How to sign over a check

Checks may be on their way out as a popular payment form, especially when compared to credit card and ACH payments. But if you need to know how to sign over a check, you’ve come to the right place.

Sometimes you may want to let another person or business deposit a check originally made out to you. Learn more about how to sign over a check.

Key takeaways

  • Checks signed over to someone else are called third-party checks.
  • Not all banks accept third-party checks.
  • To sign over a check, you usually write “Pay to the order of” with the new recipient’s name below your endorsement on the back.
  • An alternative to signing over a check is to deposit the check into your own account and then transfer the money by writing a new check or sending the funds electronically.

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Steps to sign over a check to someone else

Signing over a check to someone else is a way to grant another person or business permission to deposit a check originally made out to you. Once a check is signed over, it’s known as a third-party check.

Here are the steps to properly sign over a check and avoid delays in transferring funds.

1. Confirm the recipient’s financial institution will accept the check

Before signing the check over, the new recipient may need to verify that their bank will accept it. If the recipient’s bank does accept third-party checks, the bank may have specific requirements, like presenting an ID when the third party cashes the check.

2. Endorse the check

Once you know the check will be accepted, the next step to signing over a check is to endorse it. You endorse a check by signing your name on the back of the check in the endorsement area. This is the same place you would sign to deposit a check into your own account.

3. Designate the new check recipient

Once you’ve endorsed the check, it’s time to designate whom you’re signing it over to. It’s typical to write “Pay to the order of” with the recipient’s name. This often goes on the back of the check, right under your signature. You can check with the financial institution to ensure this is required. 

4. Give the check to the recipient

Since you’re signing over the check to a new recipient, they will be the one responsible for cashing or depositing the check. In most cases, you’re done at this step. However, some banks may ask you to be present with a form of ID to help prevent fraud or identity theft.

Graphic that shows the steps to signing over a check.

FAQs: Signing over a check

Still have questions about the process of signing over a check? Check out some frequently asked questions below.

Where do you sign a check?

If you’re the person writing the check, the signature line is typically located in the bottom right-hand corner. For more information, read up on how to write a check.

If you’re the recipient who’s endorsing the check, you can find the endorsement area on the back of the check.

What if the recipient’s financial institution doesn’t accept third-party checks?

If the recipient’s financial institution doesn’t accept third-party checks, you could deposit the check into your own bank account first. Then you can wait for the funds to become available and write a new check to the recipient. You can also try sending the funds using a money transfer service like Zelle®

How long does it take for money to deposit in a checking account?

According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an in-person deposit of less than $225 can typically be accessed in full by the next business day. If the deposit is $225 or more, you may be able to get $225 the next business day and the remaining money the day after.

Can you deposit someone else’s check in your account?

If someone signs a check over to you properly and your financial institution allows third-party checks, you may be able to deposit that check into your own account. Restrictions vary by bank, so make sure your bank will allow it. You may also need the original recipient to be present.

How to sign over a check in a nutshell

When signing over a check to someone else, it’s important to plan ahead. Not all financial institutions accept third-party checks, so it helps to do your research before signing over a check.

If you’re unsure whether the recipient’s bank accepts third-party checks or you don’t want to sign over a check, you could deposit the funds yourself and write a check payable to the recipient or use a money transfer service.

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