Banks are slow to clear checks from new customers and checks that are over a certain amount, say $7,000, because of the risk of fraud. Banks conduct fraud checks on certain types of transactions and this takes time. Counterfeit checks are becoming much more sophisticated, making it difficult for banks to verify the authenticity of a check. Banks also scrutinize banking transactions more closely since 9/11. So how long do banks actually hold checks? That depends. Most checks clear within a day or two after deposit. Higher risk checks may take as long as 11 business days to clear. That's “business days,” not regular days. In banking parlance, a business day is a Monday-Friday day, not counting Saturday, Sunday and holidays. So 11 business days can be as long as 17 regular days. That's a long time to wait for a check to clear. Some banks will clear a higher risk check in 6-9 days. That might be something to consider when you are in the market for a new bank. Ask first so you are not unpleasantly surprised by a shortage of funds, or read the bank's disclosure statement regarding availability of funds if you are not sure. While most banks hand these out to new customers, few customers read them.