How to endorse a check
Without check endorsements a check does not have a documented processing trail or designated use. Check endorsements are recognized and required by U.S. statutory and state law. With an endorsed check, a payee or financial institution can protect themself against liability if the use of the check is challenged.
Endorsing a check is fairly simple and is often required regardless of whether or not the check is to be deposited, cashed or otherwise. Checks can be endorsed with a signature, account number and instruction, but must be done correctly to be valid.
Turn the check over
In order to endorse a check it must be turned over. Checks can only be endorsed on the back of the check.
Locate endorsement box
Th endorsement area is on the back of the left side of the check. An endorsement area indicator such as an X, with the words ‘endorse here’ next to it may be visible. The area below the top 1/4 of the back of the check is for banking use only.
Specify check use
If the check is to be deposited, the words ‘For deposit only’ can be written in the endorsement area. To sign over the check to a third party, the words ‘Pay to the order of’ are used. For cash checking or identification only a signature is all that is required.
Sign the endorsement
By signing below the endorsement, the endorser confirms the validity of the endorsement. If only a signature is used an account number may be written below the signature to clarify the identity of the payee.
Release the check
After the check is endorsed it can either be released to a financial institution or to the designated payee in the endorsement. A deposit slip may also be required along with the endorsed check.
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