To deposit a check, it has to be endorsed. While that might sound complicated, it's a straightforward process with easy steps. If you're new to checks, take a look at our article How to Write a Check.
What is Check Endorsement
Basically, it's just signing the back of the check to authorize the transfer of money from one person or company to another and is an important step to verify the check has reached the person or company intended and that it's processed correctly.
Find the Endorsement Area
On the back of the check, there is one side with space for your signature. Most of the time, there is a line provided, but if there isn't, it will be clear which side you need to sign. There is usually a sentence that says something like "Please sign above, do not write, stamp, or sign below this line" or something similar.
Choose Your Endorsement Type
There are a few different endorsement types:
- Blank endorsement: This is when the back of the check only has your signature, just sign your name, and the check can be cashed or deposited in person at your bank's branch or at the ATM.
- Restrictive endorsement: This is the one you're probably using and is usually what your bank wants when you use mobile check deposit. You'll need to write "for mobile deposit only" followed by the name of your bank underneath your signature. This means the check can only be deposited and not cashed. It's also a reminder that the check has already been deposited if you set it aside while you wait for the check to process.
- Special endorsement: Also known as an endorsement in full, this type of endorsement allows you to transfer a check that's been written to you over to a specific person or entity. After you endorse your check to someone else, it's known as a third-party check. Find steps on how to do this type of endorsement in How to Endorse a Check to Someone Else.
Sign the Back with a Dark Ink Pen
You want to sign your name with a dark ink pen because phone cameras and the bank's check scanners have a hard time picking up color inks, and your endorsement is necessary to cash or deposit the check.
Deposit or Cash Your Check
You're almost done! Now, you can follow the steps in your bank's app to use mobile photo deposit and save yourself a trip, or you can visit your branch to deposit the check inside or at a nearby ATM.
WaFd Bank is Here to Help
No question is too small for our friendly bankers! With WaFd Bank, you also have access to tools and services to help you manage your finances and get the most from your money. We even offer Free Checking* with no minimum balance or monthly maintenance fees, access to over 40,000 fee-free ATMs, and more! Visit us at your neighborhood branch, give us a call at 800-324-9375, or check out what WaFd online banking has to offer.
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