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What is the cheque clearing cycle and how long does it take?

The cheque clearing cycle is the process we use to establish whether a payment made by cheque can be honoured. It normally takes 5 working days. However, in cases where the payment can’t be honoured – eg, if the person making it doesn’t have enough money in the relevant account – we need extra days to allow for the unpaid cheque to be returned.

The chart below has been designed to help you understand when cheques paid into your account start to earn interest and when the funds become available for withdrawal. It also shows when you can be certain that the funds won’t be reclaimed from your account as a result of a cheque being returned unpaid (read more about unpaid cheques below). It applies to sterling cheques paid from UK accounts.

 

You deposit a cheque at a Barclays branch

You begin to earn interest on the cheque’s value

The funds become available to withdraw

’Certainty of fate‘ (when the funds from a cheque can no longer be debited from your account if it’s returned unpaid)

Current account

Day 0 (eg, Monday 6 January 2014)

Day 2 (eg, Wednesday 8 January 2014)

Day 4 (eg, Friday 10 January 2014)

Close of Day 6 (eg, Tuesday 14 January 2014)

Savings account

Day 0 (eg, Monday 6 January 2014)

Day 0 (eg, Monday 6 January)

Day 4 (eg, Friday 10 January 2014)

Close of Day 6 (eg, Tuesday 14 January 2014)

Branch cut-off times
Some branches have a cut-off time, after which cheques paid in are processed the following working day. Cut-off times vary and are available in branches.

Accessing the money
You don't have to wait for the cheque to clear before you use the money. If you’re sure a cheque won't be returned unpaid, you may be able to access some of the money on the day it's paid into your account using our Instant Access service,  Please check with us as to whether you qualify for this service and what limit applies.

Working days
Working days refer to Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays. However, Bank holidays that are only observed in Scotland do count as working days. For cheques deposited in Northern Ireland, bank holidays only observed there don’t count as working days.

Post offices
If you pay a cheque at a post office to your Barclays account, it’ll take 2 working days longer to process them.

Speeding up the process
If you need a cheque to clear faster than usual, ask to use the Direct Presentations service in any of our branches. We’ll send the cheque by Royal Mail Special Delivery to the bank the cheque is being paid from. It usually then takes that bank up to 2 working days to confirm whether the cheque can be paid. After that, we’ll phone you to let you know the decision.

For example, a cheque paid in on a Monday will normally be confirmed as paid, or not paid, by 5pm on Wednesday.

This service costs £20, or is free for Platinum Banking account holders.

Unpaid cheques
If a cheque is returned unpaid, its value will be debited from your account even if you’ve already withdrawn the money.

However, you can be certain that an unpaid cheque won’t be debited from your account without your permission if 6 working days have passed since it was deposited, unless there’s a suspicion that fraud has been committed.

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Barclays Bank PLC. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register number: 122702). Barclays Bank PLC subscribes to the Lending Code which is monitored and enforced by the Lending Standards Board. Further details can be found at www.lendingstandardsboard.org.uk. Barclays Insurance Services Company Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Register number: 312078).

Barclays Bank PLC. Registered in England. Registered no. 1026167. Barclays Insurance Services Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered no. 973765. Registered office for both: 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP. 'The Woolwich' and 'Woolwich' are trademarks and trading names of Barclays Bank PLC. Barclays Business is a trading name of Barclays Bank PLC.

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