How Remote Disbursement Can Optimize Your Cash Management

How Remote Disbursement Can Optimize Your Cash Management

3 Min.

Remote disbursement is a strategy that takes advantage of geographic inefficiencies in the Federal Reserve's check-clearing services to improve cash management. The Federal Reserve Banks provide check collection services to depository institutions, which take approximately one business day for clearance. Although discouraged by the Fed, this method works by instantly crediting depositors with funds, even though it may take a little longer to clear and post.


Remote disbursement is a cash-management technique that businesses use to optimize their funds by taking advantage of the Federal Reserve System's check-clearing process. In remote disbursement, companies intentionally issue checks from geographically distant banks compared to the recipients. This approach helps maximize the "disbursement float," which reduces the recorded cash balance without affecting the actual funds in the bank. As a result, companies can keep more money in their bank accounts, earning interest, while having a smaller cash reserve on hand. This strategy allows for efficient cash management and higher returns on funds.

How Does Remote Disbursement Work?

Remote disbursement is a discouraged practice by the Federal Reserve. Nowadays, the Fed clears almost all checks within one business day. Consequently, it is the Federal Reserve, not the check writer or recipient, that incurs losses in the remote disbursement process. Recipients receive their payment within one day, so they may not object to engaging with companies that utilize remote disbursement.

Companies employ various methods to extend disbursement float, such as zero-balance accounts and making credit-based purchases for supplies and services (managing trade payables). In the realm of finance and economics, the term "float" refers to duplicate money existing within the banking system during the period between depositing funds into the recipient's account and deducting the same amount from the sender's account. Additionally, float can also pertain to the amount of currency available for trading. Countries can manipulate the value of their currency by regulating the quantity of float accessible for trade. Float becomes particularly evident in the time gap between writing a check and deducting the necessary funds from the payer's account.

Maximizing Benefits

To maximize the benefits of remote disbursement, companies should aim to reduce their collection float, which is the time it takes to receive payments. Techniques like concentration and lockbox banking can help expedite collections and minimize float. By prolonging payment durations and accelerating collections, companies can increase their net float and enhance their cash balance.

When a depository institution receives checks from other institutions, there are various methods available for collection. These include sending the checks directly to the issuing institutions, utilizing local clearinghouse exchanges, or utilizing check-collection services provided by correspondent institutions or Federal Reserve Banks. In the case of checks collected through Federal Reserve Banks, the collecting institutions have their accounts credited for the value of the deposited checks, while the paying banks have their accounts debited for the value of the checks presented for payment.


Remote disbursement is a cash-management technique that can optimize funds and improve cash management by taking advantage of geographic inefficiencies in the Federal Reserve's check-clearing services. Although it is a discouraged practice, companies can still benefit from it by maximizing their disbursement float and reducing their collection float. By doing so, they can increase their net float and enhance their cash balance, potentially earning higher returns on funds.

Remote Disbursement
Federal Reserve (Fed)