Check deposit without endorsement

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I took a Citi check for deposit to my local Fidelity investment center. Check was scanned and accepted by an adviser. I then remembered I had forgotten to endorse the check. However, the adviser told me it was not required and not to worry. Is it possible to deposit a check without endorsing it?

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Yes. Clearly, per your experience.


Yes. Years ago, I worked out of town for months at a time. I left deposit slips with my administrative assistant who used them to deposit my paychecks and expense reimbursement checks in my bank account by mail. No endorsements, no problems.

A "blank endorsement" (signature only) allows a check to be deposited or cashed. A "restrictive" endorsement may indicate "for deposit only" or similar, such that the check may only be deposited. In the absence of an endorsement, the receiving institution's policies govern, but most will deposit the check in the account of the payee if possible. If you gave the cashier your account number on a deposit slip or similar, or if you have a unique name used by no other customer, the bank will figure it out or contact you to resolve.

In the era of paper transactions, check writers could use their "cancelled" checks to prove payments made and acknowledged by the payee. IMO, with today's electronic records, payee signatures are less meaningful. A check writer can prove payment by their bank statements or receipts / statements provided by the payee.

IME if the payee name matches the name on the account to which it's deposited then it's fine. I try not to deposit unendorsed checks, but have done so a few times and have never had one rejected.

All an endorsement really is is just a signature guarantee that you will be personally responsible for the amount of the check against your personal funds in your account should the check not clear.

I've had Alliant accept and reject checks without endorsement via their mobile deposit app.

Based on 1970's info, many banks then provided what was referred to as "Guaranteed endorsement" if a check was deposited into an account bearing the same name as the payee on the check. I have no idea if this is still referred to in this manner or if it is common for FIs to mention this sort of thing any more.

Clearly, many banks allow deposit via ATM without endorsement.

Can it be returned? Yes. Will it be returned? Not likely unless it is several thousands of dollars. Even then, you may never know. Chances are the bank stamped it for you (or their system did it electronically). If they did neither AND it gets returned, they will likely stamp it with a generic endorsement and reprocess it behind the scenes. Signed, a guy who managed the back office at a bank for 10 years.

The signature just helps if there are any claims of theft or fraud. You can also just write "For Deposit Only. XXXXXXX (account #)" regardless of the name on the check (it could get rejected if the name isn't on the account but usually not).

Yes. From time to time I'm depositing my friend checks without any endorsement into his Wells Fargo account. If you know account number and name on the check matches account, no problem.

There's a lot of incorrect information in this thread.  Negotiable instruments are governed by Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code.  A check can be negotiated without the indorsement of the payee under certain conditions, but no, you can't just write "for deposit only" on a check that is made out to someone other than the account holder. 

I have several rent checks per month that go to Wells Fargo without my endorsement with no problems. Chase refused to deposit $50 check into my account because it was payable to me and another party even with the other party's endorsement.

Hot Dog Vendor: [Brenda hands him a check, he stares incredulously] A check?

Brenda: Yeah, but it's a good check. See, Chris' mom wrote it to Chris 'cause Chris bought her something, I can't remember what. Then I bought Chris some press-on nails, I gave Chris the difference, and she wrote the check over to me. So I'll write the check over to you, you keep the difference, and I'll take the hot dog. So, you got a pen?

Hot Dog Vendor: Get outta here!

Brenda: Wait! I'm starving, you'd rather throw it away than give it to me?

Hot Dog Vendor: I work on a cash-only basis.

Brenda: But it's a perfectly good check!

Hot Dog Vendor: No! I'll make it very clear. you slip me the cash, and I'll slip you the weiner.

I have deposited many checks in ATMs with no signatures, never had an issue.

I have had many clients go into branches to deposit checks into my account (without my signature), never had an issue.

However, one time a smart-ass roommate wrote me a check and wrote "for snuff films" on the memo line. It was rejected.

greling said:   All an endorsement really is is just a signature guarantee that you will be personally responsible for the amount of the check against your personal funds in your account should the check not clear.
 What? No.
(b) If an indorsement is made by the holder of an instrument and it is not a special indorsement, it is a "blank indorsement." When indorsed in blank, an instrument becomes payable to bearer and may be negotiated by transfer of possession alone until specially indorsed.

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