Do You Postdate Your Checks? Here Are Some Things to Know - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Because I make most payments (like my mortgage) online, it’s not too often that I bust out the checkbook. A few weeks ago, however, I wrote a check and got a nasty surprise in my bank account. After the initial period of panic, grief and anger toward the bank and the person who had cashed the check, I did some serious digging into the regulations surrounding postdated checks. If you’re going to write a postdated check (or receive one), here are some things you should know!

What Does It Mean to Postdate a Check?

When you postdate a check, you put a future date on it. For instance, if you write a check on June 1 but date the check June 25, you are postdating the check.

Why Would You Postdate a Check?

If you won’t have the funds available at the time the check is written, you might consider postdating the check. For instance, if you’ll be out of town when rent is due, but don’t have the funds to pay rent early, you might postdate your check. However, keep in mind that it is illegal to intentionally write a bad check; if you’re postdating it with the intention of canceling it before the date, or if you know for certain that you won’t have the funds, you could run into legal trouble.

Can a Postdated Check Be Cashed Before the Date?

The laws differ from state to state, but the short answer is yes.

Once you sign the check, it becomes legal tender, so it’s 100% legal for a bank to cash a postdated check before the date on it. I postdated my check because I didn’t want to miss the due date, and I intended to transfer the funds closer to the date I wrote on the check. Just a day or two after I mailed the check, it was cashed – a full two weeks before the check was dated. The check emptied my checking account, and since I had set up overdraft protection, it withdrew the rest of the funds from a savings account. Luckily, I avoided overdraft fees, but this situation was still quite worrying. What if the check had bounced? What if this created an overdraft and I had to pay expensive fees?

Once you sign a check, it can legally be cashed – regardless of the date you wrote on it – by the payee.

Can You Prevent the Check from Being Cashed Early?

There is a way to prevent the payee from cashing the check before the date: providing reasonable notice to your bank.

If you find it necessary to write a postdated check, and you provide your bank with reasonable notice not to cash your postdated check, then the bank may not legally cash it. In your notice, you’ll want to provide information such as the name of the payee, your account number, the check number and the amount of the check. There are some caveats to this, which depend on the manner in which you provide notice to your bank, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):

  • If you provide written notice about a postdated check, your notice is valid for six months. “During that time, the bank or credit union should not cash the check before the date you wrote on the check,” according to the CFPB.
  • If you only provide oral notice, your notice is only valid for 14 days. After that 14-day period, the bank or credit union can cash the check, even if it’s before the date you wrote on it.

So what happens if the bank cashes your check despite your reasonable notice? Well, the bank may then be liable to you for damages, like overdraft fees, for instance. According to this eHow.com article, you should first ask your bank manager about waiving any fees. If that doesn’t work, recuperating your losses may require a consultation with an attorney.

What If You Receive a Postdated Check and Want to Cash It?

If you’re on the other end of the transaction, it’s up to you to decide whether to accept a postdated check. If you do accept it, you should check with your bank to see if they can process the check before the date on the check. If the person who wrote the check has provided reasonable notice of postdating to their bank, however, you will not be able to cash the check early. See eHow.com for more information.

 

It’s a common misconception that postdating your check will ensure that the money stays in your account until the date on the check, but this isn’t necessarily the case. By providing notice to your bank or just not writing a check until you can afford to, you can avoid fees and protect your money.

If you still want to take the paperless route, apply now to go paperless with your mortgage!

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This Post Has 59 Comments

  1. Car dealer talked me into post dating a check for a car…I did it out for 30 days…we’ll funds were not available then,and they were requesting I give them car back,but they sold car 1 week after I got it to a finance company..it’s been four years..now..now they are still trying to. Collect..I gave car to finance company they sold contract to years ago….what should I do?

    1. Hi Kim:

      I would explain to them that they sold the contract. You give the card to the company that has the contract and they should know this because they sold it. I’m not sure what else to tell you.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  2. My check was returned to my apts where i gave them my rent check for my rent on Fri 12-30-16 and was dated 1-1-17. Always drop my check a day or 2 in the box so they always have it for the first of the month. Well they cashed it that Fri. Now im stuck having to pay $175. extra with my rent for that and really messed me up. Was very upset and mgr said she’d check with corporate office and was still told to pay. Should i call them myself, don’t really know if mgr really did?

