When you’re given a check in your name, the money is only payable to you. But what if you don’t want to cash the check yourself?
Whether it’s because you don’t have your own bank account or you already need to send some money to another person, signing a check over can be a potential solution.
If you follow the best practices and make sure you have permission to send money this way, it’s easy to deposit the check into a friend or family member’s account. So, how do you sign a check over to someone else?
Signing over a check
A signed-over check, or third-party check, is created when you take a check that is payable to you and endorse it for someone else to deposit. This third party can be an individual, group of people or even a company.
To sign over the check, you need to plan out the process and make sure you do the following things:
- Choose who you want to sign the check over to – simple really, decide who you’re signing over a check to and get all their details. You’ll also need to let them know in advance that you’ll be passing on this check for them to deposit.
- Ensure everyone involved will accept the check – it’s important that all parties involved, from the original payee to the person cashing the check, are happy to accept the check. They should also be kept up to date with the check’s progress, to reduce the risk of any delays and make sure any issues can be resolved.
- Confirm that both banks will accept the check – make sure that both banks accept third-party checks before you endorse it. This lowers the chances of the transaction being blocked or denied. It’s important you do this prior to signing because, if the first bank refuses, the previous party’s signature could cause confusion at the next place you try.
- Endorse the check – to sign over the check, you’ll need to add your name and signature to the “Endorse” section on the back of the check. You’ll also need to write “Pay to the Order of” and the third party’s name underneath – make sure to write this within the box.
- Pass on your check to the third party – the check is now ready to be deposited and the sign over should be complete.
What to know before signing over a check
Now that you know how to sign over a check, it’s important to think about the potential issues that could occur. For example, not every bank will accept a third-party depositing the money. As a result, the process for signing over a check can take a little time.
Here are some things to consider before you sign a check over to someone else:
- Contact the issuing bank and receiving bank – before you sign over a check, it’s important to confirm that both banks accept third-party checks. As they’re both involved in processing the check deposit, they can easily block the transaction if it doesn’t meet their requirements and especially if they think it’s suspicious.
- Go with them to deposit the check – this might not always be possible, but some banks need you to be present when the signed-over check is deposited. Bring along some identification, so they can verify your identity and signature, and confirm that the third party has your permission.
- You can’t deposit the check through an ATM – while many ATMs handle standard deposits, you can’t guarantee that an ATM will be able to process a check that’s been endorsed. The person you’ve signed it over to will need to speak to a teller in the bank – this will give you a better chance of the transaction going through.
- Beware of any potential check cashing scams – when you sign your name on the back of a check, you’re responsible for it being genuine. If this turns out not to be the case, you’ll most likely be charged a fee if it’s returned as unpaid. Make sure you trust the person or company who will be depositing the check, as they’ll be the ones receiving your money. You can visit our Fraud awareness hub for more advice.
- Is signing over a check the best option? – signing over a check should really be a last resort, as the process can be very complicated. If you can, it’s always better to cash the check yourself.
Alternatives to signing over a check
While you may think that signing over a check is your only option, there are several alternatives for you to consider. Most of these are a lot quicker – and less complicated – than signing a check over to someone else.
If your main concern is that you don’t have a bank account, there’s no need to worry – you can still cash the check yourself.
Head to your local Money Services where you can cash a range of different checks, including payroll and tax refunds, or even load the funds onto a prepaid card. Alternatively, the bank which issued the check will usually be able to cash it for you.
If you still want to transfer the money to someone else or need to pay off a bill, you can also set up a money order.
This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to send cash securely. Once you’ve cashed your check, you can fill out the relevant form and deliver the money order in person or by mail. The recipient will then be able to cash the money order at their nearest Money Services in the Kroger Family of Stores.
As you can see, signing a check to someone else can be quite a complex process. Cashing it yourself is a lot more reliable, so signing over a check should only be done in instances where you’re unable to deposit it yourself. But if you get everything in place beforehand and follow the advice we’ve given, it can be a safe way to send money to someone else.
If you would prefer to cash your check yourself or would like to purchase a money order, use our handy store locator to find your local Money Services today.