Is it Rude to Not Cash a Check Right Away?

We all receive checks from time to time, some of us more or less than others in a world steadily turning digital. 

Some people get checks from their grandparents for birthday gifts, and others receive a weekly paycheck and additional checks for this and that throughout the year. 

So, what happens when you don’t need to cash the check right away? Or, in case you forget to cash it? 

Is it rude to not cash a check right away? Read on below and explore the interesting in-depth answer!

Is it Rude to Not Cash a Check Right Away?

There is no proper cash-checking etiquette to follow when you receive a check, whether it is a gift, paycheck, bonus, or otherwise. 

The main thing to keep in mind is that regardless of where your check came from, most people and businesses that issue checks expect the check to be cashed rather quickly.

If weeks have passed and you still haven’t cashed a check, you should consider doing so immediately (or risk seeming rude, or in extreme cases losing your money).

How Rude Is it?


On the rude meter’s scale of 1 to 10, not cashing a check right away rates 3

However, if you wait more than 30 days to cash the check, the rating jumps up to about an 8 or 9 on the rude meter’s scale.

Most people who cut you a check, be it a personal check, from a small company, or a large corporation that you work for, expect you to cash your check within a month or so. 

This 30-day period is usually appreciated by people and businesses alike because it helps record-keeping stay nice and smooth.

Why is it Not Rude?

It isn’t rude to not cash a check right away, as it is up to you when you choose to do so, legally. 

However, many checks do have expiration dates, in addition to the person or business who wrote you the check normally expects you to cash the check soon.

When you don’t cash a check within the first 30 days of receiving it, the action could complicate finances and record-keeping for the individual or business that issues you the check.

So, even though it isn’t really rude to not cash it right away, after a few weeks pass, the action indeed begins to border on rudeness.

Common Questions

What happens when you don’t cash a check right away?

Believe it or not, when you don’t cash a check right away, the IRS doesn’t show up at your house, kick your door in, and haul your sorry keister off to debtors prison… in fact, nothing special happens. 

The main exception is checks that have expiration dates of 90 days to 2 years. If you don’t cash within that time period, a check may need to be reissued. 

Do I legally need to cash a check right away?

Most checks do not need to be legally cashed right away. But, in some cases, you may indeed be responsible for cashing your check within a certain amount of time. 

Sometimes, if not cashed in time, you may lose the money altogether (as no check will be reissued, and you can’t cash the expired check either).

What is proper check-cashing etiquette?

There is no golden rule for when you should cash a check. That said, most people and businesses expect you to cash your check just as soon as you possibly can.

 Even if you don’t need the money, you should still cash the check and get it out of the way when you can, rather than waiting for a rainy day.