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How long can the bank place a hold on government checks (for example, Social Security and U.S. Treasury checks)?

Generally, a bank must make funds deposited into an account by a government check available for withdrawal not later than the business day after the banking day on which the funds are deposited into an account held by the payee of the check and in person to an employee of the bank. For U.S. Treasury checks, the same deadline applies when the payee deposits the check at an ATM owned by the bank and is an accountholder on the account into which the deposit is made.

A bank may require that a special deposit slip be used for state or local government checks and for certified, cashier's, or teller checks to qualify for next-day availability.

The bank may place a longer hold on a check in any of several circumstances:

  • The check has been deposited into an account that has been open for less than 30 days.
  • The total amount of checks deposited in one day is larger than $5,525, but only for the amount in excess of $5,525.
  • The check has been returned unpaid and has then been redeposited.
  • The check has been deposited into an account that has been repeatedly overdrawn during the past six months.
  • The bank has reasonable cause to doubt that the check is collectible from the paying bank.
  • Emergency conditions exist beyond control of the bank, such as an interruption of communication, computer, or other equipment facilities.

Last Reviewed: October 2020

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on HelpWithMyBank.gov should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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