If you have a checking account, you've probably dealt with depositing checks. In general, checks are meant for the person they are written out to. When you are the payee, you're the only person that can do anything with that check.
However, sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you need to endorse a check to someone else, or you need to deposit someone else's check into your account. Different banks and credit unions have different rules, but many banks allow this under certain conditions.
Is Depositing Someone Else's Check Into Your Account Allowed?
There may be a case in your life where a friend or family member asks you to deposit their check into your account. This could be because they are unable to deposit the check or because they want to transfer the money from the check directly with you.
In general, many banks and credit unions allow this. However, you'll want to check with your financial institution before you initiate the process. If you do not follow their specified rules, it can result in the check being voided.
Call your bank and explain that you intend to deposit a check that has been made payable to someone else. Ask what you need to have them write on the back of the check, and be sure to ask if you both need to be present to deposit it. Some banks require a form of ID from the other person so that they can validate the identity of who is signing over the check.
Having Someone Endorse a Check So You Can Deposit It In Your Account
The exact process whereby someone endorses a check so that you can deposit it into your own account may vary from bank to bank or credit union to credit union. In general, this involves the person writing your name on the back and signing the check. Every check has a specified area on it where the payee can write their name or other information.
Typically, this involves writing the phrase "Pay to the order of: Your Name" and signing their name underneath your check. Again, be sure to check with your financial institution to make sure that you are going through the process correctly.
Having Someone Endorse a Check So You Can Deposit It In Their Account
Depositing a check for someone into their own account is a bit more straightforward as it does not involve the transfer of payees.
If you can, it is a good idea to get a deposit slip from the person who wants you to deposit the check. They can write their account information on it, sign the back of their checks, and all should go smoothly at the bank. This also means you'll have a clear record of the money you deposited to give to the payee.
If you cannot get a deposit slip, you can have the payee write "For Deposit Only" on the back of their check, along with their account number, and then sign it.
Alternative Ways to Deposit a Check
If you or someone else needs to deposit a check, but you are having trouble getting to a branch, there are other hassle-free ways to solve this problem.
Many banks and credit unions offer mobile check deposits, and you can encourage your friend or family member to use this and then transfer the money directly to you once it is processed. If the financial institution does not offer mobile deposit, check and see if they offer ATM deposit.
In addition, many credit unions participate in shared branching that allows members to conduct business at other credit union locations.
Protect Your Checking Account
You should always be wary when depositing checks that are not intended for you or checks that you are not sure of the origin of into your account. If you deposit a bad check, even unknowingly, you can end up in a bad situation.
If a financial institution determines that you have deposited a bad check, you can be met with penalties. For one, you may be responsible for paying the check back to the bank. The bank can freeze your account, and in some extreme cases, even close it. If you've used the funds to pay a bill or make a car payment and the check bounces, these payments could be canceled and affect your credit score.
Overall, you want to avoid depositing checks into your own account until you are sure they are valid. You can call the bank that issued the check at their customer service line to verify that it is for a valid amount.
Click below to find out ways to protect your checking account.