How long do checks take to clear with Check 21?

Because of a federal law known as Check 21, the checks you write may be processed faster. That means money may be deducted from your account sooner, which makes it a good idea to have enough money in your account at the time you write a check.

What To Check Out

You may be one of the majority of consumers who do not receive their canceled checks with their account statements. Instead, you may receive “pictures” (known as digital images) of your checks, a list of your paid checks, or a combination of these items. Check 21 will have little or no effect on these practices.

On the other hand, if you get your canceled checks back in your regular account statements, you may notice some changes under Check 21. For example, your bank may start sending you a combination of original checks and substitute checks in your account statements. You may use a substitute check (a special paper copy of the front and back of an original check) as proof of payment just as you would use a canceled original check.

By law, your bank may not pay a check from your account unless you authorized that payment. In other words, you are protected from having your bank pay the same check from your account more than once or from having your bank pay the wrong amount for a check. Check 21 does not change these protections. However, Check 21 does give you special rights to an ex-pedited recredit if there’s a problem with a substitute check.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure you have funds in your account before writing a check.

To learn more about Check 21, contact your bank or visit the Federal Reserve’s Web site at

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