australian money cheque

Cheque payment information

Important information about how to use your cheques.

What is a cheque?

A cheque is a written order to NAB to pay a sum of money on demand. Some of NAB’s banking services provide cheque access. If you have cheque access, the following features apply. Are you looking for information about bank cheques? Check out our cheque page.

Please note, the special clearance is no longer available.

Drawing a cheque

When you write out a cheque, it must be completed correctly and with care to avoid fraudulent alteration and be signed by the signing authority you have given NAB.

When signing a cheque, you must: provide your full signature against each alteration you make, date the cheque on the date it was signed, and complete all details.

When NAB receives your cheque for payment: it is deemed to be a request by you to NAB to withdraw funds from your account for the amount shown on the cheque; it is an authority to pay those funds to the payee of the cheque or the payee’s bank; and if there are not enough cleared funds in your account, NAB may dishonour or pay the cheque at its discretion.

Clearing a cheque

Generally, it will take three working days from the time you deposit the cheque until the proceeds are available as cleared funds in your account.

The steps involved in clearing a cheque are usually: you deposit a cheque you have received into your NAB account; we will seek the cheque from the bank on which the cheque is drawn, and the bank will pay the proceeds of the cheque to your NAB account. Only after the completion of these steps will the cheque be cleared.

You usually will not be able to withdraw the value of a cheque you deposit until the cheque is cleared, even though your account will be immediately credited with the proceeds of the cheque. This rule applies even to cheques made payable to ‘cash’.

Effect of crossing

If you cross a cheque (by drawing two parallel lines from top to bottom across the front of the cheque), you are telling NAB not to cash it over the counter. The cheque, therefore must be paid to a bank (e.g. into a customer’s account). If NAB does cash a crossed cheque, it may be liable for any loss suffered by the valid owner.

Meaning of ‘not negotiable.,’

You may write the words ‘not negotiable’ between the two parallel lines on your cheque. This means that if the cheque is transferred to another person, the person who obtains the cheque has no greater rights than the person who gave it.

For example, if the cheque was stolen, the person from whom the cheque was stolen might recover the amount of the cheque from the person who received payment, even though that person who received it may have done nothing wrong.

Meaning of ‘account payee only.’

You may also write ‘account payee only’ between the two parallel lines on your cheque. These words mean that you direct a bank accepting the cheque to pay the amount only to the account of the person named in the cheque. The bank is put on notice to make enquiries if a person other than the payee tries to pay the cheque into his or her account or tries to cash the cheque.

NAB may be liable to the valid owner of the cheque if it negligently pays the proceeds of the cheque to a person other than the payee. The words ‘account payee only’ does not prevent the transfer of a cheque.

Significance of deleting ‘or bearer.’

Cheques are generally printed with the words ‘or bearer’ appearing at the end of the line on which you put the person’s name to be paid.

The words ‘or bearer’ mean that the bank on which the cheque is drawn is entitled to pay the cheque to the person in possession of the cheque, even if that person found it or stole it unless the bank has reason to suspect that the cheque has fallen into the wrong hands.

If you wish to alter this position, the simplest way to do this is to cross out the words ‘or bearer’. This will make the cheque an ‘order’ cheque. The cheque is an ‘order’ cheque; the bank on which the cheque is drawn must only pay the cheque to the person named as payee or to whom the cheque has been endorsed.

Stop payment

You may stop payment of your cheque before it has been presented for payment by calling 13 22 65 from Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 7:00pm (AEST/AEDT), Saturday from 7:00am to 6:00pm (AEST/AEDT), Sunday from 9:00am to 6:00pm (AEST/AEDT) for personal customers or 13 10 12 from Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 8:00pm (AEST/AEDT), Saturday to Sunday, 9:00am to 6:00pm (AEST/AEDT) for business customers.

If you have access to NAB Internet Banking or NAB Telephone Banking, you can stop payment instruction 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Alternatively, you may notify any branch of NAB, either in person or by phone.

NAB can stop payment of a cheque only if the:

  • The cheque has not been presented for payment
  • details you provide are accurate (for example, the cheque number(s) are correct).

No matter how you choose to notify NAB, it is essential to tell us quickly if you want to stop payment. If you advise us by telephone, we will stop payment of the cheque (assuming the cheque has not already been presented for payment) and may also seek your written confirmation.

It is essential to identify the cheque by providing: the account name and number, the cheque number and amount; the date of the cheque; and to whom the cheque is payable.

Stops can’t be placed on a single cheque or sequence of cheques via NAB Internet Banking or any other channel, between the hours of 9 pm and 4 am AEST/AEDT inclusively.

  1. Log in to NAB Internet Banking with your NAB Identification number (ID) and NAB Internet Banking password.
  2. From the main menu, go to the Account Information section and select the Stop Cheque sub-menu option.
  3. Select the account to stop the cheque payment from the Select account drop-down list.
  4. Select why you want the cheque stopped from the Reason for stopping the cheque drop-down list. A fee of $15 per stopped cheque may be charged.
  5. Select either:
  • single cheque – Enter one cheque number
  • range of cheques – Enter the first cheque number to stop and the last cheque number to stop.

Cheque numbers must be:

  • in sequence (for example, 003 – 005 means cheques 3, 4 and 5).
  • inclusive (for example, 003 – 005 means you are requesting a stop on cheque 3 and 5, not just cheque 4).
  1. Click Submit. Your request has been sent.

