How Long Does It Take to Get a 401k Loan Check in the Mail?

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How Long Does It Take to Get a 401k Loan Check in the Mail

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If you have a financial emergency and your 401(k) plan allows 401(k) loans, you may consider taking a 401(k) loan.

However, one of the worries you may have is how long the 401(k) loan will take to reach your account. Will the check arrive soon enough to meet your financial emergency? Or will you need to find an alternative source of money to meet your financial needs?

In this article, we explore how soon 401(k) loan checks take to arrive in the mail, how to track the check, and how to cash the 401(k) loan check. 

How Does a 401(k) Loan Work?

If you have a 401(k), you may be allowed to borrow a portion of your 401(k) money, but you must repay the loan over a specified period with interest. 

It’s important to understand that a 401(k) loan is not the same as a 401(k) withdrawal; you’re essentially borrowing from your retirement savings.

To initiate a 401(k) loan, you’ll need to contact your plan administrator or log into your online account. Then you will fill out an application specifying the amount you wish to borrow and agree to the loan’s terms and conditions.

How Long Does It Take to Get a 401k Loan Check in the Mail?

The time it takes to receive your 401(k) loan can vary depending on several factors, including your plan administrator and the specific processes they have in place. 

After you’ve submitted your loan application, your plan administrator will need time to review and approve it. Normally, this process takes about 1 to 2 weeks, but it can be faster or slower depending on your plan.

Once your loan is approved, your plan administrator will issue a check for the loan amount. The time it takes for the check to be printed and mailed can vary, but it’s often another 1 to 2 weeks.

The final step is the actual mail delivery. This can take an additional 2 to 5 business days, depending on the postal service and your location.

Generally, it can up to 3 weeks to receive a 401(k) loan check in the mail from the date you submit your application. However, if you opt for a 401(k) loan direct deposit, you can get your money within a day or up to 2 weeks. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a 401(k)Distribution Check?

If you’re withdrawing funds from your 401(k) account instead, the timeline may be almost the same as getting a 401(k) loan. 

After you’ve initiated a distribution request from your 401(k) account, your plan administrator will review and process it. This can take about 1 to 2 weeks.

Once your request is approved, a check for the specified amount will be issued and mailed. Again, this can take an additional 1 to 2 weeks.

Finally, after mailing, your check may take 2 to 5 business days to get to you.

So, if you’re withdrawing funds from your 401(k) account, you can expect to receive the check within 2 to 5 weeks.

How Do I Track My 401(k) Check?

Once you’ve applied for a 401(k) loan, you may want to monitor the status of your request. You can do this by logging into your online 401(k) account or contacting your plan administrator.

You will get information on when the check was processed and when you can expect it to arrive. Remember, it’s essential to stay informed about the progress of your loan, as well as any additional documentation or requirements that may be necessary.

Why Did My 401(k) Send Me a Check?

If you receive a check from your 401(k) unexpectedly, it may be alarming but, there are several reasons why this could happen. 

First, you may have requested a distribution from your 401(k) account, leading to the issuance of a check. Therefore, confirm from your logs to make sure it was you who made the request. 

Another reason is if you’re changing jobs or retiring, you might be rolling over your 401(k) into another retirement account. In this case, you’ll receive a check made out to the new account’s custodian. 

Finally, you might get a 401(k) check if you’ve reached the age where required minimum distributions are mandatory. Therefore, your plan sends you checks for the RMDs.

In any case, if you’re unsure about why you received a check, contact your plan administrator and enquire about the issue to get clarification.

How Can I Cash My 401(k) Check Without a Bank Account?

Cashing a 401(k) check without a bank account can be a bit more challenging, but it’s not impossible. You have several options that you can look into to access your 401(k) check.

You can use check-cashing services

Some financial institutions and retail stores offer check-cashing services for a fee. Therefore, if you choose this option, you should be prepared to provide identification and pay a percentage of the check amount.

Prepaid debit cards

Alternatively, you may consider using a prepaid debit card to load the funds from your 401(k) check. You can often find these cards at stores or online.

Using a friend or family member’s bank account

A final option would be to use a friend or family member’s bank account. If you trust someone close to you and they have a bank account, you can ask them to cash the check for you and provide you with the equivalent amount in cash.

Can You Mobile Deposit a 401(k) Check?

Yes, you can often mobile deposit a 401(k) check if your bank or financial institution offers this service. 

Mobile deposit allows you to take a photo of the check using your mobile banking app and have the funds deposited directly into your account. However, to be sure, check with your bank to ensure they support mobile deposits for retirement account checks.

What Happens If I Don’t Cash My 401(k) Check?

If you receive a 401(k) check and fail to cash it, there can be issues, and it may even affect your tax status. 

In many cases, if you fail to cash your 401(k) check, your plan administrator may reach out and advise you on how to address the issue. They may inquire about the reason for not cashing the check and offer to reissue it. Your plan may do this to prevent funds from being lost or becoming unclaimed.

When it comes to tax implications, the IRS may consider the distribution as taxable income, which means you could owe taxes on the uncashed amount. 

Another issue that might come up is penalties and withholding. Depending on your age and the nature of the distribution, there may be additional penalties and withholding requirements if you don’t cash your 401(k) check. These can affect your tax liability and the amount you ultimately receive.

Additionally, in some cases, if a 401(k) check remains uncashed for an extended period, it may be subject to escheatment laws. Escheatment laws allow states to take control of unclaimed property, including uncashed checks, after a specific period. If your check is escheated, you may need to go through a state process to recover the funds.

To avoid these potential issues, you should cash your 401(k) check once you receive it or as soon as you can. If you have concerns or face difficulties with cashing a check, contact your plan administrator. They will guide you through any problem you might be having.


Understanding the timeline for receiving a 401(k) loan or distribution check is essential for managing your financial affairs. The process can take several weeks, but the exact duration depends on various factors, including your plan provider and the nature of your request. 

Either, if you find yourself with any questions or concerns about your 401(k) checks, don’t hesitate to reach out to your plan administrator for assistance.

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