Federal Reserve Float

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DEFINITION of 'Federal Reserve Float'

Refers to the over-estimation of the country's money supply due to uncleared checks showing as an asset on the books of both the receiving and sending institution. This "double accounting" for a check occurs because the Federal Reserve generally credits a bank's account for the amount of a check within one to two days of that check being presented. However, it often takes slightly longer than that time for the same check to be presented to the issuing bank for actual payment of the funds, hence the double accounting of the amount.

The amount of float in the Federal Reserve System changes daily, weekly, and monthly. Typically, the first few banking days after the weekend, the end of the month and the holidays all experience a higher level of float due to an increased volume in processed checks.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Federal Reserve Float'

One of the goals of an efficient banking system would be zero float, meaning that all money is withdrawn from one account and deposited into another the moment a check is presented. While this is not currently the case, it is important to note that the amount of float in the system has been cut dramatically over the last few decades due to active anti-float programs from the Federal Reserve and an increasing move towards the electronic transfer of funds. It's not unreasonable to expect that Federal Reserve float will be virtually eliminated in the next few decades.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. How does float affect the nation's money supply?

    Federal reserve float is the overestimation of money in the nation's banks that results from checks that have not yet cleared. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How is the Federal Reserve audited?

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Federal Reserve is extensively audited. Politicians on the left and right of a populist ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Who decides when to print money in the US?

    The U.S. Treasury decides to print money in the United States as it owns and operates printing presses. However, the Federal ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why do some people claim the Federal Reserve is unconstitutional?

    The U.S. Constitution does not mention the need for a central bank, nor does it explicitly grant the government the power ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can the federal reserve increase aggregate demand?

    The Federal Reserve can increase aggregate demand in indirect ways by lowering interest rates. Aggregate demand is a measure ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does the stock market react to changes in the Federal Funds Rate?

    The stock market reacts to changes in the federal funds rate in various ways depending on where it is in the business cycle. ... Read Full Answer >>

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