Definition of a Post-dated Check
A post-dated check (or post-dated cheque) is a check written with a future date. In other words, the date that appears on the check is after the date when the check was written. Even with a future date appearing on the check, the check could clear (be paid from) the bank account prior to that date.
Post-dating a check makes sense only if you are certain that the payee will not cash or deposit the check before the date appearing on the check.
Example of a Post-dated Check
To illustrate, let's assume that on May 22 Jim owes a supplier $2,000 for purchases made 40 days ago. Since Jim does not have the money to pay the supplier, he offers to mail the supplier two $1,000 checks: one check dated for June 20 and the other check dated for July 20.
The supplier agrees to hold the checks and deposit them on the dates shown on the checks. Jim assures the supplier that the checks will be paid by his bank on those dates.
On June 4, when the supplier receives Jim's postdated checks, the supplier should not debit cash nor credit accounts receivable. The reason is that the checks cannot be turned into cash prior to the dates shown on the checks.