The UK process to deposit or clear a cheque in a bank can be a very long one. Even though we live in modern times, it can take up to a week for a cheque to be processed and cleared. This creates the question, how long does it take for a cheque to clear?, and the answer depends on which banks you are dealing with. Here we will describe the process at HSBC, Santander and Natwest – please refer to the other two articles on the site for information regarding Lloyds TSB, Halifax, RBS and more!
Over 7 million cheques that add up to billions of pounds come through the cheque system to be cleared every day. All of the technology still cannot seem to move these cheques any sooner.
It is important to understand how the bank clearing system operates. If you are paying a cheque into Bank 1 and it is supposed to clear in Bank 2, it is actually processed by Bank 1 the same day. While the check is being processed, it will also be registered by Bank 2. On day two, the cheque is taken to an exchange centre by the first bank and the second bank receives it.
Bank 1 will then decide if there is enough money in the account to pay the cheque. This happens on the third day. If the amount cannot be paid by the two banks this will created a “bounced” cheque. If the cheque cannot be paid, it is returned to Bank 1. This bank is called the issuing bank. The cheque is not immediately returned. It may take as many as four days before the issuing bank receives the cheque back. Bank 2 processes only cheques that have cleared the first bank. This usually happens on day four.
HSBC is a local bank headquartered in London. It has been recognized as the sixth largest bank in the world. There are over 7,000 offices in the world and they provide banking services for over 90 million customers. HSBC’s cheque clearing cycle is considered fast by most standards. They will process a cheque in three working days. This does not include Saturday or Sunday. If you deposit the cheque on Monday, you will be able to receive funds no later than Thursday.
Santander is one of the largest banks in the Eurozone. The headquarters are located in Spain, but they serve areas in Europe, Latin America, Singapore, Hong Kong, Africa and the United States.
A cheque that is deposited in an account at Santander can take six business days before it is cleared. There are different factors that affect how soon the money is available for withdrawal. The type of account and the day the cheque is deposited affects the clearing time.
The National Westminster Bank Plc, or NatWest, is the largest commercial and retail bank in the UK. NatWest is one of the leading clearing banks. They have over 1500 branches in Great Britain. NatWest operates on the 2-4-6 cycle. Their paying-in day is also known as Transaction day. This is the date that will appear on your bank statement. For example, a cheque that is paid in on Monday will accumulate interest on Wednesday (T+2), if the account is an interesting bearing account. The money will be available to the customer on the fifth day, which will be Friday (T+4). On the seventh day (T+6) the bank cannot reclaim any funds from the customer.
When customers are more aware of their particular banks procedures, they will know how long does it take for a cheque to clear!