Saturday, May 10, 2014

How Long Do Cheques Last?

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I deliberately wrote cheque in the English, Australian and New Zealand way because this post is for for them and those who get royalty or affiliate cheques from US based companies drawn on US based banks.

Recently I deposited an Amazon cheque at my local branch of a well known bank.  I had kept this particular cheque on the refrigerator for nearly 6 months because I wanted to show it to several friends.  Not because it was a big one, it was about $120 USD, but because I have been trying to encourage them to write for the Kindle platform and I wanted to show them proof that there was some money available.

Here in Australia a cheque is usually good for about 13 months before it becomes ‘stale’ and then it becomes a bank’s discretion as to whether they accept it or not.  Usually not.

In the USA it’s 6 months.  Now I had checked on this and knew the limit so I took the cheque into my local branch with 28 days to go.

A week later it arrived back in my mail box.

The hand-written note with the cheque said that it wouldn’t get to the USA in time to be cleared.  What?  28 days is not enough time?

Anyway I emailed Amazon and told them my story and asked them to re-issue the cheque.  Seriously the best customer service I have had from a large American Internet company in years.

I had an email back within days with an agreement to re-issue the cheque.  In about a week I had the new cheque in my mail.

I also had another cheques from Amazon so today I took them both to the bank.

After depositing the cheques I asked about the one that was knocked back and the answer is that it takes a month to go through the International Clearing house, the slow mail to the USA, their clearing house and finally the USA bank.

The message is clear, bank the cheque as soon as you get it.  At the very latest get it into the hands of your bank within 5 months of getting it.

If you want to show it off, take a photocopy.

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