    1. Hi Lupae:

      I see no harm in calling the corporate office yourself. You should know that in most states, they have the right to cash the check as soon as you can give it to them. Being that January 1 was a Sunday, they probably wanted to take as many checks as they could to bank early in order to avoid having to wait until Tuesday.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  3. I had did a postdated check with Direct TV but didn’t put the money in the bank in time they took it out bout sent it back .I deposited over 1200 and the took out what I owed Direct TV anyway is that legal.

    1. The bank probably has a record of what you owe DirecTV, so I don’t know the laws in your state, but it’s probably legal.

  4. My neighbor issued post dated check for this coming dec07, 2016. But she explained to me that there is a certain fee for depositing fund for checking account. I just wanna ask if that is true or is she just making an excuse because she sounded like she’s not going to put money on it. She told me she will give cash next week without me going to the bank for encashment. That will be before, on and after the due date on the check. I want to clear this things. Please help. Tnks.

    1. If you cash the check before the date she doesn’t have the funds, she could be charged an overdraft fee. I think that’s what she’s referring to. I hope this helps!

  5. I have a question ,If some one give me post dated check ,but he give me check with wrong signature .
    So what i do???
    How i know check has been correct signature or not.????

    1. If the signature were forged, that could be an indication of check fraud. However, I’m not sure how you could really check for that without having seen their signature before.

  6. I wrote a check for 31oct, but company cashed check on 28oct. The same date that I was getting my account money transfer to ensure it cover all the checks for the outstanding bills. Is this legal? I’m in Georgia, but the company is in California.

    1. Hi Ana:

      Unfortunately, in most instances, the check becomes legal tender the instant you sign it no matter when it’s dated for. In the future, you can provide the company oral notice and they won’t be able to cash it for a period of up to 14 days. Written notice is good for checks written up to six months in advance.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  7. my friend borrow me money worth 20k.she issued me posdated check from psbank, dipolog city. last july 10,2016..but until now. she told me to pay the interest only.bec. her pesdated check. or her account have no money yet.. my question is how many months validation of the posdated check?from psbank? thank you verry much & god bless…

    1. Hi Juliet:

      I’m afraid I can’t help you. I’m not familiar with the law of the Philippines. My suggestion would be to contact a local authority.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  8. My chaque dated 22nd June 2016. I went to bank and deposited it on 16th August 2016. It is written that chaque is valid for three months. So is it possible to deposit in my account?

    1. Hi Dol:

      In the United States, I don’t think you can put a time limit on how long your checks are good for. Even if you can, August 16 is less than three months from June 22. There shouldn’t be any issues with the deposit.

  9. I did this with my old Quicken software but up graded to Quicken 2014 and can not do it but was wondering if it still can be done
    In my register I post dated a check in Quicken register called “cash Reserve” for future expenses like Birthdays, savings, bills, etc.
    my register at the balance showed minus these cash flows for future so it would show example of $400.00 but there was really $800 in checking account. I would post date it for 12/31/year so i would still see what my cash reserve was
    a Financial expert showed me this to run my business and to be safe in my checkbook. He was president of bank building corp.
    never was in trouble to not have the funds for upcoming jobs. Was like post dated check but is not used as a check. Is this possible to do in Quicken 2014

    1. Hi Terry:

      Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to that question. We’re no longer affiliated with Intuit, the makers of Quicken software. We just licensed the name.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  10. good morning sir,
    my friend he sent cheque to me but he put date 23/07/2016 on this cheque till now i didnt get? did accpt by bank cheque date finish. how many date cheque is valid after your orgnal date sir.
    kindly help me sir
    i m waiting for ur reply sir. have a nice day 2 u

    1. HI Rinku:

      If I understand you correctly, your friend sent you a check dated for today. This means you should be able to cash it today or any day after this and it will go through. Hopefully this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  11. How do I collect on a bounched post dated check? The bank said that it’s a promissory note and is not subject to lasws,of bank fraud. Sent

    1. Hi Zvia:

      I would Google the laws in your state regarding postdated checks. Different states have different policies in terms of consumer protection laws.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  12. I gave my grandson 7 k and he wrote me a post dated,check for August 15 2016. I suspect that he does not have the money and the check will bounce. I need the money. What can I do legally. ?

  13. I work at a automobile repair shop a customer wrote a postdated check I accidently deposit it 3 days early. she now wants to sue us for bad check fees. Service was rendered she could not pay account. Is it ou businesses place to pay her bad check fees? she did not notify her bank on post dated check to hold. thank you advise please

    1. Hi Deb:

      The rights and responsibilities of the business vs. the consumer in this situation depend on the laws of the state in which you’re located. It’s really difficult to say in the comments what the specific answer is. I would try Google and see what you can come up with for your area.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  14. I had a contract with a car dealerships Auto Nation Fiat in Roseville California, In good faith I trusted this dealership. My check was not supposed to be cashed for 21 days. I find out they deposited the very next day. Then on top of that they lied and said my check was sold. The check was paid by my credit union it was for $ 1000.00 down payment. Do I have the ability to take legal action against this business?

