The validity period of a check

Following an article on checks, I realized that many people were mistaken about the validity of a check.

Let's look at this subject in detail.

Checkbook over water (CC Meuh)

Checkbook over the water (CC moo)

How long can you keep a check in your wallet before you start worrying?

Chapter 1. The period of validity

Normally, reading the following, you will scream ...

The validity period of a check is 8 days.

Indeed, the article L131-32 of the Monetary and Financial Code has:

The check issued and payable in metropolitan France must be presented for payment within eight days.

Yes you read correctly: only 8 days.

Even if the same article provides for a slightly longer period (20 days or 70 days) for checks written outside France, this delay may seem atrociously short.

Chapter 2. The prescription period

Section 2.1. Prescription provided on the check itself

But rest assured ... the legislator has provided for a limitation period of 1 year allowing the holder (ie the person who is to be paid) to have an action against the drawee (ie the person who has to pay) (L131-59 of the Monetary and Financial Code):

The action of the holder of the check against the drawee is prescribed by one year from the expiry of the deadline for presentation.

So, if a check is presented within the time limit of 1 year and 8 days, the bank will have to pay (in practice, the bank does not check the date, so good ...).

After this period, the check as a means of payment is (in theory) no longer usable.

Section 2.2. Other prescriptions

The question that comes to mind then is "but after this period of 1 year and 8 days, is it cooked? ” .

Not necessarily !

The fact that the means of payment (here the check) is unusable does not mean that the claim has disappeared: only the prescription of the claim itself (for example, with regard to the provisions of the article L2224 of the Civil Code) may close the door to the action of the creditor against his debtor.

Thus, the check may serve as the beginning of evidence in writing in the event of a legal action to force the debtor to pay.



  1. hello, we closed our account in 2008 and a check was presented in 2015, there is a good prescription and what should we do?

  2. I come to you for a concern on a check.

    In December, we cashed a check.
    He came back to us for loss.
    We filed a complaint for fraudulent opposition
    For fear, the opposition was lifted by the issuer.
    We returned this check to the cashing.
    Due to the delay, it has just returned to us unpaid because prescribed while it was perfectly valid during the first setting cashing.

    What recourse did we know that during the first presentation of the check, it was valid?
    Will we recover this check?

    Thank you for your help
    Best regards

  3. Hello

    Are there carrier-specific rights during the eight days of the submission deadline and lost after this time has expired?
    Also, are these eight days worked, working or normal (ie 8 * 24 hours)?


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