On every check you've seen, there have been three things: the amount that the check is worth, the account owner's signature, and a place for you to sign. And in the small text, you've seen "endorse here" somewhere. But what does it even mean to endorse a check? We have the answer for you here.
Endorsing a check means that the checking (or other types of) account owner and the check recipient agree to the exchange of the amount written on the check. The account owner's signature is their confirmation to pay the amount written. The other blank space is for the recipient to sign. This process is a security measure to ensure that the intended person will cash the check.
If your checks were ever to be stolen, your funds would still be safe, thanks to how endorsements work. Continue reading to get a deeper understanding of check endorsing.
How Do You Endorse a Check?
Before endorsing a check, heed this warning: to avoid fraudulent check cashing, wait until right before you're about to cash your check before endorsing it. That way, if it gets stolen or lost, no one could try to cash it.
Below, we'll cover how to endorse a completely blank check.
Step 1: Fill Out All Required Fields
On the front of the check, you'll have four fields to fill out.
The first is "pay to the order of." Here you'll write the name (or company) the check is intended to go to. That person/company is called the payee.
Next is the amount of the check. On the right of the payee line is a box for you to write, however much money you want to put. Write the numerical amount in that box. Additionally, below the payee line is the line where you write out the amount to pay in words (ex: five hundred dollars and twenty-five cents).
The third is to write your signature on the bottom of the check.
Finally, you'd write the date of filling out the check at the top.
Check that everything is correct before exchanging the check with the payee. All information must match before it can be cashed anywhere. If you accidentally make a mistake, check out our article on How to correct mistakes on a check.
Step 2: Give the Check to the Intended Recipient
On the back of the check, there's a blank field that says endorse here. You, the check writer, will leave this blank.
Step 3: Recipient Goes to Cash it
The recipient will then take your check and go to cash it in. If it's an individual and not a business, they'll go to a bank or check cashing store. They'll then provide proof of identification to the teller or cashier to proceed with the check-cashing process.
Who Signs the Endorse Here on a Check?
In step two of the previous section, we instructed that the "endorse here" portion on the back of the check be left blank. We said this because the recipient is to write their signature in this space.
This is also why all the details on the front of the check must be accurate. The bank or check cashing office won't accept it if the information doesn't match. Some leniency will be given if there was a slight misspelling in the name.
How Many Endorsements Can Be on a Check?
The number of endorsements on a check depends on how many payees are listed on the front of the check. This means that only the name or names listed can endorse a check. In some situations, this won't necessarily be the case, but we'll touch more on that later.
Standard practice by banks generally only allows two endorsements per check. Each person's name listed as a payee has to endorse the check.
Do All Checks Need to be Endorsed?
In most cases, a check will need to be endorsed to be cashed in.
However, according to The Balance, it's not always 100% required; you can sometimes cash checks without any endorsement. This helps to protect the privacy of there endorser; their name and account number won't be visible.
Note that it depends on the bank. Some banks may allow the cashing of a non-endorsed check; others may not be. It depends on whether a name or account number is part of that bank's check cashing procedures.
For banks that require an endorsement, Central National Bank shares that the bank can refuse the check at any point (up to three years) if something doesn't look correct. This is true even if the bank gave you access to the money on the check.
Do You Have to Sign the Back of the Check For Deposit?
To ensure a proper transfer of funds to your account, you'll need a signature. The only scenario where you could probably get away with not providing a signature is with personal checks and not business checks.
Let's say you wanted to skip physically going to the bank and make a mobile deposit instead. To do so, you'll need to take a picture of the front and the back of the check. That backside picture will almost always require a signature for it to process.
Can I Write "For Deposit Only" on a Check?
The short answer: yes, you can write, "For Deposit Only."
The long answer: if the money is going to only your account, this would be the preferred action to take. But don't forget to sign, too; both are needed for a proper "for deposit only" transaction.
Doing so adds some security to your check in the event of theft. Because that was written with the endorsement, you won't have to worry about any unauthorized usage.
Is "For Deposit Only" a Proper Endorsement?
Don't worry. It's considered a legitimate endorsement if you were to write that.
What you're doing is adding what's called a restrictive endorsement (which will be covered in the next section).
That instruction means that the check can only be deposited. It can't be exchanged for cash at that moment, even by you, the account owner.
Once again, don't forget to sign it. Otherwise, it's not a complete endorsement.
What Are the Types of Endorsements for Checks?
You can sign a check and include any of these four endorsements.
"For Deposit Only" is the prime example of a restrictive endorsement.
You can place other restrictive endorsements, and nothing else beyond that restriction can be performed.
This endorsement designates the check to a specific payee. That payee can cash the check so long as they provide proper identification that they're the payee.
This is the most common type of endorsement. No restrictions on negotiations are placed on this.
The check must be signed to the name listed as the payee. If there are two names, it must be signed by both people. If you see "or" between the names, then either payee can endorse the check.
Conditional endorsements place guidelines on what must occur before the check can be cashed. In other words, the payee will have to complete the task agreed upon with the payer before the payee can receive the money.
Most banks won't accept checks with this endorsement unless the payer's bank account has a recourse. This is to avoid fraudulence or dealing with insufficient funds.
Can I Deposit Someone Else's Check In My Account?
According to Classroom.synonym.com, the primary way to cash a check written to someone else is if your name is on the account as the payee.
Another way is if the payee endorses the check in your name. They do this by signing their name, then writing "pay to the order of," and leaving space for you to sign your name. This is called a third-party transaction.
Can I Deposit My Husband's/Wife's Check Into my Account?
It's perfectly fine to deposit your significant other's check.
The easiest way would be to place a restrictive endorsement on it first. Then have the account owner sign it first.
Additionally, you can simply just deposit it in the account if you happen to be a joint owner.
Hopefully, we've provided all of the insight you need to understand how check endorsements work.
If you face complications with checks and need cash soon, consider getting a cash advance with your credit card. Just don't overdo it as doing so can hurt your credit score.