Why Isn't My Money Available at My Bank?

When you make a deposit to your bank account, you may expect to be able to access the money as soon as you deposit it. However, this may not always be the case. In fact, the funds may take a few days to post to your checking account.

It can be frustrating when your money isn’t available in your account immediately, but it helps to have a clear understanding of how deposits are processed and why your money may not always be available.

Case in point—even though banks are becoming increasingly more digital and tech-savvy, there still may be reasons why your deposit or check hasn’t cleared immediately. Learn why your money may not be available at your bank. 

01
Understand How Your Money Gets to Your Bank Account

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When you make a deposit to your bank, the deposit will be credited to your account. However, the bank does not instantly receive the money from the check that you deposited. Your bank has to send the checks to a regional clearinghouse, after which they are sent to the check writer’s bank, then the money is taken out of the account there. This all has to occur before the money can be deposited into your account.

If the bank is from out of state or in a different part of the country, it may take additional time for the check to go through the check clearing process. If the check is local, your bank will usually extend you a credit while they are waiting to collect the money from the other bank.

But if the check is for a large amount or from out of state, your bank may wait to make those funds fully available to you. It's important to keep in mind that with a direct deposit, the funds are electronically deposited, which is why you can receive credit for them right away.

02
Look for the Next Business Day Notice

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Many banks have a cutoff time when they switch over to the next business day. One reason they do this is so they can send the majority of the day’s work on to the processing center so everything can be processed by midnight.

This can also apply to checks. Here’s how it works – When you deposit a check and the receipt says next business day or the date on the receipt is for the next day, it means that although they received the money, the check will not be sent to the processing center until the next business day.

So, instead of your money being available the next morning, it will be available the day after. If a bank has already crossed over to the next business day, there is usually a sign in the bank denoting this. It also may print on your receipt. The ATM will also inform you if it has been switched over to the next business day.

Some banks will switch over the ATMs first and you may be able to complete a transaction on the same business day by going inside. They may have one teller that switches over at the very end, so it doesn’t hurt to ask if someone is still on the same business day if you need the money more quickly.

03
Be Aware of Holds on Your Account

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Another reason that your money may not be available is because the bank put a hold on the funds. The bank may put a hold if the check is for a large amount, it is an insurance check, or it a check from out of state.

Remember, the larger the check, the more risk the bank takes on when it gives you immediate access to the funds. Most checks take a few days to process, but the bank allows you to access the money because most checks do clear. However, if you have an exceptionally large check, it may not clear immediately.

The bank must inform you if they put a check on hold and explain how long it will be until the funds are available to you. You may be able to avoid a hold on your account.

 

04
Monitor for Bank Mix Ups

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Occasionally, you may not have the money available to you because of a mix-up with the bank. A good way to look out for this is to monitor your account daily. When you make a deposit, it should show up in your account history, even if the funds are not immediately available to you.

There are times when the money may accidentally be posted to the wrong account. When this happens, there will not be a record of the deposit when you access your account online.

Be sure to contact the bank and find out what happened and remediate the issue. It is also important to keep your receipts until everything has cleared so that you have proof of the deposit. Your receipt also contains important tracking information, which will make it easier for the bank to find your missing deposit. Take the time to contact the bank about the discrepancy in your account, and you should be able to work out a solution.

Updated by Rachel Morgan Cautero.