Business banking made easy

From making payments to the cost of borrowing, learn more how your business bank accounts work

Receiving cheques and paying by cheque

Find how long it takes for funds to clear, what happens with returned cheques and how cheques affect our interest calculations.

How long it takes for cheques to clear

When you pay a cheque into your account from a customer of another branch or bank, we send it to that other bank or branch to get the payment. This is called the ‘central clearing cycle’. You’ll normally have to wait three working days after you pay the cheque in for it to clear unless you ask us to send it for special presentation – see ‘Useful terms’, at the end of this brochure.

The process starts on the working day we receive the cheque if that is before our cut-off time of 3.30pm. Working days are Monday to Friday, except bank holidays. For example, if you pay a cheque in on a Monday, you’ll be able to withdraw the money on Thursday. If you pay a cheque in after 3.30pm Monday to Friday, we’ll process it the next working day.

This table shows the central clearing cycle:

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed
C A
C A
C B B A
C A
C A

C = The day you pay the cheque in.
A = The day you can normally take the money out at any of our branches or at self-service machines.
B = The day you can normally take the money out of self-service machines only.
This doesn’t include public holidays.

Returned cheques

Sometimes the bank which issued a cheque can return it as unpaid. This can happen up until the end of the sixth working day after we receive it, for example if you pay the cheque in on a Monday it can be returned up until the Tuesday of the following week. If it does and we have already included the amount in your account balance, we’ll deduct the amount from your account.

After the end of the sixth working day, we can’t take the money out of your account without your agreement unless you’ve been fraudulent. Due to the way we process deductions from your account, however, any deduction for a cheque returned unpaid just before the end of the sixth working day may appear on your statement up to 9am the next day, which in the above example would be the following Wednesday.

These timescales apply unless:

  • you paid the cheque in at HSBC outside the UK
  • you paid the cheque into a current or savings account outside the UK
  • you paid a cheque in or it is drawn on branches in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Working out interest

We treat cheques as cleared for interest calculations two working days after you pay them in but we’ll include the cheque amount in your account balance before it’s cleared.

If the cheque is later returned as unpaid, and in the meantime you’ve taken money out or made payments, this may mean that your account goes overdrawn or you go over your overdraft limit. If that’s the case, you may have to pay interest or charges.

Exceptions

The above applies to cheques in sterling or in euros (unless they came from an overseas bank) paid into branches of English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish banks in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Different procedures apply to foreign cheques and other types of payment. For more details, see our Business Banking Terms and Conditions.

Get in touch

Call us on:

03457 60 60 60

Lines are open from 8am to 10pm every day. To help us improve our service and for security, we may monitor or record your call.

Textphone: 03457 12 55 63

From outside the UK, call:

+44 1226 26 08 78

Lines are open from 8am to 10pm every day. To help us improve our service and for security, we may monitor or record your call.

Textphone: +44 1792 49 43 94

For Business Internet Banking queries

For lost or stolen cards

Get in touch

Call us on:

03457 60 60 60

Lines are open from 8am to 10pm every day. To help us improve our service and for security, we may monitor or record your call.

Textphone: 03457 12 55 63

From outside the UK, call:

+44 1226 26 08 78

Lines are open from 8am to 10pm every day. To help us improve our service and for security, we may monitor or record your call.

Textphone: +44 1792 49 43 94

For Business Internet Banking queries

For lost or stolen cards

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