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How long does it take for a cheque to clear in my account?

Image Clearing

All sterling cheques are processed via the Image Clearing Scheme – this scheme is much faster than the previous Paper Clearing Scheme and operates a two-business-day clearing cycle.

You'll normally need to wait 1 working day after the day you pay the cheque in for it to clear, so if you pay a cheque in on Monday (before 3.30pm) it will usually clear by Tuesday. However, if your cheque is returned unpaid by the drawers bank (i.e. the bank of the person who wrote the cheque) you will receive a advice of this via a letter or via Bankline.

The cheque clearing example below will help you work out when your money begins to earn interest, when money can be used, and when you can be sure that the cheque has cleared.

Cheque clearing cycle example

If you pay a cheque into your account on a Monday before 3.30pm (this is day one of the clearing cycle), you can expect to earn interest (if the account pays interest on credit balances) from Tuesday (which is day two of the clearing cycle). This is also the point at which this money will reduce the amount of your overdraft interest charged (if applicable).

Funds can be withdrawn from Tuesday (or earlier if you have a credit arrangement).

By the end of day two of the clearing cycle (i.e. Tuesday), the cheque is either paid or declined by the Drawer’s bank. Once it is paid it becomes cleared funds.

If you pay a cheque in on a Saturday or after 3.30pm on a working day, the funds will not clear for two further days.

Cheques paid in at some financial institutions, or agents, (e.g. the Post Office), may take longer to arrive at the other bank for payment. The clearing cycle referred to here does not apply to foreign cheques, which can take up to 20 weeks to clear.