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You're excited to cash your check and spend your money, but as you look closely, you notice a spelling mistake. The check writer misspelled your name or part of the written amount: what should you do? Can you cash a check with an error like that? We've researched this topic and have come up with the answer.
Most of the time, you can cash a check with a spelling mistake as long as you can prove that the check was intended for you, and the bank can determine how much it's worth. There are some mistakes; however, that will require a new check to be written.
Everyone makes mistakes, so it's not uncommon for someone to make one while writing you a check. In this guide, we'll discuss some common mistakes that are made when writing checks and how to handle them. Here we go!
Can You Cash A Check With A Spelling Mistake?
Has the check writer made a mistake on a check intended for you? Don't worry; they're still on the hook for it. Making a mistake on a check isn't a way out of having to pay the money.
However, it might take some extra steps to make sure you get your money. This is especially true if the mistake was made in the amount section, as this is particularly difficult to dispute. Keep in mind that different banks have different rules to fight fraud. Some financial institutions are more strict than others.
Also, keep in mind that cashing a check puts the bank at a bigger risk than depositing it. Cashing a check means the bank hands you money, so if there's an error, it's almost impossible to correct it. On the other hand, depositing makes it easy for a bank to fix any problems that might arise. Because of this, most banks will deposit a check with a spelling error more easily than they'll cash it.
How Do You Endorse A Check When Your Name Is Spelled Wrong?
If your name has been misspelled on a check, don't worry: you'll still be able to get your money. The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) says that checks with errors should be honored as long as you can prove that you're the intended recipient.
To endorse the check -- a necessary step when cashing it -- when your name is misspelled, sign the misspelled name on the back near the endorsement line. Then, sign your correct, actual name directly underneath that. Sign it exactly how you would a regular check. If that signature is sloppy or illegible, print the name correctly right underneath that.
Want more information on endorsing a check, including where to find the endorsement section? This article can help: What Does Endorsing a Check Mean?
Can You Deposit A Check Made Out To Your Nickname?
If someone made out a check to your nickname, the same rules apply when your name is misspelled. Whether your uncle writes a check for Susie instead of Susan or your friend writes it for Brad instead of Bradley, you can still deposit it. Some banks will ask to see some appropriate identification but will understand the mistake.
Again, most financial institutions will have less of a problem with depositing a check than they will with cashing it. However, it's still a good idea to endorse the check like you would if your name was misspelled. Write the nickname to whom the check was made out in the endorsement area, then sign the name the account is under directly below that.
If the nickname is so far away from your actual name that the bank can't reconcile the differences, you might need to ask for a new check. People who go by the name "Chip" or other nicknames that don't have anything to do with their actual name, for instance, might face this problem. If this is your situation, ask your bank if you can include your nickname as an alternate name in your account.
Can you deposit a check if the amount is misspelled?
If there's a discrepancy between the numerical amount and the written amount on the check, the written amount is assumed to be correct. If the written amount matches the numerical amount but is misspelled, the bank will try to confirm that it was written for the intended amount. However, if the bank doesn't feel comfortable coming to that conclusion, you'll need to ask the person to write a new check for the correct amount.
The worst-case scenario is that your bank decides they cannot accept the check. At that point, you're at the mercy of the person who wrote the check to give you a new one. Otherwise, there are legal routes you could take, depending on the severity of the issue.
Does A Personal Check Expire?
The date of a check is significantly less important than other parts of the check. Banks have no obligation to honor the date of the check if it's postdated. However, many banks will consider a check to be "stale" six months after the written date. The bank does not technically have to accept a check that has gone stale, though many will accept it.
If the misspelling of the date makes it stale (for instance, if the writer put the wrong year on a check), you should ask them to write a new one. Your bank might still accept it, but that's riskier than merely asking for a new check. Do not attempt to correct any information on a check intended for you, as this could be considered fraudulent.
Did you make a mistake when writing a check for someone else? Never fear, there's probably a way to fix it! Check out this article for details: How to Correct a Mistake on a Check.
Do Banks Check Names On Checks?
Banks generally check the name on a check, but some banks are more strict than others when looking at the parts of a check. This is why it's essential to have your identification available when depositing or cashing a check with a misprint or nickname written on it. When cashing a check, the teller will usually be very careful to make sure the right person receives the money.
Typically, a large check -- for hundreds or thousands of dollars -- will be scrutinized heavily. If this is the case, you will want to make sure everything is correct, including your name. For extremely large checks, the guidelines discussed above will not be sufficient.
Depositing a check via mobile banking is normally more difficult if the name isn't correct. If you plan on depositing it on an app, check with your bank to make sure they'll accept it. Otherwise, plan on asking the person who wrote the check to rewrite it.
Mistakes are common on checks, so many of them can be handled with no problem. Issues like a misspelled date, recipient, or written amount can easily be reconciled. Other issues, like a badly misspelled written amount or a completely different name, will be tougher to dispute. You might need to ask for a new check. Whatever the case, we hope this article has helped you understand how errors on checks are handled. Good luck!