How to Endorse a Check: Checks 101

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Do you know how endorsing checks work? Let us break it down for you.

We live in the digital age. Believe it or not though, checks continue to be used by millions of Americans every year. They are a popular mode of payment and will be around for the foreseeable future. That is why you need to know how endorsing checks work.

Did you know that over 60% of retail payments are made out by checks?

That metric includes only retail. There are scores of other areas where checks come in use. So, before you call checks antiquated and old-timey (Gen Z, we’re looking at you!), let us assure you that checks aren’t disappearing any time soon.

You might need to cash a check someday even if you don’t use checks on a regular basis. If you’re not familiar with checks, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve created our Checks 101 series.

Now, let’s go ahead and find out what endorsing a check means.

What does endorsing a check mean?

In simple terms, endorsing checks is the last step in completing a check transaction where the recipient signs their name on the back of the check. Endorsing the check helps the bank verify a person as the recipient and authorizes the transaction. That is how the transaction is wrapped up and the recipient of the check gets the money.

Still confused who signs the back of a check? It is the receiver whom the check is made payable to, that signs.

Why do we need to endorse the check?

There are a few reasons why we have to endorse the check. We have listed them for you.

Blue and green image with signed check. It lists reasons to endorse a check. Endorsing a check can be done to complete a check transaction, enable to bank to authorize a transaction, allow people to sign a check over to someone else, or help prevent misuse if the check is lost.
  • Completes a check transaction. When someone pays you with a check, your last step will be to sign it before depositing or cashing it.
  • The receiver must sign the check in order for the bank to authorize the transaction.
  • Allows people to sign over a check to someone else. If you receive a check and want someone else to be able to cash it instead, this is one effortless way to do so. This could happen for a number of reasons:
    • You owe that money to a third party.
    • The check was mistakenly put under your name but belongs to someone else.
  • It helps prevent misuse if the check got lost. If you’re paying someone and want to prevent fraud, you can clarify who should be depositing the check. You can also add restrictions to ensure the check is used as intended.

Ways to endorse the check

There are three ways to endorse checks. They are:

1. Blank endorsement

This is when you sign the endorsement area on the back of the check with no restrictions. It can be deposited by anyone regardless of whether their name is written on the check. You can endorse the check in this manner for immediate deposits.

2. Special endorsement

This type of endorsement requires the payer to write down the words, “Pay to the order of” along with the payee’s name.

Usually, banks will not cash these types of checks without the payee being present. This is done as a measure of fraud protection.

3. Restrictive endorsement

You can endorse the check in this method by adding a “restriction” in the endorsement area of the check. This is done to minimize the chances of theft if the check gets misplaced or stolen.

Common “restrictions” are added by writing “for deposit only” or “for deposit only to account” or “for mobile deposit only”.

Why is it important to endorse the check correctly?

It is important to endorse the check correctly because failing to do so will cancel or stop the transaction. If done incorrectly, the check will be voided. You don’t want that to happen. It is advised to be careful when filling out and endorsing a check to avoid delays in payment and other hassles.

How to endorse the check – Step by step

We have compiled all the steps you need to take to endorse the check. Let’s take a look!

Blue and green image with three steps. How to endorse a check in three steps: 1. Confirm the information is correct. 2. Turn the check over and find the endorsement area (usually on the left side of check). 3. Sign within the endorsement area as required.

1. Confirm that all the information on the check is correct

Before endorsing the check, we suggest double-checking all the information written on it. Make sure that the payee’s name is spelled correctly, the amount is accurate, and that the payer has signed the check.

2. Turn the check over and find the endorsement area

This is pretty simple. On the back of every check is a boxed space known as the endorsement area. You might see the words “Endorse here” and an arrow sign pointing to this area.

3. Sign in the endorsement area as required

Once you locate the endorsement area, you can sign your name on one of the lines if it is a blank endorsement. Alternatively, you can write down the additional text if it is a special endorsement or restrictive endorsement as discussed earlier.

Endorsing checks FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

We have put together some frequently asked questions regarding endorsing the check. Hopefully, they will clarify any doubts you might have. Take a look:

1. How do you endorse a check into someone else’s account?

Endorsing the check into someone else’s account is done by writing the words, “Pay to the order of”, followed by the person’s name. Remember to put your signature within the endorsement area.

2. How do I endorse a check for deposit?

Endorsing the check for deposit is done by writing the words, “For deposit only to account number”, followed by the account number you want to receive the deposit. Remember to sign your name below and make sure that everything you write is within the endorsement area.

3. How do I deposit a check made out to someone else?

The first step to depositing a check made out to someone else is to contact your bank and enquire if they allow that. Some banks might allow depositing a check made out to someone else, while others might not.

If your bank or credit union permits it, you can have the owner of the check sign it over to you. Your bank might require the payee to write the words, “Pay to the order of”, followed by your first and last name below their signature in the endorsement area. You can take this endorsed check to your bank or an ATM for processing. Some banks might require the payee to be present when you deposit the check that’s been written to more than one person.

If that doesn’t work, alternatively, you could ask the person to use their mobile app to deposit the check into their account, then transfer the funds to you.

4. Can you deposit a check that is not in your name?

Yes, you can deposit a check that is not in your name.

Most banks and financial institutions will allow you to deposit a check that is not in your name. However, some banks might refuse. That’s why we recommend contacting your bank or credit union to confirm first. This can help prevent the check from being voided if your bank doesn’t allow deposits like this one. You might be required to present some form of ID from the person signing over the check.

5. Can I deposit my daughter’s check into my account?

Yes, you can deposit your child’s check into your account.

To do so, you will need to print their name on the back of the check followed by a hyphen and the word “minor”. Next, you’ll need to print your name below your child’s along with your

relationship with them. In this case, it would be “parent”. Additional details like your account number will also be required.

Concluding thoughts

We get it, nothing quite beats the convenience of cashless transactions and digital wallets. However, a major chunk of the American population still uses checks. That accounts for 42% of millennials who report to have used checks for various reasons.

Whether we like it or not, checks will continue to be in circulation for several reasons. It makes sense to brush up on our knowledge when it comes to using them.

Our team works relentlessly to bring you useful and relevant content so that you don’t have to go digging for information. Be it figuring out how cash advance loans online work or staying informed on topics like finances, credit, and entertainment, our personal finance blog “Our Two Cents” is here for you!

<strong><a href="">Anna Thakur</a></strong>
Anna Thakur

As someone that spent a lot of time reading as a kid, I was deeply intrigued by the written word from an early age. My first full-time job post college was writing content for high-end fashion websites. Following my graduation from the MBA program at Pittsburg State University, I found employment in Marketing. For the last couple of years, I have been creating content on several platforms. I am a proud dog-mom to my black labs – Sky & Harry Potter (took fangirling to a whole new level there!), a connoisseur of Indian cuisine, a mediocre artist, and a reality TV addict.

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