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. Looking for information about bank cheques? Check out our bank cheque page.

Please note, the special clearance is no longer available.

Drawing a cheque

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

When signing a cheque you must: provide your full signature against each alteration you make; and 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 to 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 payment of 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.

Normally you 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 true 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 to it 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 that is 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 own account, or tries to cash the cheque.

NAB may be liable to the true 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' do 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 name of the person 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. Where 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 a person 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 give us a stop payment instruction 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you may notify any branch of NAB, either in person or by phone.

NAB can stop a payment of a cheque, only if 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 important 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 important to clearly 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 9pm and 4am AEST/AEDT inclusively.

1. Login 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 that you want to stop the cheque payment on 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).

6. 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 at the time you request NAB to stop payment on it. The fee is also outlined in NAB's Personal Banking Fees and Charges 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 at 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.

Cheque book has not arrived

If your cheque book has not arrived within 10 business days, please call 13 22 65 from 8am - 7pm Mon-Fri, or 9am - 6pm 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 9pm and 4am AEST/AEDT inclusively.

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 words as close as possible to the left hand side; begin the amount in figures 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 originally stated 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 of your death.

NAB may charge a fee for dishonouring your cheque. The fee is also outlined in NAB's Personal Banking Fees and Charges Guide.

Third party cheques

When a cheque is presented for payment into the account of, or to, 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 true 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.

Important information