How to Endorse a Check: Steps, Tips, and Tricks

Banking
Updated: 9th Oct 2021
Written by Jennifer Pacheco
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Banking
October 9, 2021
Written by Jennifer Pacheco

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If you’re given a check, whether it be for business or personal reasons, you have to endorse it before cashing or depositing it into a bank account.

The process is simple. All you have to do is sign your name on the back of the check. If you need to or want to, you can also write additional details on the back of the check if needed to process the check correctly.

But a signature is usually the only required action you’ll need to get the funds. Additional details are to protect you and to avoid possible fraud.

How to Endorse a Check

Endorsing a check is so simple once you know the process. All you have to do is turn the check onto its back and find the endorsement area.

You’ll see the words’ endorse check here’ in all capital letters on a line at one end of the check with a blank space directly above it. This is where you’ll want to sign your signature.

Before you put the pen to the check, double-check that it’s your name on the front of the check.

If the name on the check and the endorsement signature does not match, you won’t be able to cash the check. Also, make sure you use a blue or black pen when signing the check.

For additional precaution, make sure all the details on the check are correct and valid. Go over any additional bank guidelines you need to before endorsing a check, too.

>> More: How to Write a Check

Different Types of Check Endorsement

Often, people don’t realize that there are actually different types of check endorsements. See below for details.

Blank Endorsement

A blank endorsement does not mean the endorsement itself is blank. Instead, it means that the endorsement only includes the payee’s signature. No further details are necessary.

It’s highly recommended that you do not use the blank endorsement method unless you’re about to deposit the check or cash it immediately after.

Endorsement in Full

An endorsement in full can be seen as a third-party check, enabling you to grant the funds to someone else.

Once the check is granted, the “third-party,” or person who is now receiving the check, can endorse it and choose to cash or deposit it into their bank account.

All you have to do to endorse a check in full is write “pay to the order of” and the person’s name afterward on the back of the check-in the endorsement area. Then, you sign your name under that phrase, and you’re good to go.

Restrictive Endorsement

A restrictive endorsement only requires you to sign the check in the endorsement area and then put “for deposit only” on the line below the signature.

That way, the check can only be deposited and cannot be chased. You can go further and write “for deposit only” and then include the bank account number after the phrase. That way, the check can only be deposited into that specific account.

>> More: What Is a Bank Routing Number?

Where Do You Endorse a Check?

It’s relatively easy to find the endorsement area on a check. All you have to do is flip the check over and find the area where it says, “endorse check here.” Underneath the phrase, you’ll find either a box or a couple of lines where you can sign your name.

Below the endorsement area, you’ll find an area that states, “do not write, stamp, or sign below this line.”

That will be your sign to not go below that line. If details need to be written on the back of the check, they must go above this area.

When Should You Endorse a Check?

The best time to endorse a check would be immediately before depositing it – personally, I endorse it when I’m at the teller’s stand.

You should never endorse a check if you are not going to the bank shortly after. This will prevent any attempted fraud of stealing your funds.

If you do endorse the check early, it’s suggested that you write “for deposit only” after that and include your specific bank account number.

Do You Have to Endorse a Check Made Out to You?

In some cases, certain banks don’t require you to endorse a check made out to you. However, it is highly unrecommended to not endorse a check.

When you get paid via check, that payment is for you, and the endorsement is your signature, proving that you are cashing or depositing the check.

What Do You Need to Endorse Checks?

Just the check itself, a black or blue pen, and your signature with any special instructions in the endorsement area of the back of the check.

Can I Deposit Someone Else’s Check in My Account?

The only way you can deposit someone else’s check into your account is if the two of you agree on an endorsement in full.

As mentioned above, this means that the person to who the check was originally made out needs to write “pay to the order of” with your name in the endorsement area. Then, you’re good to go.

>> More: Can You Deposit Cash At an ATM?

Can I Deposit a Check without Endorsing It?

Sometimes you can, depending on the bank you have. That would mean that you’re processing the check anonymously.

Often, this will only be allowed if the sum of the check is not too large. You’ll also need to bring proper identification.

If approved, the bank may put a hold on the money before you can withdraw the funds from your account.

How Do Third-Party Endorsements Work?

A third-party endorsement is just another way to word an endorsement in full. The payee that has the check made out to them simply signs it over to someone else by putting “pay to the order of” with the person’s name afterward.

Not all banks will accept this sort of check. That’s why it’s highly recommended to cash the check yourself as the payee and then write a brand-new check for the person you’re paying.

>> More: See the Best Online Bank Accounts

Bottom Line: How to Endorse a Check

All in all, endorsing a check is a simple process. Once you get it down, you’ll never forget it – like riding a bike.

Just abide by the rules and regulations to properly endorse, and you’ll be golden.

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Jennifer Pacheco
Jennifer Pacheco attended the University of Dartmouth, Massachusetts and earned her degree in English Writing & Editorial Work. She is a seasoned writer with over 5 years of professional work under her belt, and supplies easy-to-read information that's highly educational, engaging, and conversational to help you make the most of your money.