If you’ve never done it before, endorsing a check can seem a little confusing. Don’t worry though. Below, there’s a step-by-step guide you can use to endorse a check safely and efficiently.
What will I learn?
How to Endorse a Check for Deposit
Here’s how you can get your check cashed or deposited into your account or sign it over to someone else.
Step One: Check how your name is spelled
Endorsing a check involves signing your name on the back of it.
In order to be properly endorsed, the name that you sign on the back of the check must match the payee’s name that appears on the front of the check. And, I mean that it must match exactly! If the name was written incorrectly, then you must sign the check with the incorrect version, and then sign again using your correct name.
Step Two: Find the endorsement section
Wondering where to endorse a check? Well, most checks have a small section on the back for you to write in. This section is only around 1.5 inches. This endorsement area may read “Endorse Here” or “Endorse Check Here” at the top, and it usually includes a few blank lines. There may be an X on the line as well which indicates where you should sign.
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Typically, there’s an instruction that says, “Do not write, stamp, or sign below this line.”
Make sure that you keep your signature within this area.
Step Three: Endorse the check using the method that suits you
Now you know where to endorse a check, but how exactly do you go about it?
There are actually three methods for endorsing a check. Which one you use really depends on your needs. Whichever one you choose, make sure that you use a pen to write on the check because pencil can easily be erased and changed. Pens are much safer.
Here are three ways you can endorse a check:
Method One: Blank endorsement
The simplest way to endorse the check is to simply sign the back of the check in the area that we mentioned above without adding any restrictions. This method is known as a “blank endorsement.”
While simple, you should only use this method if you plan to deposit or cash the check immediately after you sign it. For example, if you are making a remote deposit at home, or are in the bank lobby, a blank endorsement will work for you.
If you don’t plan to deposit or cash it immediately, then, for safety reasons, you will instead want to use the restrictive endorsement method outlined below.
Method Two: Restrictive endorsement
Another way to deposit or cash a check is to use a restrictive endorsement.
With this method, in addition to signing the check, you also include your account number, and instructions that state the money can only be deposited into your account.
Here’s what you need to write as part of your endorsement:
- “For deposit only to account number [insert your account number here].”
Then, if your check gets lost or stolen, it’s much more difficult for someone else to get your money.
Use this method if you don’t plan to deposit the check or cash it right away after endorsing it.
Method Three: Sign the check over to someone else
You may be able to sign the check over to someone else. This is known as a third-party check.
Many banks don’t allow this type of endorsement because sometimes this technique is used for theft and fraud.
So, you will need to find out the bank’s policy regarding third-party checks.
You will need to check with both the checkwriter’s bank and the bank where the check will be deposited to see if they allow third-party checks.
To create a third-party check, you will need to write the following in the endorsement space below your signature:
- “Pay to the order of [insert name of new payee].”
This method basically turns your check into a brand-new check for someone else. You are essentially paying that person with the check you received. Now, the person you sign the check over to will also need to sign it as well. So, make sure that you leave enough room for the other person to sign in the endorsement area as well.
FAQs on Endorsing a Check
Okay, so now you know the ways that you can endorse a check, I just want to cover some frequently asked questions.
What if my name is spelled wrong?
I mentioned this a little before, but I’ll briefly cover it again now. If your name is misspelled or appears incorrectly on the check, then sign it using the incorrect version, and then put the correct version after that.
Can I deposit a check without endorsing it?
Yes. Checks don’t always have to be endorsed. It depends on the bank though. Some banks do allow you to deposit a check without a signature, an account number, or any other information written on the back. This can help to keep your information private. However, it can be a good idea to write “For deposit only” in the endorsement area.
How can I endorse checks payable to multiple people?
What about checks that are payable to more than one person? How do you endorse those? Well, it’s simple. It all depends on how the check is written. If the word “and” appears between the names on the check, then everybody will need to sign it.
How can I endorse business checks?
What about business checks? How do you endorse those? Because the check is payable to the business, then an authorized person needs to endorse the check on behalf of the business.
So, you would sign the name of the business as it appears on the “Pay-To” line.
Then, you need to sign your name and write your title within the company, like “Owner,” or “Accountant,” for example.
You would also need to add any restrictions, like “For Deposit Only.”
It’s important to note that anyone who endorses a business check must be authorized to handle funds for the company.
Why do I need to endorse checks?
When you are paid with a check, you need to endorse it so that you can deposit it into your account. By endorsing the check, authorize the bank to collect payment. It basically gives the bank the authority to handle the funds associated with the check.
As you can see, there are a few ways to endorse a check and it’s not quite as complicated as you might think. All it requires is a signature, and if you want to protect against theft and fraud, then you can do a restrictive endorsement instead.
Endorse your check and get your money!