Cheque Clearing Process

Cheques go through a clearing process so the amount you pay in may not be available to use straight away. We meet the requirements of the 2-4-6 cheque clearance process implemented by all UK banks and building societies. The 2, 4 and 6 refer to the number of working days after a cheque has been paid into an account. Working days are Monday to Friday, except bank holidays. This is how the process works if you pay in a sterling cheque:

  • We will show the cheque in your account on the working day that we receive it;
  • From the second working day after we receive it, we start paying interest on the cheque (or using it to reduce the interest you pay);
  • From the fourth working day after we receive it, the funds are available for you to use but the cheque may still need to be returned unpaid up until the sixth working day after we receive it; and
  • From the end of the sixth working day after we receive it, if the cheque is returned unpaid by the paying bank, we cannot take the money from your account without your consent unless you have acted fraudulently.

So, for example, if you pay in a a Sterling cheque on a Monday, you will see it on your statement the same day, it counts towards interest on Wednesday, you can use the money on Friday and we cannot take the payment out of your account after the following Tuesday.

If the funds from the cheque are not available to use we may refuse to make a payment if you do not have enough money in the account to cover it. A cheque can be returned unpaid up until the end of the sixth working day after we receive it. If this happens, we will take the money from your account even if it puts you into overdraft.

Cheques are changing in 2017

In 2017, cheque clearing in the UK will undergo a fundamental change. Cheques will clear much faster and customers will have greater choice over how they pay in cheques. This is because instead of exchanging physical cheques, banks will exchange digital images of cheques.

Development of the new system is underway and in 2017 we plan to introduce new ways to pay in cheques, such as using smartphones. We will also upgrade the way we process cheques at our branches.

More details will be provided as we get closer to making the changes.