Having Trouble Depositing a Joint Check?
By: Aaron Read of Utopia Management
Most of us at one point in our life have received a joint check. As an accountant I often get asked can’t you just make the check payable to just one of us. As much as we hate to have multiple names on a check that we just want to deposit into our account and be done with these checks are a necessity to protect the rights of the payees on the check. The normal way to deposit these checks is to have everyone that has their name on a check to come into the bank with a picture identification so that everyone can sign off on the check in front of the bank teller. What do you do when not everyone can come to the bank at the same time? If you have heard of a bank signature guarantee then you probably already know the answer to this question. If not then keep reading and I will outline how to get these and how they help you deposit a joint check.
A signature guarantee is where a bank certifies that that a person signing (or endorsing) the back of a check is the person has the legal capacity to sign it, was the appropriate person to sign, and that the signature was genuine. A bank will verify that you sign the check, look at your Identification, and then put their stamp on the check to certify that it was signed correctly. Once all but one of the people that the check was made out to has a signature guarantee on the back of the check then the final person on the check should be able to deposit it.
Although banks are not required to provide signature guarantees they will usually do so if your account is in good standing. Once in a while you may get a teller who has no idea what a signature guarantee is in which case you will need to explain that you want to sign the back of the check and have the bank guarantee your signature so that the other payees can deposit the check in their bank.