoid creating problems and incurring possible fees.

Notifying the Payee

Ask whether the payee is willing to accept a postdated check. Some companies might not allow postdated checks meant to pay a bill. If a postdated check is acceptable, ask how long the payee is willing to wait to receive the payment. Consider other payment options if the acceptable deadline is earlier than you expect to have enough funds for the check. A check is legal tender once it is written, and the payee can cash it at his discretion. If he does and the check bounces, you will be liable for overdraft fees from your bank. You might also have to pay a fee to the payee for the bounced check, depending on the payee's policies.

Postdate the Check

Postdating a check simply means writing a future date in the appropriate section of the check instead of writing the current date. This date should be the day you believe you'll have enough money in your account to pay the amount written on the check. Write the rest of the information on the check as you normally would.

Contacting Your Bank

The payee may agree to wait to cash the check, but you can take an extra step to protect yourself just in case he forgets his promise and attempts to cash it early. Notify your bank of the postdated check and ask for agents to hold it until the date that's written on the check. If you give reasonable notice, the bank is legally obligated to honor your request. Provide the payee's name, the amount of the check, the check number and your account number. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your notice is valid for six months if you inform the bank in writing and 14 days if you do so orally. When that notice period expires, the bank can cash your check -- even if it's before the date you specified.