NAB may charge a fee for stopping payment on a cheque, and we will advise you of this fee when you request NAB to stop payment on it. The price is also outlined in NAB’s Personal Banking fees Guide.

Depositing a cheque into your transaction or savings account

You can deposit a cheque or cash into your NAB Everyday Banking account at your nearest NAB branch or selected NAB ATMs. You can also use deposit a cheque into your account using either an ios smartphone or android smartphone. 

Depositing a cheque written in joint names

Only joint accounts can accept a cheque written in both names.

The chequebook has not arrived.

If your cheque book has not arrived within ten business days, please call 13 22 65 from 8 am – 7 pm Mon-Fri, or 9 am – 6 pm on weekends (AEST/AEDT) or +61 3 8641 9083 if you’re overseas.

Re-order a cheque or deposit book

You can re-order a cheque or deposit book via NAB Internet Banking. Click on the Re-order Book option under the Accounts section of NAB Internet Banking.

You’re also able to re-order a supply of Express Business Deposit (EBD) bags via NAB Internet Banking. As long as you currently use the EBD specific deposit books (either standard or agent books, these books have EBD credit printed on each deposit slip).

If you don’t currently use the EBD specific deposit book, please speak to your branch or banker about ordering.

Re-orders cannot be placed on cheque or deposit book via NAB Internet Banking, or any other channel, between the hours of 9 pm and 4 am AEST/AEDT inclusively.

cash cheque

The unauthorised alteration of your cheques

When you write a cheque, you should take care to reduce the opportunity for forgery and fraud.

When writing a cheque: do not leave gaps between the words or figures; begin the amount in terms as close as possible to the left-hand side; begin the amount in formations as close as possible to the dollar sign ($); never use pencil or ink that can be rubbed out; never sign a cheque before it is used or filled out, and always write the amount in words because words are harder to alter.

Dishonouring cheques

Your cheque may (at NAB’s discretion) be returned unpaid or ‘dishonoured’ by NAB in certain circumstances. These include: there are not enough available funds in your account to cover the amount of the cheque; there is some irregularity with your cheque, for example, it is unsigned, is more than 15 months old, is post-dated (i.e. the cheque bears a date that has not arrived), or has been materially altered (e.g. by a change to the amount initially started, on it) and you may not have provided your full signature against the alteration; you have instructed NAB to stop payment of your cheque, or NAB has received notice of your mental incapacity or your death.

NAB may charge a fee for dishonouring your cheque. 

The fee is also outlined in NAB’s Personal Banking Charges Guide.

Third-party cheques

When a cheque is presented for payment into the account of a person other than the nominated payee, it is called a third party cheque.

Whether the cheque is open or crossed, NAB will carefully establish whether the bearer is entitled to hold the cheque. If we pay an unauthorised person, NAB may be liable to the drawer or valid owner, unless we have acted in good faith and without negligence. 

If it is an ‘order’ cheque, it must be endorsed by the payee on the reverse side.

How to cash foreign currency cheques

Do you need to cash a foreign currency cheque from an overseas bank? We can help.

Two ways to cash your cheque


We can buy the cheque from you and pay you the cheque amount in Australian dollars, or another currency, less applicable fees. You can use this option for cheques worth less than AUD 2,0000.


We can send the cheque to the bank that issued it and collect the amount on your behalf. We’ll pay the funds, less any applicable fees, into your account once the cheque clears. 

It usually takes 6-8 weeks for the cheque to clear, depending on the country it was issued from.

If you can’t cash your cheque using these methods, you can send the cheque back to the person who sent it to you and asks them to send you the money by international transfer.

Dishonoured cheques

Was your foreign currency cheque dishonoured? This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • there wasn’t enough money in the overseas account
  • the cheque was part of a scam or was fraudulently altered
  • detail on the cheque was invalid
  • the history the cheque was written from is closed.

If this happens after we’ve bought a cheque from you, you’ll be liable for the cost of the dishonoured cheque. This may include:

  • the amount we paid you
  • any overseas bank charges
  • our dishonour fee.

Foreign exchange rates

For details on the exchange rates we use for foreign currency cheques, see our foreign exchange rates calculator.

How can you cash a cheque without a bank account?

You can cash a cheque without a bank account if you visit the bank that issued the cheque. For example, if somebody sends you a cheque from Bank X (as written on the cheque) and you see Bank X, Bank X will likely let you cash the cheque – provided the person who wrote the cheque has enough money in their account. Bank X would probably charge you a fee for the service.

Can you deposit money into somebody else’s bank account?

One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.

The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

  • Payee’s name
  • Bank, building society or credit union (though this isn’t necessary)
  • BSB (or bank code, which is the branch identifier)
  • Account number

Including the financial institution’s name isn’t necessary – particularly with online banking – because the BSB will identify this for you.

A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipient’s account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.

How can I deposit cash into my bank account?

The traditional way to deposit cash into your bank account is to go to a branch and give it to a teller. These days, many banks will allow you to make deposits through an ATM as well.

How can you cash a cheque without a bank account?

You can cash a cheque without a bank account if you visit the bank that issued the cheque. For example, if somebody sends you a cheque from Bank X (as written on the cheque) and you visit Bank X, it’s likely that Bank X will let you cash the cheque – provided the person who wrote the cheque has enough money in their account. Bank X would probably charge you a fee for the service.

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