Why Postdating Personal Checks is a Bad Idea

taxes dueIt sure sounds like a clever idea. You have to pay some bills, but you need a little extra time, just enough so that your next paycheck hits your bank account.

So, you write some checks out for next Friday, because they can’t cash it until that date, right? Wrong.

Unfortunately, your personal checks do not have time travel capabilities. The truth is that personal checks can be cashed long before the date written on them. If you think you can get away with this trick, you might be sorely mistaken.

There are many reasons why you might try to postdate personal checks. Perhaps you’re hoping your landlord won’t cash the rent check right away. Others write out checks for child support for all 12 months. Some even send postdated personal checks in the mail hoping they won’t be processed until that date in the future.

What you must realize is that it is perfectly legal to cash a personal check or business checks before the date written in the top right corner. In fact, most bank tellers don’t even look at the date. Financial institutions can honor checks with a date written far into the future.

The only things that really matter for check processing are the dollar amount along with your account number and bank’s routing number, which are found on the MICR line.

Those who try to get away with postdating checks may find themselves in some serious financial trouble. They’ll most likely start bouncing checks, leading to overdraft fees. They may also be asked to cover the cost of any fees incurred by the parties that cashed those bad checks.

If you’re post-dating, you’re probably already short on money. So it’s a bad idea to put yourself in a situation where you will have to pay unexpected fees.

The best thing you can do is only write a check when you have the money available to you. However, if you really need time, you should personally ask the person receiving your check to wait a certain amount of time before taking it to the bank.

You can also talk to your bank and see if they’ll refrain from cashing a particular check until the date you wrote on it. You could be charged a fee for a service like this, but it will most likely be better than paying fees connected with an overdraft of your checking account.

+Kasey Steinbrinck provides useful advice on personal finances and news about the economy on behalf of Check Advantage. The online check printer is always adding new checks to its collection of personal checks online.

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