Understanding how to endorse a check can seem a simple action, and most times, it is. However, in certain circumstances extra care and attention must be given.
The payee on a check is the person or entity to whom the check is made payable-i.e., who is owed the money. The payee name should be spelled correctly for ease of cashing. If it is too badly misspelled or isn’t the correct name, return the check to the issuing party and request a new one with correct information.
Where to Endorse
The check should have a designated area on the back of the check. It often includes a pre-printed statement or instructions and a blank space followed a signature line. Most checks identify a portion of the check back beyond the signature line as a “do no write” area. That space is reserved for check processing documentation by the cashing and issuing institutions and should never be used by the payer or payee.
How to Endorse
If the check is presented at a counter, whether in a bank or a check cashing business, wait to endorse the check until at the counter to reduce the risk of theft.
In the payee endorsement area, if the entire check amount will be deposited, as a safety measure, first enter the script, “For Deposit Only” then note the receiving account number.
Below the instructions or annotation, sign on the signature line the payee name exactly as it appears on the payee line on the front of the check. If the payee name is misspelled, immediately below that initial signature, sign the payee’s name correctly spelled.
Power of Attorney or Agent Endorsement
When signing when legally on behalf of another, sign in the endorsement area the payee’s name, the name of the agent or POA, and mark each supplemental signature the authorization.
For example, if Mary C. Jones is the payee, but Mary has an authorized Power of Attorney issued to her daughter, Joan M. Archibald, Joan would sign the endorsement area with “Mary C. Jones” then immediately below that sign “Joan M. Archibald, POA.” Joan should present the written and notarized Power of Attorney, along with her photo ID, with the check to the teller or cashier.
Proof of Identity
Many banks, savings and loans, and commercial check cashing businesses require at least one form of identification, often two. One form must be a photo ID. If the payee has no driver’s license, a state issued ID would suffice.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC Law, Regulations, Related Acts, 6500; www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/6500-3235.html
Chase Manhattan Bank, Customer Service, 1-877-682-4273; http://www.chase.com/
Comptroller of the Currency Administrator of National Banks; US dept. of the treasury; FAQs, Answers about Cashing Checks