    1. Hi Ira:

      In terms of whether you have a case for legal action, you’re probably best served speaking with a lawyer. I don’t know whether you would or not and then the laws might be different depending on different states. Good luck!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  15. Providing notice to your bank means placing a stop payment on the post dated check and having the stop payment expire on the date of the check, this can also be subject to a stop payment fee. The best advise anyone can give you when dealing with a post dated check is did not write or accept them, because in most cases the funds are not available in the account to pay the check. If you read your bank’s account agreement it will say “we are not responsible if you write a post dated check and it clears before the date on the check”.

  16. We are looking to hire a post-pardom nurse. She wants 10 days pay in advance which I’m not comfy with. Anything can change in the next 8-weeks and she can run away with our money. Was thinking of post-dating checks. Any other suggestions?

    1. Hi Dani:

      The best advice I can give you is to talk to an accountant. They might have other suggestions.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  17. Just today I for the first time post dated a check accidentally. I have the money to cover it but it occurred to me doing something else I had written 17 instead if 11. This is for a shell bill. I’m hoping it won’t get there til then but I can’t retrieve it out of the lockbox. I’m very upset that the check won’t be accepted by Shell and I sure hope my bank accepts it. I have very good credit I don’t want a mark.

  18. Good post, thank you! I post dated a rent check as well a while back and learned the hard way, that it’s in vain. They cashed it anyways! I learned my lesson. I wanted to post date a check as a gift, and after reading this article and conversing with another individual, I have decided to just write a smaller check haha! Thanks again!

  19. Will I be able to issue a post dated cheque to a person if there is insufficient funds just yet in my account? For example – I have only $5,000 remaining in my account and I issue a $30,000 today (Nov 5) to a business partner dated for Nov 25, will payee be able to encash this? Will it not bounced? How many days do I need to fund my account again to avoid bounced cheque?

    1. Good morning, Jo. I recommend that you speak with your bank about this situation. As the article explains, you could potentially give written notice to your bank, allowing you to post date it up to six months in the future. Again, though, speak with them about their policies on the matter before going forward. Best of luck to you.

  20. Meliissa, You should be able to, but as indicated above, you should verify with your bank first.
    I would however wait until the date written on a check.

    In Canada, things are different and they are on the lookout to NOT cash in post dated checks ‘early’. I frankly don’t see the point in writing a post dated check if the date isn’t going to be honored. If I write it for a later date, I’m saying ‘On that day, the money will be there for sure, not before then’. A check is illegal when you intend to cancel prior to it being cashed in or you’re writing it with full knowledge that it will bounce.

    1. Technically, you probably could, Meliissa. But if you’ve agreed to cashing it in the future, you should probably hold yourself to that agreement.

  21. Wrote a post dated check in MN and the person cashed it early. Per MN law I’m not legally responsible for a bad check. However he caused my account to bounce. Would he then be responsible for the overdraft fees that it caused or should I just pay him the money and be done with it.

    1. Hello! You will certainly need to speak with your bank about this situation. Please let us know how it goes and best of luck!

  22. It appears you misunderstood Lanovas’ query. Cancelled checks would probably be fine, but postdated checks are something completely different. I would also be very wary of possibly paying a full years’ rent in advance. Since postdated checks can usually be cashed immediately, it sounds like a gamble I would be afraid to take.

  23. I’m renting a new residence and the Realtor is asking for 12 postdated checks written to the owner for the term of the lease. Is this legal? Does it sound sketchy? I’ve never had a Realtor ask me to do this before. CanAm Realty in Chandler, Az doesn’t have any BBB ratings so I’m a bit apprehensive. I have to be out of my current place in 2 weeks so I’m desperate!

    1. Hi Lanova! The mortgage company will need 12 months canceled checks to prove you are paying. Your realtor may just be trying to stay one step ahead of the lender by asking you for it now.

    2. Nooooooooo, something fishy going on there, check them out bet you find out they are not honest, but you could always stop payment on the checks????????????

  24. I got a question, I got rent due on the 4th, but expect a direct deposit on the 7th, could i pay rent on the 4th by paying a check postdated to the 7th, and informing my bank, could they allow it to be pending, since i got a few hundred in my account, and allow it to clear on the 7th?

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