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We used to write a check today and then make the deposit to fund it for later or the next day.

This can help consumers afford their purchase with the benefit of stalling the credit for a few days before the check clears if funds are not yet available.

Check clearing for the 21st Century Act changed how the game is played. The act allows a bank to send a virtual copy of your check to your bank rather than the actual check that you write. The virtual copy of the check travels from a bank’s machine to another in the speed of light. This is way faster than the traveltime you can get to your bank and make the deposit for your check.

On the other hand, banks didn’t shorten the hold on the checks you deposit. Clearing can still take longger than a day or up to a month depending on bank policies. Now whenever you write a check, you better make sure that your account can fund the clearing of the checks you issue immediately.

For details on just how a bank can process a check so quickly, and why you need to have the funds available or an overdraft in place, check out the follow brief video.

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