Some corporations share their profits with their shareholders, according to the amount of shares each person owns. This dividend is usually in the form of cash, distributed electronically or with paper checks. If you have received a check, it's best to deposit it as soon as possible. A long wait might lead to complications in the future.
Dividend checks are subject to the same regulations that apply to other paper checks. Checks don't expire, but they become stale when they are more than six months old. There are no federal laws that obligate banks to cash stale checks, although it is required in some states. Where there are no state laws for stale checks, some banks will honor them, but many will not.
Some companies place a limit on the amount of time you have to cash a check. This is to simplify the account recociliation process. If the check issuer has restrictions on when you can cash the check, you will find a statement advising you of this on the face of the document. The statement might read "valid for 90 days" or "not valid after" a specific date. The check is invalid after the specified time period, and banks cannot accept it.
If your dividend check is older than six months, it's best to talk to a bank representative instead of depositing it into your account via ATM. This can help you avoid bad check fees and other miscellaneous charges. Your bank might accept stale checks for loyal customers or if the check issuer is a major corporation. You could also take the check to the bank on which the check is drawn.
If you can't find a financial institution willing to accept the check, contact the issuer and request a new check. You might have to return the old check to initiate the process. It's best to make a copy of it for your records, in case of unforseen circumstances, such as the original getting lost in the mail.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: FDIC Law, Regulations, Related Acts: Consumer Protection: 2C
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: The Bank/Credit Union Refused to Cash a Check Because it was More Than Six Months Old. Is This Allowed?
- Financial and Managerial Accounting; Belverd E. Needles, et al.
Tina Amo has been writing business-related content since 2006. Her articles appear on various well-known websites. Amo holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in information systems.