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How long are cheques valid and do they expire if not cashed?

Have you cashed a cheque recently? (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Amid a cost-of-living crisis, making every pound go as far as possible is essential.

While cheques are nowhere near as common as they used to be, they are still considered a valid form of payment.

As such, whether it’s some old birthday card money or a refund from something you’d forgotten about, it’s still worth making sure you cash in any cheques you have hanging around.

But how long are they valid for?

Here is what you need to know.

What are cheques?

If you are a member of the Tik Tok generation, you may not have had to deal with a cheque before, as they have somewhat fallen out of fashion as a payment method.

Millions of cheques were processed last year in the UK. (Picture: Getty Images/fStop)

Essentially, cheques are a written order instructing an account holder’s bank to pay money to a named person or business.

While they might be rare, they are far from extinct. 185 million cheques were processed in the UK in 2021.

How long are cheques valid?

According to, cheques don’t technically have an expiry date.

However, in practice: ‘banks will usually reject a cheque if you try to pay it in or cash it more than six months from the date of issue – that’s the date written on the cheque.’

‘If you’ve forgotten about a cheque and it’s more than six months old, the best thing to do is ask the person who gave it to you to write another.’

How to pay in a cheque

If you’ve not paid in a cheque before, you can usually find a paying-in machine in the local branch of your bank.

Just remember – cheque payments aren’t instant and can take up to six days to appear in your account.

However, many banks also now provide the option to pay in a cheque using a smartphone camera and their banking app. This can cut down on the time payments take and remove the need for a trip to the bank.

You can now pay in cheques using a banking app and smartphone. (Picture: Getty Images)

If the person who has written the cheque has insufficient funds in their account, the cheque may ‘bounce.’

Are cheques being discontinued?

While they may now be a rare form of payment, cheques aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

There are currently no plans to phase out cheques as a method of payment. However, some companies and individuals may choose to stop accepting them as a payment method.

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MORE : ‘Digital transactions will come and go… but cash will always be king’

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