There are a number of reasons why people might use a blank endorsement. There may be cases, for example, in which the payee is not yet known, and someone uses a check to create a bearer paper which can be used by the payee to access the funds. Some types of negotiable instruments may be commonly presented in the form of a blank endorsement for purposes of facilitating the transfer of ownership smoothly. There are also other settings in which the ability to endorse something without indicating a specific payee can be useful.

  • You can also use a blank endorsement and tell the bank teller in person where you’d like the money to go.
  • When endorsing a check for mobile deposit, be sure to do your best to keep your signature on the line and any other necessary information in the endorsement area.
  • Please keep in mind that most banks will print the account number on the back of the check during processing.
  • This is known as a blank endorsement, but other types of endorsements may change the steps you need to take when endorsing a check.
  • You can try to sign a check over to somebody else, effectively paying that person with the check you received.

Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A., Member FDIC. If there is a discrepancy in the written-out and numerical amounts, or if something is illegible, the check may not be honored. The recipient can only cash the check if the information on the front of the check is correct. To protect yourself from fraud, ensure the fund amount in the right-hand box in numbers matches the amount written out on the second line in the middle. Let’s look at examples of the three types of endorsements in action. How you choose to use the check will determine the type of endorsement you need.

Endorsements with Account Numbers

Then, when you’re at the bank, you tell the teller if you want to cash it or deposit it. A blank endorsement is a signature on a financial instrument such as a check. No payee is specified, so any holder of commission income the instrument could claim payment. The signature essentially turns the instrument into a bearer security. That is, it is not registered to any individual but is payable to the person who possesses it.

A blank endorsement is considered to be risky because the endorser is not restricting the check (or other negotiable instrument). The blank endorsement indicates that whoever is in possession of the endorsed check is considered to be the owner. To avoid such a risk, businesses and individuals should use restrictive endorsements on the checks they receive. After someone writes you a check, you can sign the check over to someone else who can cash or deposit it if you don’t have a bank account. If you deposit checks using your mobile device, follow instructions on your bank’s app. The bank may request that your endorsement indicates that you’re making a mobile deposit.

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  • Financial institutions can reject or decline to process checks that fail to meet this requirement.
  • Your bank may also require you to write its name in the endorsement area.
  • Following these tips can help you avoid the headaches and financial troubles of check fraud.

Banks might not accept checks where the endorsement goes beyond this space. Consult your bank and the organization receiving the check to find out how to write an FBO check for them. This can get tricky if the bank requires both signatures and the person receiving the benefit of the check is incapacitated and cannot endorse it. Some banks will require you to add “Mobile Deposit” to the endorsement when you deposit a check using your phone.

Double Check Your Check

You can save yourself the hassle of having to write a new check, by taking the time to write information clearly the first time. Most checks have an “Endorse here” area, or a specific box on the back of the check. Whether you’re doing it via mobile or in person, make sure you write in the information neatly and within the lines. Whoever is listed as the payee on the front of the check, is the only person authorized to sign it.

Then, either let the teller know what you would like to do with the check or fill out a deposit slip. For example, If the check is written out to “Jane and John Doe,” both parties must endorse the check. However, if the check is made out to “Jane or John Doe,” then either party can endorse the check. There are times when a check is made out to multiple people, such as a parent and child or a couple as a wedding gift. Bank reconciliation, or balancing your checkbook, can help you track checks and other transactions each month.

Typically, the right approach is to first sign your name with the incorrect spelling on the back and then sign it again with the actual spelling on the second line. How to endorse a check made out to multiple payees depends on what the check writer put on the front of the check. If the names are connected by the word “and,” as in Jim and Marsha Smith, banks usually require both parties to sign the back of the check before cashing it.

Why Do You Need To Endorse Checks?

If you’re doing a blank endorsement, sign the check just before you deposit the check. Although these last 2 endorsements are common in business transactions, financial institutions usually have restrictive language in their Terms of Service (ToS) documents. Because of the added level of diligence placed on bank staff to validate and verify the endorsements, bank tellers have a fair degree of latitude for rejecting such checks. In the case of a blank check, the amount payable is left blank, allowing someone to fill it in a later time. People very rarely write blank endorsements which are also blank checks, and such a document could potentially become a serious liability if it ended up in the hands of the wrong person.

Because there is a potential risk of forgery when using special endorsement, banks are discouraged from cashing these types of checks unless the payee is present. Using a mobile banking app to deposit a special endorsement check helps the bank to legitimize the payment and protect your account from fraud. To complete a restrictive endorsement, sign the check in the endorsement area as usual and then write the words “for deposit only” underneath your signature. This means the check will not be cashable at a cash counter, and you can only deposit the funds into a bank account. Blank endorsement is a kind of signature on a financial instrument. It has no designated payee, so the person who possesses it can demand payment, for example, a check made payable to cash and endorsed on the back with the signature of the account held.

Be sure to write ‘For mobile deposit only’ in the endorsement area, so that the bank knows what type of endorsement it is. Now that you know what it means to endorse, figure out the best way to deposit checks. With ATMs and most mobile devices, you can often skip the teller line. You may also be able to eliminate paper checks altogether by getting paid electronically. You’re the only person who can legally collect money from the check writer’s account. However, the easiest way to cash that check (or deposit money you can later spend from your checking account) is to hand it over to your bank and let them deal with it.

Record Your Transactions

It can take days to discover the fraud and you must then repay your bank any funds you’ve withdrawn based on the fraudulent check. Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we’re putting your interests first. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions.

This endorsement prevents anyone else, other than the intended payees, from negotiating (or cashing) the check. Other institutions may ask that you guarantee the endorsement or may insist that you prove your identity before processing the check. To avoid any issues, make sure you understand your financial institution’s guidelines and communicate them to the payee. I just knew it was extremely convenient for us to get the money out of the bank that way.

Here are some pointers to note before you endorse the check for payment. NorthOne is proudly made for small businesses, startups, and freelancers. Our platform makes financial management accessible and affordable. We believe that better banking products can make the whole financial system more inclusive. Now, if the check was made out to you but you’d like to sign it over to someone else, this is possible.

Julia Kagan is a financial/consumer journalist and former senior editor, personal finance, of Investopedia. Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the
exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and
spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors. Our team here at Remitly has put together this guide to help you learn how to endorse a check. You’re trying to get the most value out of the money you spend, so you can help your business grow.


To do this, log into your bank account via the financial institution’s website or mobile app. Typically, you can find instructions for ordering checks under the customer service or account services section. The most common method of check endorsement is a blank endorsement, which is signing your name on the back of the check. No instructions are added to the check, so you’ll have to tell the bank teller whether you want the check cashed or deposited. Sometimes, you might want to transfer the check to another individual, in which case you’ll need to make a special or full endorsement.

This is often the case with checks that are given as wedding gifts. Your bank will probably tell you to deposit the funds into your account first then send the funds differently if you try to endorse a check this way. The check will bounce otherwise and you won’t be able to access the funds. It can be a good idea to accompany this person to the bank to provide proof of identification. Banks frequently won’t accept checks endorsed this way unless the payee is present. Make sure your signature and any other information, such as your checking account number, fit within the designated endorsement area.