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The Federal Reserve System holidays are important because they can impact your financial life.

If you deposit a check when the Fed is closed, you may experience a delay in funds availability. A Fed holiday may also cause a bill payment to be late if the processing date is on a Fed holiday. Or a Fed holiday could mean that your local branch is closed.

In 2019, the Federal Reserve System holidays are:

  • New Year’s Day: Jan. 1
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.: Jan. 21*
  • Washington’s Birthday: Feb. 20**
  • Memorial Day: May 27
  • Independence Day: July 4
  • Labor Day: Sept. 2
  • Columbus Day: Oct. 14 ***
  • Veterans Day: Nov. 11
  • Thanksgiving: Nov. 28
  • Christmas: Dec. 25

*The Fed is closed on the third Monday in January.

** The Fed is closed on the third Monday in February.

*** The Fed is closed on the second Monday in October.

Source: Federal Reserve

Most banks close on Federal Reserve holidays

Rose Oswald Poels started working at the Wisconsin Bankers Association more than 20 years ago. Back then, Poels, who is now the president and CEO of the group, says a lot of banks were open on holidays like the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., Columbus Day and Veterans Day.

“In today’s world, it’s very different,” Oswald Poels says.

More banks are choosing to close on Federal Reserve System holidays, such as Washington’s birthday or Columbus Day. Oswald Poels says some banks may take advantage of closing on a weekday holiday to either conduct all-staff training or volunteer in the community.

Banks can open on a Federal Reserve System holiday

A bank may choose to be open on a Federal Reserve holiday. Transactions will generally process the same way they would on a weekend.

For instance, if you sign the documents to send a domestic wire transfer at your bank on a Saturday morning, that wire won’t be processed until Monday morning at the earliest, assuming Monday isn’t a Federal Reserve holiday. The same happens if you deposit a check in a bank (or online or at an ATM) on a holiday. If your bank is open on one of the Federal Reserve System holidays, the bank’s going to reopen on the next business day. Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network transactions also aren’t processed on a bank holiday or on a weekend.

The Fed is closed on the second Monday in October for Columbus Day. So, if you deposit a check into your bank account on the Saturday before this holiday, the earliest this check will be fully available will typically be on Tuesday if the bank has same-day availability.

If the bank doesn’t, “then it wouldn’t be until Wednesday when your money would really be available to you,” Oswald Poels says.

Online accessibility on Federal Reserve holidays

Online access should be the same on a holiday as it would be on any other day or night. Of course, this is assuming the bank’s site isn’t down due to maintenance or another issue.

“If you do online banking, if you use remote deposit capture through your phone to make deposits, all of the technology functions still work,” Oswald Poels says. “So you can do those transactions. But the effect of what that means (on Fed holidays) is another story.”

While you can mobile-deposit a check on one of these holidays, it’s likely that the transaction will not process until the next business day at the earliest.

You generally can also open a bank account online on a Federal Reserve System holiday, just like you can on a night or weekend. That includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts or CDs.

Other holidays and near-holidays

Banks are generally open on Black Friday, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, though it’s possible your bank may decide to close early on one of these days.

“Everything processes through the system normally on (these days) as well because the Fed is also open,” Oswald Poels says.

Good Friday is another day when the Federal Reserve is open and banks usually are too. This holiday gets a little confusing because it’s a day when the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is closed. Columbus Day is the opposite since the NYSE is open and the Federal Reserve System is closed.

Bill pay through your bank around Federal Reserve holidays

It’s always best to pay bills a few days early. That way if a holiday or weekend is off your radar, you still should be able to pay the bill on time.

“If you have set up automatic bill pay from your account, hopefully most people arrange bill pays so that the date that the transaction is initiated is not literally the very last day that bill is due,” Oswald Poels says.

If the date of your automatic bill pay falls on or around a Federal Reserve System holiday or on a weekend, that transaction won’t process until the next business day.

“Make sure you leave yourself enough leeway from when the actual due date is to when you’ve initiated the bill pay request,” Oswald Poels says.