Is it Legal for Banks to Put Holds on Payroll Checks?

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Banks often put holds on payroll checks to ensure the money will clear before making it available to you. This is done to protect the bank’s interest and reduce potential fraud.

Payroll Checks and Bank Holds

It is legal for your bank to put holds on your payroll checks but only for a limited time.

The First $100

Banks are required to make available the first $100 of your payroll check by the next business day after your deposit. Banks can define a business day as they see fit, however, so it is possible to deposit your check on Friday and not have that first $100 available until the following Tuesday.

The Rest of Your Payroll Check

By the second business day, your bank must release the rest of your paycheck. So if the first $100 became available Tuesday morning, the rest--up to $5,000--must be available by Wednesday morning.

Payroll Checks Exceeding $5,000

If your payroll check totals more than $5,000, your bank has an additional 10 days after your initial deposit to make available any amount over $5,000.

Avoiding Holds on Payroll Checks

Many banks allow customers to cash their paycheck first and then deposit the cash into their account. This gets around the hold time and makes the funds available immediately.


  • "Mastering Negotiable Instruments: U.C.C. Articles 3 & 4 and Other Payment Systems," Michael D. Floyd; 2008.

About the Author

Carrie Ferland is a practicing civil litigation defense attorney in the Philadelphia Area. As an author, her work has been featured in various legal publications for over 10 years. Ferland is a 2000 graduate of Pennsylvania State University and completed her Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration with the Dickinson School of Law. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in English.

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