The rules and laws vary between states and even from one bank to another, but you can only expect a stop payment order to last about six months. One woman featured on CBS Sacramento learned this the hard way, after a merchant lost her check and she wrote a new one, stopping payment on the original check.
Three years later, the original check finally hit her account. It wasn’t because of any wrongdoing on the part of the consignment shop she wrote the original check to, but she was shocked to learn that a stop payment order has an expiration date.
The news station checked with some major banks: Wells Fargo, Citibank, and Bank of the West all will accept checks after a stop payment order has expired. Theoretically, you’d need to pay to place a new one every six months if you believe that the check could still be deposited or cashed. Bank of America and Chase, for what it’s worth, won’t accept checks for payment that are more than six months old.
Call Kurtis: Stop Payments May Not Last Forever [CBS Sacramento]