There are a number of reasons why a friend might write you a check. They could be paying back borrowed money, buying something from you or giving you a birthday present. The simple way to handle a check from a friend is to deposit it in your checking account. However, you might need the cash right away or you may not have an account at a bank or credit union. That’s fine, but you'll have to take certain steps to cash a check from a friend.
Head for the Bank
Take the check to your friend’s bank or credit union. The reason is that your friend’s bank has to cash a check written by one of its own customers as long as the check is less than six months old and there's enough money in the account. A bank doesn't have to cash checks drawn on accounts at another bank or credit union.
Endorse the check. Do this by turning the check over and signing your name on the back. Sign it the same way your friend wrote it on the payee line on the front of the check. The payee line is the one that starts with “Pay to the order of."
Present your identification. You’ll need an official photo ID such as a valid driver’s license, state-issued identification card or other government-issued ID. The bank may not accept a student ID card or other non-government identification so make sure you bring something the bank will accept. Count the cash when the teller gives it to you to make sure the amount is correct.
Take the check to your own bank if you can’t go to your friend’s bank. For example, this could be the case if your friend’s bank doesn’t have a branch in your city. Your bank might cash the check even though it doesn’t have to. If not, you can at least deposit it in your account and your bank will release the funds as soon as the check clears (Reference 2).
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Can I Cash a Check at Any Bank or Credit Union?
- Market Watch: Know the Rules for Cashing Checks
- Chase Bank. “Deposit Account Agreement and Privacy Notice,” Page 16. Accessed March 2, 2020.
- Experian. “Check Cashing: Are the Fees Worth It.” Accessed March 2, 2020.
- Federal Direct Insurance Corporation. “FDIC Consumer News: Beware of Fake Checks.” Accessed March 2, 2020.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, W D Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about business, personal finance and careers. Adkins holds master's degrees in history and sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.