Receiving a check can be a wonderful experience, especially if the check is a gift from someone or the result of hours of hard work. When you receive a check, your first action should be to deposit it in your bank account, but this is a task that is easier said than done.
Sometimes you may not have the time to go to the bank, or you may not be in the mood to deal with the various procedures. And in these situations, what can you do? After all, the check is in your name and that makes you the only person who can deposit it – right?
But what if it was possible to sign the check over to someone else – so that they can cash it for you? Down below we have gathered some information regarding checks and the various ways they can be deposited into your account. Here you will find everything you need to know about the cashing process and who is allowed to do it.
Can I Sign A Check Over To Someone Else?
The short answer to this question is yes, you can sign a check over to someone else. However, this does not mean that the process is easy or that your bank will accept the check once it has been deposited.
The action of cashing a check is actually a lot more complicated than you might think, especially when you consider the process the bank uses to verify the checks and their authenticity.
At the end of the day, your bank will take all the checks that have been deposited and it will organize them by the bank that first issued them. Your bank will then send these checks to their respective issuing banks, requesting the payments that are listed on the front of each check.
When the issuing bank receives the checks, they must verify that the checks have been written by their clients. If everything seems to be in order, then the bank will issue the money to the receiver, with the process usually taking a few days.
If you sign your check over to a different person, then you are introducing a new party into the complicated process and some banks may not be comfortable with this and refuse to accept the check.
Beyond that, the bank will also have to confirm that you trust the person you have signed the check over to, which is another element that could make cashing the check more difficult than it usually should be.
How Do I Sign Over A Check Over To Someone Else?
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to sign a check over to another person, then you need to make sure that you are signing it over in the correct way. If you don’t, then you could risk your bank denying the check and viewing you and your friend with suspicion.
Traditionally, when you are ready to transfer a check into your bank account, you will be expected to sign the back of it with your signature. This process is called ‘endorsing the check’ and it verifies the bank that the check was made out to you and your account.
When you wish to sign a check over to someone else, you must first endorse the check with your signature and then locate the ‘notes’ box on the check. This is usually a small area that is located underneath the signature line, where you can write information for the bank.
On this section of the check, you need to write the words ‘Pay to the order of’ followed by the name of the person you are signing the check over to.
The combination of your signature and that message, allow the bank to acknowledge that you have signed the check to someone else who you trust.
The bank can then either accept the check or reject it, with the decision being made during the cashing process.
Can I Use An ATM To Deposit My Check?
If you want to cash a check but don’t have time to go to the bank, then you could use an ATM as a faster alternative. Most ATMs are now capable of accepting checks and can be used to deposit them into your bank account.
However, if you have signed the check over to someone else, they should never use an ATM to deposit the funds. Although most ATMs are capable of chasing checks, they should only be used when dealing with straightforward transactions.
So trying to deposit a check that has been signed over to someone else might be too complicated for the machine to handle. And this could result in the check being denied or the check not being cleared after it has been cashed.
The person you sign your check over to should always go to the bank to deposit the money, as explaining the situation to the bank teller will help to minimize any possible errors or problems that could occur.
With the development of online banking and direct deposits, many people do not regularly write checks. However, every so often you may receive a check payable to you, and you may even want to deposit it into the checking account of someone else. This is where signing over a check comes in. A third party check is a personal or business check where the recipient has signed the check over to someone else.
Signing over a check lets you essentially give the amount on the check to someone else, and allow them to deposit it into their bank account, or cash it. It is useful if you need to pay someone and have a check written to you.
Why might I want to sign over a check?
There are a number of reasons you may want to sign over a check. If you do not have a bank account, for example, then you will not be able to deposit checks, or if you owe someone else money and it is more convenient to give them the check than to deposit the check into your own account before paying them.
You should ensure that the person is willing to accept this to pay them, instead requiring cash or for you to write and sign a check yourself, where the issuing bank will be your bank.
You should never agree to give someone else money in exchange for a third party check, especially a stranger, as it is likely that the check bounces and you are left out of pocket.
How do I sign over a check?
Signing over a check to someone else is a simple process, but there are a few hoops to jump through as it is very easy for this to be used fraudulently. For example, a person looking to make money illegally may offer a third party check in exchange for cash, but when you go to pay the check in, the bank refuses to accept it as the check is false or they know the issuing bank will not pay the amount, or the check may bounce. This can have a large impact on your personal finance situation.
Step 1: Check that the bank allows this.
First, you need to check that both the receiving bank and issuing bank will accept a signed over check. Many banks and credit unions do not accept third party checks due to the use of these in check cashing scams and doubts as to the check’s legitimacy. Most banks strictly enforce their own rules and say that the only person who can receive payment from a check is the one who it was originally written to.
Step 2: Sign the check over
If the banks are willing to accept a signed over check, then you can proceed. You sign over a check, or endorse a check, by taking a check written out to you, then signing on the top line in the endorsement area on the back of the check, then write below this “Pay to the order of:” then the recipient’s name. They then sign below this on the third and final line.
Step 3: Deposit the check
One you have the endorsed check, you can take this to the bank to deposit. For third party checks, you cannot use mobile deposit to deposit the check, nor can you deposit the check at an ATM. Both of these systems are highly automated and will not deposit the check in the recipient’s bank account. Instead, you will have to go into a bank branch to deposit the check. A lot of the time, the bank policies will require you to go in person with the endorsed check to sign the check over to someone. Sometimes, banks require ID as well.
If you have previously checked with the bank or credit union, correctly filled in the endorsement area on the back of the check, and gone to the branch in person, then the bank should accept the third party check without issue.
Congratualtions, you now know how to sign a check over to someone else.
What can I do instead?
If you do not wish to endorse a check, there are many alternative ways to give money to a third party. Third party check signing should be a last resort as these type of check deposits are often frowned on by a financial institution.
If you were considering signing over a check because you do not have a bank account, you should open a bank account. Free checking accounts, without any monthly fees, are available, especially at online banks.
If you do not wish to do this, you cannot deposit a check, but you could use a check cashing service. A check cashing company will take a check and exchange it for cash. They do charge a fee based on the value of the check.
If you were considering doing this as you cannot get to a bank branch, or because you wish to save time, many banks and credit unions offer mobile deposit, where you can upload a photo of the check and not need to go to the bank. Mobile check deposit is very convenient, although once you deposit a check, it is a long process to see the money added to your own finances.
If you already have the necessary funds in your checking account, you could use direct deposit to pay them, instead of signing a check over to someone. Direct deposit tends to be a shorter process than depositing a third party check.
Another option, if you have a checking account, is to sign a check to the third party, and date it so that you have time to deposit the check and make sure you have the extra cash in your bank account to pay them. Please remember that the process of having the funds available in your account can take a few days and if this cash is not in your account before the payment is requested, you may go into your overdraft and have to pay a fee.
To summarise, to sign a check over to someone, you should:
- Check the person you are paying is willing to accept funds in this format.
- Check the issuing bank and the receiving bank will accept endorsed checks.
- Sign the top line of the endorsement area
- Write “pay to the order of” followed by the name of the recipient on the second line.
- Have the recipient sign the third line of the endorsement area.
- Go to the bank with the person to deposit the check in their account.
While you cannot predict all the possible problems that can crop up when signing over a check, following these steps should make sure that there are as few issues as possible. If you do run into any issues, remember to talk to your bank. It is better to be overly careful than to lose your money, and safer to ensure the funds are in your account before paying another person. While a lot of scams that try to get people to hand over money had evolved to use online transfers between different banks, there are still some money-swindling scams that use checks.
Always be extra careful if you are sending money to someone that you do not know, or someone that you have not sent money to before.