How to Endorse a Check

Learn where and why to sign your name on a check to deposit or cash it.

When someone writes you a check, you must endorse it before you deposit it. Endorsing a check means signing the back of it — once you’ve done that, you can deposit it in your bank account or cash it.

Check endorsements enable people and banks to specify methods of deposit. Types of check endorsements include:

  • Blank
  • Restrictive
  • Special
  • Mobile
  • ATM deposit

Learn how to endorse a check properly to prevent fraud or other problems with your deposits. Then, find the best bank in which to deposit your check.

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Where to Endorse a Check

Checks typically have a designated 1.5-inch section on the back for your endorsement. The endorsement area is marked with lines and instructions that say, “Do not write, stamp or sign below this line.” Try to keep your entire signature and any other instructions in that area.

Types of Check Endorsements

To cash or deposit a check, you must first endorse it. Here are the different ways you can endorse a check.

Blank Endorsement

According to check endorsement rules and regulations, a blank endorsement occurs when you sign your name on the back of a check that doesn’t name you — or anyone else — as the payeeIf you don’t know when to endorse a check like this, make sure you do it in the presence of a teller or right before you deposit it at an ATM or via your smartphone. Anyone who presents a blank check can cash it, so make sure you don’t lose it or sign it before you’re ready to deposit or cash it.

Restrictive Endorsement

A restrictive endorsement places a constraint on the check so that when it’s transferred from one person to another, there’s a restriction. An example of a restrictive endorsement is writing the phrase “for deposit only” with your signature on the back of the check. You can only deposit restrictive endorsement checks into a bank account.

Find Out: Every Type of Check Fraud You Have to Worry About

Special Endorsement

A special endorsement occurs when the payee wants to sign over the check to someone else. In this case, he must write the full name of the person to whom it’s going on the back of the check and sign his name, as well. Banks take a risk when they cash these kinds of checks because anyone can find a signed check and fill in the endorsement information.

Mobile Check Deposit Endorsement

A mobile check deposit is one made when you use a bank app and take a picture of the front and back of the check with your mobile phone to deposit it in your account. In this case, you sign your name at the top of the back of the check.

Once you deposit a check this way and receive confirmation from your bank, write “void” across the paper check or destroy it. To reduce their liability, financial institutions typically allow customers using this method to deposit only up to a certain amount per day or month.

Related: 15 Best Mobile Banking Apps and Services

ATM Deposit Endorsement

Check payment methods include depositing a check in your ATM and waiting for funds to become available. You must sign the check at the top on the back before you deposit it, and you can add other information depending on what type of endorsement you want.

Find Your Endorsement Solution

Many different types of check endorsements represent different information, including which party is the payee. Endorsing a check correctly can save you a headache in the long run, such as your deposit not being processed correctly, so that you can access your funds as soon as possible.

Up Next: How to Read and Write a Check

About the Author

Chris Seabury is an advocate for the ordinary investor. He has written about topics on personal finance, insurance, economics, current events, college planning, retirement, taxes and investing for Investopedia, Google and Yahoo. He is also the Administrator for Colorado Valley Wealth Management, which works with investors to help them realize their lifetime goals.