Explaining 2-4-6 and 2-6-6 cheque clearing timescales to your customers

In November 2007 the cheque clearing industry introduced new maximum timescales for customers paying in a cheque.  All banks and building societies offer these maximum timescales to their customers or better.

Whilst these changes offer a clear benefit to customers, making them aware of these changes is a challenge, partly because customers are paying in fewer and fewer cheques.  With this mind we have put together guidelines that can help improve staff, and therefore customer, understanding of the 2-4-6 clearing timescales.

Best Practice Guidelines for Staff Training on 2-4-6 Cheque Clearing Timescales


You will find helpful tips on answering the questions customers typically ask in our FAQs. Most customers want to know when they will earn interest on the money paid in by the cheque, how many days is it before they can withdraw the money, and when can they be sure the cheque won’t bounce. You will need to check the terms and conditions for your customer’s account to find out whether you offer customers a better deal, as it may beat the industry maximum timescales for earning interest and withdrawals. Our accounts offer better timescales for interest and withdrawal – is that correct? It could well be. Banks and building societies still compete to offer services that beat these guaranteed times so you will need to refer to the terms and conditions of your customer’s account.

There are several ways customers can pay in a cheque – in a branch, at an automated deposit machine, by post or at a Post Office. These all affect when the bank actually receives the cheque, so the cut-off times will vary. The cut-off should be clearly displayed somewhere in the branch and it will be generally set out in the account’s terms and conditions. Your organisation may also have developed an intranet site for your use.

You might find it helpful to work through the examples given in the consumer leaflet and business leaflet and adapt it for the particular day of the week. Alternatively you could use the cheque checker.

As long as you use the industry maximum timescales as an example you are on safe ground. However, the customer concerned will need to speak to their own bank or building society to be entirely sure of their timescales and cut-off times for paying in cheques.

No. The end of six working days timescale for certainty is guaranteed. However if certainty is really important to your customer, for instance if they need to be sure of the cheque funds before releasing goods, they can always check their bank balance at the start of day 7.