Cashing a business check is very similar to cashing a payroll or a personal check. There can be a few differences, however.
Important Check Entry Items
The payer of a check is the person, organization, or business that issued the check. The payer information should include the exact and full issuer name and complete physical location’s street address-not a post office box.
A business check must have the check issue date, a check number, the amount authorized for payment, as well as the payee’s name correctly spelled.
The payer signature can be either an authorized signature stamp that has been previously cleared by the issuing bank or hand-written. If hand-written, as long as the signer’s name and signature is registered with the bank, an authorized agent, such as the accounts payable manager, can sign the check.
Often pre-printed business checks have a watermark imbedded within the paper for security purposes. Holding the check up to a light can help determine if the check is real or a forgery. If none is present and you feel uncomfortable cashing it, contact the issuing agency and ask if there should be one. (Use the telephone book to obtain the number-not one that might be on the check or other contact documentation. If it isn’t a local number, contact the telephone company’s Directory Assistance to get a phone number.)
The issuing bank information should be on the front of the check and include the full name of the bank as well as the issuing branch physical location. Often a phone number is listed as well. If veracity of the check is in question, contact the bank for account verification.
The routing number is an eight- to ten-digit number on the bottom of the check. The routing number designates not only the bank but the branch holding the business account.
In most cases, the business’s checking account number is either just above or next to the routing number.
[Note: Do not accept a business check if the business name, check number, bank information, or account or routing numbers are hand-written. Other elements can be manually entered onto a check, but these items must be pre-printed or it will not be honored by any check-cashing entity.]
Cashing the Check
If the check items are satisfactory, have photographic identification available. When at the cashier window, turn the check over and sign the payee name then present the check and ID to the cashier.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; “Alternative Financial Services: A Primer,” found at: www.fdic.gov/bank/analytical/quarterly/2009_vol3_1/FDIC140_QuarterlyVol3No1_AFS_FINAL.pdf
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC Law, Regulations, Related Acts, 6500; www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/6500-3235.html
Comptroller of the Currency Administrator of National Banks; US dept. of the treasury; FAQs, Answers about Cashing Checks