What Are the Limits and Rules for Depositing Checks?

What Are the Limits and Rules for Depositing Checks?
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Before you deposit a check into your bank account, you need to make sure you have the authority to do so and follow the proper endorsement procedures. You'll also need to follow your bank's rules regarding any deposit limits, which can vary by check deposit method, as well as understand that it can take some time before your funds actually become available for use. Plus, you'll want to review your bank's disclosures for any special rules that apply to your account.

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What Are the Requirements for Depositing a Check?

First, the check should be valid, not expired and written out to you. You must properly endorse the check with your signature and any other required notation. In addition, you'll need an active checking account or savings account for the deposit.

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If you plan to deposit via ATM, this requires your debit card and PIN, while you'll need a compatible Android or iOS mobile device to do a mobile deposit. Huntington notes that depositing in person usually requires a photo ID and completed deposit slip.

Rules Regarding the Availability of Funds

According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, it normally takes until the next business day to access the first ‌$225‌ of the deposit amount and the following business day for the rest. Official checks like government checks, traveler's checks and cashier's checks can clear more quickly than personal checks. Funds availability can sometimes take longer due to check or account concerns.

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Your bank's cutoff time and rules also affect funds availability. For example, U.S. Bank sets a ‌9 p.m. CST‌ cutoff time for same-day mobile deposit processing, while Huntington lets qualified customers access the ‌first $500‌ in daily check deposits immediately regardless of deposit method.

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Maximum Daily Deposit Limits for Checks

Daily check deposit limits usually apply to mobile deposits rather than in-person and ATM deposits. They can depend on the specific bank, your account type and the age of your account.

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For example, Webster Bank sets mobile deposit limits for business accounts of ‌25‌ checks daily and lets you deposit a higher dollar amount daily if your account is older than ‌six months‌. A weekly or monthly limit can also apply to mobile app deposits.

In addition, while ATMs usually don't have dollar limits for check deposits, you'll likely be limited to a certain number of checks per transaction.

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Rules About Check Endorsement

The check's payee needs to endorse the back of the check for deposit. If it's written out to you and another person, you'll both need to endorse it and likely be present together for the deposit, unless your names are separated by "or."

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In some cases, the original check payee may have endorsed the check and then signed it over to you. The OCC advises that you should verify your bank accepts this for deposit.

In addition, if you're depositing through online banking, your bank may require that you write "for mobile deposit only" in the endorsement area under your name. This needs done before you upload the check images.

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Deposit Holds and Check Holds

While your bank verifies the check, you can experience deposit and check holds before you can access all funds in the deposit account. Bank of America says this usually is between ‌two and seven days‌. You can expect longer holds in specific situations such as when you're depositing a check with a dollar amount of ‌$5,000‌ or more or you're using a new account or one with frequent overdrafts.

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For example, Farmers State Bank says customers with accounts younger than ‌30 days‌ face ‌nine-day‌ holds for business and personal checks – but not official or government checks – as well as for checks over ‌$5,000‌. Wells Fargo has up to a ‌seven-day‌ hold time for accounts with overdraft issues in the past ‌six months‌.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Depositing Checks

Here are answers to some common check deposit FAQs.

If I Deposit a Check, When Will the Funds Be Available?

In many cases, you'll have all funds available by the second business day after the deposit. However, holds due to large checks, new accounts or frequently withdrawn accounts can extend this time to five or more business days.

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How Many Checks Can I Deposit at One Time?

You can usually deposit as many checks as needed in person. However, mobile apps often allow just one check per transaction, while ATMs can only handle a certain number at a time. Plus, you'll need to follow any daily deposit limits.

Check Deposits at the Bank vs. via Mobile Deposits: Are the Rules the Same?

Mobile check deposit rules differ since you'll usually have a daily deposit limit and only be able to deposit one check at a time. Funds availability can be faster with mobile deposit, as Regions allows customers to pay a fee for instant access to such funds. It's also common to have to write "for mobile deposit only" on the back of checks deposited via mobile banking apps.

What Are the Rules Regarding Large Checks (Over $10,000)?

You'll likely have to deposit large checks in person since the amount can exceed mobile and ATM deposit limits. In addition, the funds holding time is usually longer. The IRS also requires the bank to report such large transactions.

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