Trying to deposit a check with two names can be tactful to understand, but that notwithstanding, it is possible and it can be done differently in different banks based on their own rules. This article explains how deposits with two names can be sorted out.
If the issuer of the checklists the names with the word “or” in-between them or the names are listed separately, one to each line, then either person may cash the check, without the other’s permission.
If the checklists the names with the word “and” or a “&” sign in between the names, then both parties must endorse (sign) the back of the check to cash the check.
What is the Difference Between “and” and “or” When you Deposit a Check with Two Names?
If the check states that the funds are paid to either party by using “or” instead of “and”, then either one of the two payees named on the check can deposit the funds into their individual bank accounts.
If the check states that the funds are paid to you and another party, then the check deposit could become much more of a hassle. That is if you do not have a joint bank account with the other party.
It’s also a hassle if you cannot get a signature endorsement from the other party. Some banks go further as to require that all parties visit a branch with government ID to verify the signatures.
According to Section-110(d) of the Uniform Commercial Code, if a check payable to two or more people is ambiguous in terms of the payee(s), any of the stated payees can deposit the check into their individual accounts. In every case, all payees must endorse the check with their signatures.
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Two-Party Check-Cashing Bank Regulations
Since refund checks from joint tax returns are paid out to both filers, you’ll have to follow your bank’s policy on check deposits that contain multiple payees (each bank has its own policy).
Banks must account for the risk involved in the possibility that a check was written out to multiple individuals and one of the individuals attempts to deposit all the funds into his or her own account.
Some banks can be very strict. For instance, Bank of America requires that both people must have their names on the account.
That’s for those that receive a tax refund check with two payees (does not apply for regular checks). Popular online bank Ally Bank has the same policy.
Chase and Wells Fargo require that, if you want to deposit a check that is payable to two individuals, both payees must go to a branch in person.
And present government identification to verify the signatures on the back of the check. Other banks are rather lenient. Citibank and online bank Capital One 360 simply require that checks are properly endorsed by all payees.
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How to Deposit a Check with Two Names
It would be best to call your bank ahead before you deposit the check. Also, do not deposit the check through an ATM and hope that the bank will accept it.
If the bank finds that the check deposit was in violation of its policies, it may become much more of a hassle to get the situation cleared up.
Tip: In most cases, you would be better off asking the payer to write two separate checks. For checks issued by government agencies, you’d have to contact them for a reissued check.
For tax refunds, you can contact the Tax Help Line for Individuals at IRS. This is done by calling the toll-free number at (800) 829-1040 to ask for a new check.
When Payees Find Out their Checks Were Deposited Unknowingly
Other parties may not know about the check being deposit without their consent. Once they find out, it may seem logical to pursue the bank(s).
However, that move tends to be ineffective when it comes to retrieving their portion of the check funds.
Ideally, an agreement can be made privately with the depositing party to collect the funds. If not, you would have to take legal action to get the money that belongs to you.
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