How can I cash a check?

Cashing a check: what to look out for

Cashing a check: deadline

The cashing of a check is subject to deadlines set out in Article 29 of the Check Act (ScheckG):

  • Checks made out in Germany must be cashed by the recipient within 8 days.
  • A period of 20 days applies to checks made out in other European countries.
  • A period of 70 days applies to all other exhibition locations.

The banks are only obliged to cash it if the check is submitted on time - but many also cash late checks as a gesture of goodwill. However, the specified deadlines only apply if nothing else is noted on the check. In special cases, checks are also valid for up to a year - for example, the dividend checks of many health insurance companies. Many banks still cash checks as a gesture of goodwill even if the deadline has been exceeded. If you want to be on the safe side, you should definitely submit the check on time. Please note that the deadline for presentation refers to the date of issue of the check and not to the time at which you receive it.

Are there any costs involved in submitting a check?

The costs depend on the bank and the selected account model. Some branch banks charge about 2 euros for submitting a check for the account models with a low base price. If the basic price is higher, the services are usually included. For checks made abroad, some banks charge special processing fees, which can range from 10 to 15 euros. If you send the check to the bank by post, you have to pay the postage.

Personal check vs. cashier's check

Because of its name, a cashier's check is actually self-explanatory: if you take it to a branch of your bank, you will receive the amount noted on the check in cash. In times of cashless money transactions, the much more popular form of check is the so-called crossed check. Your bank will post the amount to your current account - but usually with reservation. This means that you will only be able to dispose of the money once it has been ensured that the check issuer's account has positive funds. This can take about 3 to 10 days.

Who can cash the check?

The name of the beneficiary is explicitly noted on a so-called order check. They have to identify themselves in order to be able to cash an order check, which makes this type of check particularly secure. This is the usual form. A crossed check without an order note, on the other hand, can be cashed by anyone who presents the original check in person to their bank. However, the original recipient must sign the back of the check. If you have received an order check but cannot cash it yourself, you have the option of granting a third party power of attorney.

Where can I cash a check?

To cash a check, you have to hand it in at your house bank - that is, at any bank with which you have a checking account. It is not possible to cash a check online: so it is not enough to email a scan of the check to your bank - they always need the original document.

Depositing a check at a bank branch

If your house bank has branches, you can cash a check in a branch. To do this, in addition to the check, you will need a completed check deposit form, which is available in the banks. Hand in both documents at the counter and the amount will be transferred to your account. If the way to a branch is too far, you should telephone to inquire whether it is also possible to cash a check by post. You can then request the check deposit form, for example, by post or e-mail; sometimes the bank also makes the document available for download online.

Depositing checks with direct banks

But what if you are a customer of a direct bank? Then you do not have the opportunity to go to a branch, as online banks such as comdirect, ING-DiBa and others do not have branches. In this case there are two alternative ways:

  • For many direct banks, it is sufficient if you send the check by post to the main office and provide it with your IBAN and your signature. You can usually find the address in the "Contact" tab or in the imprint of the bank website.
  • Some banks provide forms on their websites that you fill out, print out and mail with the check.

With direct banks, you have to expect a slightly longer processing time for the postal service before the check is credited to your account.