You paid someone for a check because they couldn’t cash it or didn’t want to make a trip to the bank. What do you do now? Are you able to cash someone else’s check?
Yes, some banks will allow you to cash someone else’s check by endorsing the back of the check. Additionally, cashing someone else’s check without their permission can land you in jail.
In this article, we will take a look at all of the ways you can cash someone’s check legally and what might happen to you if you try to cash someone else’s check illegally.
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Can You Cash Someone Else’s Check?
It is possible to cash someone else’s check if you have them endorse the check. By endorsing the check, the original payee is giving over the rights to you, the new payee. Endorsing a check changes a two-party check (i.e. between two parties) to a third-party check (i.e. between three parties).
As long as you follow the proper procedures, most banks will allow you to cash a check from someone else. Some notable banks that will enable you to cash someone else’s check include:
- Bank of America
- First National
- TD Bank
How Can I Cash a Check That’s Not in My Name?
The process for signing cash for a check that is not in your name varies by bank. However, most banks require you to follow these steps:
- The original payee has to sign the spot on the back of the check that says “endorse here.”
- Below the endorsement area, the person endorsing the check will need to write “pay to the order of” the third party’s name.
- The third party or the person signing the check must then sign underneath their name.
- You must bring the check to a financial institution and provide proof of identification.
Most banks will accept a check that is completed using the above steps. However, some will require that the person endorsing the check and the person receiving the check are there in person when the check is deposited.
Additionally, you almost always have to go into the bank to cash a check that is not in your name. ATMs typically will reject checks not in the account owner’s name. You can find out if you can make a third-party check ATM or mobile app deposit by contacting your bank first.
If your bank does not require you to go there in person, it’s a good idea to call your financial institution ahead of time to inform them that someone will be cashing an endorsed check in your name.
What is a Third-Party Check?
A third-party check is simply a check being cashed by someone other than to whom the original check was made out to. Most financial institutions reference a deposited check that is not in the original payee’s name as a third-party check. This is because the check is not being deposited by one of the two parties involved in the initial transaction.
Is There a Fee for Cashing a Third-Party Check?
Some banks will charge a fee for cashing a third-party check at their institution. Most places will only charge non-customers a price, but some will charge a fee regardless of your relationship with the bank.
Make sure to consider bank fees before cashing a third-party check. It may be easier and cheaper for the endorser to cash the check themselves and give you the money instead.
Which Institutions Will Not Cash a Third-Party Check?
Financial institutions are not required to cash a third-party check due to the high risk of fraud. Some banks will refuse high-dollar value checks, while others flat out won’t accept any third-party checks.
Some notable institutions that do not accept third-party checks include:
- PenFed Credit Union
- Wells Fargo
- Allied Federal Credit Union
Can I Deposit a Third-Party Check Using an ATM?
Most ATMs won’t allow you to deposit a third-party check. In some instances, an ATM may accept the check, but it will be rejected once the financial institution reviews it. Consult your bank or keep the check until it clears to verify the deposit.
The easiest way to see if your bank allows third-party checks is a quick Google search. Simply Google ‘your bank’ + ‘third party check’ to find out more information. Most banks have a FAQ that discusses their policies on third party checks.
You can always try to deposit a check through an ATM. However, you should keep the check until you can verify it clears by checking your bank account balance online. You may lose your money if you discard the check and the bank rejects the deposit.
Can I Cash a Third-Party Check Using a Banking App?
In today’s modern era, most banks have applications that allow you to deposit your checks using your phone and a camera. However, most institutions also have restrictions against cashing third-party checks due to the high potential for fraud.
As with ATM deposits, you can try cashing a check via your bank’s mobile app. Keep the check until you’ve verified the check has cleared.
Will Walmart Cash a Third-Party Check?
While Walmart does cash checks between two parties up to a $200 limit, they will not cash a third-party check.
Can You Cash a Third-Party Check Using Venmo or PayPal?
Both Venmo and Paypal have incorporated the capability for their users to cash checks using their phones. However, these services will not allow you to deposit a third-party check.
While the check may go through initially, it will likely be rejected once the company has reviewed it.
What Happens If You Cash Someone Else’s Check?
If you cash someone else’s check that is adequately endorsed, the bank should directly deposit the money into your account. Cashing someone else’s check that was not correctly endorsed will result in the bank voiding the check, and you will not receive the money. Illegally trying to cash a check may result in jail time or civil charges.
Can You Go to Jail for Cashing Someone Else’s Check?
If you knowingly cash someone else’s check without their permission, then you can go to jail. This is a form of check fraud which is a criminal offense.
Other than jail time, you could also:
- Pay significant fines
- Be placed on probation
- Be required to perform community service
Can I Face Civil Charges for Cashing Someone Else’s Check?
If you knowingly and illegally cash someone else’s check, you could also be facing a civil suit from the financial institution that cashed it.
Once the bank is notified of a check cashed illegally not in your name, they will attempt to reverse the funds. If you’ve already removed the funds from your account, then they may sue you to recover those funds and any service costs they incurred because of the fraudulent check.
Can You Cash a Check You Find?
Finding a check on the ground is not like finding a misplaced $20 bill. You are unable to cash the check at a bank. If they accept it and deposit the money into your account, you could be found guilty of check fraud.
If you somehow manage to deposit the check, all checks are traceable. Therefore, if the person who wrote the check or the person who the check was written to notices that the check was cashed by someone else, they could report it as stolen.
If you find a check lying on the ground, it’s best to rip the check-up and throw it in the trash.
Summary: Can I Cash Someone Else’s Check?
In summary, as long as the person giving you the check endorses the check properly, you should be able to deposit the check into your bank account. However, it’s essential to be aware of any fees or additional rules that a bank may have regarding cashing third-party checks.
Additionally, it is illegal to cash someone else’s check without their expressed permission. While most financial institutions won’t cash checks without an endorsement, you could face severe legal and civil repercussions if you get caught.
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