In a world where digital payments are king, we still find ourselves handling the occasional paper check. And things get a bit trickier when a check is made out to not just you but to you and another person. Don’t worry, though – depositing this kind of check isn’t as complicated as it might seem. Here’s a breakdown.
What Should You Do When a Checks Is Made Out to Two People?
First things first: look at how the names are written on the check. If it says “Person A and Person B,” both of you need to sign the check before it can be deposited. This is a common rule in most banks and ensures that both parties agree to deposit or cash the check.
On the other hand, if the check reads “Person A or Person B,” things are a bit easier. In this case, either one of you can endorse the check – no need for both signatures.
6 Steps to Deposit a Joint Check
What if two names are on a check? Consider these steps before you go to deposit or cash your check.
1. A Signature Is Required
Know whether it’s an “and” or an “or” check. This determines whether one or both of you will need to sign, or endorse the check.
2. Endorse the Check Properly
If both signatures are needed, make sure both parties sign the back of the check. If it’s an “or” check, then only one of you needs to sign.
3. Consider a Joint Bank Visit
For “and” checks, it’s often easier to go to the bank together. It can help avoid any back-and-forth with the bank.
4. Have Your IDs Ready
Especially for checks requiring both signatures, the bank may ask for identification from both parties.
5. Decide on the Deposit Account
Before heading to the bank, decide whose account the check will go into, especially for checks requiring dual endorsement.
6. Fill Out Any Additional Bank Forms
Some banks might have extra paperwork for checks made out to two people. Be ready to fill these out.
When Do You Most Commonly See a Check for Two People?
Here are some common scenarios where you might see a check made out to more than one person.
- Gifts and celebrations: Checks for occasions like weddings are often made out to couples.
- Estate and inheritance checks: These checks often involve multiple beneficiaries, so you might see more than one name on the “To” line.
- Business partnerships: Partners may make business-related transactions, so there needs to be clear agreements before depositing these.
Key Points to Remember
- “And” vs. “or”: This small word makes a big difference in how the check can be deposited.
- Make sure every person is aware: When dealing with joint checks, make sure everyone involved is on the same page to prevent any banking hiccups.
- Know your bank’s policies: Different banks may have different rules for depositing checks made out to two people.
- Expect some extra steps: Depositing a check made out to two people is usually more involved than a standard deposit, so be prepared for a bit more effort.
While digital banking is certainly convenient, knowing how to handle a paper check, whether it’s how to write a check or deposit it, is still a useful skill. Next time you get a check written to you and someone else, you’ll know how to handle the situation easily.
- Can a money order have two names on it?
- Yes, a money order can have two names on it, similar to a check. When a money order is issued to two people, it's important to note how the names are listed -- connected by "and" or "or." This determines whether one or both recipients must sign to cash or deposit it, just as with joint checks.
- How do I cash a check with a different name?
- To cash a check with a name that differs from the one on your government-issued ID, typically you would need an endorsement from the person whose name is on the check, along with a note stating “Pay to the order of [Your Name].” You may also need to show additional proof of the transaction's legitimacy, such as a signed agreement, and both parties might need to be present at the bank. Always check with your bank for their specific requirements.
- Can you deposit a joint check into a single account?
- Yes, you can deposit a joint check into a single account. If the check is made out with “and” between the names, both parties must endorse it. If it’s “or,” only one person needs to endorse. The account holder should be one of the named recipients on the check. Always check with your bank for specific policies regarding joint checks.
Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.
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