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Guide to cashing a cheque

What to do if you want to cash or deposit a cheque in New Zealand.

Most major banks in New Zealand and credit unions are going cheque free. Thanks to secure online electronic payments, the demand for cheques has dwindled dramatically. While cheques aren’t as commonplace as they once were, for some businesses and individuals they are still a financial staple.

How does cashing a cheque work?

If you or your business has a cheque that needs clearing, and your bank still accepts cheques, make sure you take it to your bank in plenty of time to avoid cash flow issues. There is usually at least a three-day waiting period to clear cheques. The waiting period exists because a cheque essentially acts as written instructions between two financial institutions, and the waiting period gives both institutions time to make sure the payment is correct.

How you can deposit a cheque

  1. Take the cheque to your bank and request that it deposits the money in your account.
  2. Deposit the cheque at the bank’s ATM, if it is closed.
  3. Wait for one to three days for the cheque to clear, or request a special clearance.

To receive cash in hand for the cheque, rather than depositing it into your account, the cheque must not be crossed. Cheques that have been crossed must be paid into a bank account. Crossing just means the words ‘Not Negotiable’ written within two parallel lines across the face of the cheque.

Why has my cheque been dishonoured?

Banks dishonour cheques for a few reasons, e.g. there are insufficient funds in the payer’s account, or there is an issue with how the cheque is made out.

Which banks accept cheques?

Make sure you contact your bank or credit union to see if it will cash or deposit a cheque before you accept payment this way. Some banks are phasing out cheque usage or going cheque-free.

Banks that no longer accept cheques:

  • ANZ
  • ASB
  • BNZ
  • Kiwibank
  • Westpac

Foreign currency cheques

If someone wants to send you a cheque from overseas, find out from your bank if they will accept it first. Some New Zealand banks now only accept foreign cheques of a certain amount. There are usually be additional bank fees and charges to consider with depositing foreign cheques.

Clearance times vary for foreign cheques depending on which bank you use. A foreign cheque, if accepted, can take between 4 to 6 weeks to clear.

Related: If you don’t want to wait for a cheque to clear – you could consider comparing your short-term loan options.

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