When you receive a check, you must deposit the amount so that you can use it or save it in your bank account. It’s only a piece of paper until then.
Fortunately, depositing a check is simpler than ever, and once you’ve done so, you can use your funds in a variety of ways, including withdrawing cash, paying bills online, shopping with your debit card or checkbook, and transferring funds electronically.
How to Make a Check Deposit
- You should have multiple deposit options depending on the bank or credit union you choose.
- Using your mobile device to make a deposit is arguably the quickest and most convenient alternative.
- Get the app for your bank. To avoid handing important information to fraudsters, make sure you’re using a reputable app from your bank.
- Start the process by selecting the option to deposit checks.
- Approve the check.
- Take a picture of the cheque on both sides.
- Fill in the blanks with the information from the check. You may need to enter the payment amount and double-check that the app accurately scans the account and routing information on the check.
See How to Make Mobile Check Deposits for further information.
Visit a branch: You can also deposit checks in person at a branch of your bank. Depositing with a teller has the advantage of making more of your money available sooner. Deposits made with bank staff can clear faster, which can be advantageous when making large deposits.
You can usually deposit checks at any credit union that is part of the shared branching network if you use a credit union. You aren’t restricted to using your own credit union; you can visit (nearly) any branch that is open and available at the time you need it.
- When you’re safely inside the branch, sign the check.
- Hand the check to a teller after filling out a deposit slip.
- Before you leave the counter, double-check your new account balance.
Some banks and credit unions allow you to deposit checks at an ATM, which is useful if you can’t get to a branch during business hours. Different banks have different criteria (for example, whether or not you need to use an envelope and a deposit slip), so carefully read the on-screen instructions. In most circumstances, the procedure goes like this:
- Insert or swipe your card.
- Please enter your PIN.
- Select the option to make a deposit.
- Checks and cash should be inserted (either one by one or in a bundle).
- Check to see if the deposit has been credited to your account.
Within a few days, funds are usually available. See our guide on how to make deposits at ATMs for additional information.
You may also be able to mail checks to your bank for deposit. Transferring checks by mail is much safer than sending cash, especially if you use a limited endorsement (see below). Inquire with your bank about the criteria. In most circumstances, a deposit slip and check endorsement are required. You won’t be able to deposit checks as quickly as you would if you used the mail, but you will be able to do so on your own schedule.
In order to deposit a check, you’ll need the following items:
Making a deposit isn’t quite as straightforward as presenting a check to a teller or taking a picture, but it’s close.
- Endorsement: Endorsement is the process of signing your name on the back of a cheque. In theory, this gives your bank (or whoever has the endorsed check) the authority to collect the money, so don’t endorse it until you’re sure the check will arrive at the bank.
- You can use a “restrictive” endorsement for further security, which states that the money can only be placed into the account you designate. That’s a wise precaution in case the check is misplaced or stolen. Sign your name and write “For deposit exclusively to account ###” to limit the endorsement (use your account number instead of the number signs).
- When depositing a paper check, you may be required to fill out a deposit slip. Deposit slips give a bank employee the information they need to deposit money into your account, such as your account number, the amount you’re depositing, and so on.
- Bring appropriate identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued ID, if you’re making a deposit in person. Even if you’re only depositing money into the account and not taking cash, this may be required. If you’re going to another credit union’s branch to deposit a check, you’ll need identification.
If you want to spend all of the money right away (in cash), cashing a check instead of depositing it is a good option. Personal checks can normally be cashed for up to $200 right away, while official checks such as cashier’s checks or tax refunds from the US Treasury may be worth more.
However, taking cash and spending it before knowing if a check is valid is dangerous. You’ll have to refund your bank for any money you took if the check bounces. The only way to be certain that a check is valid is to cash it at a branch of the same bank that issued the check. To put it another way, cash the check at the check writer’s bank—the bank name appears on the check.
Of course, walking around with enormous sums of money is dangerous. Money might be misplaced or stolen. Depositing a check is generally just as simple, allowing you to spend money from your checking account as needed. You can use a debit card to do so, or you can withdraw cash from an ATM when you need it.
Is the check valid?
Before you deposit a check, double-check that it is genuine and try to figure out whether it will bounce. Your bank may charge you fees if the person or firm who issued the check doesn’t have enough money to cover the payment—even if it wasn’t your fault.
If you keep depositing bad checks, your bank may decide to close your account. If you’re worried about a check, call the bank it was written against to double-check that there are funds in the account and to see if the check will bounce.
Where Should Checks Not Be Deposited?
The safest and least expensive method is to deposit the money straight into your bank or credit union. You may be tempted to cash checks in more “convenient” locations, such as payday lending or check-cashing shops. Examine the costs first, as you may end up paying a lot of money. Even supermarkets have fees, which can quickly pile up when dealing with tiny checks.
You should open a bank or credit union account if you don’t already have one—it will save you time and money. Some people, however, are unable or unwilling to open a bank account. A prepaid card could be an excellent option if you fall into this category. Some cards allow you to add money to your balance by making mobile check deposits, which helps you keep your money safe. Others have retail agreements, allowing you to deposit checks into your account at specific stores.
Most Commonly Asked Questions
Is it possible to deposit a check right away?
It takes some effort to get the full amount of a check right away, but it’s a simple process. If the check is less than $200, your bank must make the funds accessible right away. The same is frequently true of government-issued checks. If your check is for more than that amount and you need access to all of the funds right away, cash it at the check writer’s bank. They should be able to offer you the entire amount in cash, which you can then transfer into your account.
Is it safe to use an app to deposit a check?
Depositing a check via smartphone is exactly as safe as using any other online banking service if you use the app affiliated with your bank. Information will not be stolen or seen by would-be thieves because the transaction will be encrypted.