How to Cash Multi-Party Checks

by W D Adkins
A multi-party check, which is payable to more than one person, may require more than one person to cash it.

Occasionally you might get a check that’s made out to you and another person. This is called a multi-party, or joint, check. For example, you’d get a multi-party check if you are due a tax refund and you and your spouse filed a joint tax return. The way you cash or deposit a multi-party check depends on how the names are written on the payee line, the line on the check that starts with “Pay to the order of” and is followed by your name and the name of the other party.

Check The Check

Look at the payee line. If the names on the payee line are connected by the word “or,” it means any one of the people named can cash the check. The payee line will look like this: John Smith or Mary Smith. You can take this multi-party check to your bank or the bank the check is drawn on and cash it by yourself.

Contact the other payee or payees if the names are connected by the symbol "&" or the word “and.” This means all of the payees have to endorse the check by signing it. You will have to arrange for everyone to meet at the bank to cash the check. However, if you have a joint bank account with the other party named as payee, your bank may allow you to deposit the check in the joint account with just your signature. That’s sometimes the case with a husband and wife who have a joint checking account. Check with your bank to find out what its policy is.

Wait until you get to the bank before endorsing a multi-party check. Turn the check over and sign on the back of the check. Sign your name exactly as it appears on the check. Have the other party do the same if their signature is needed. Make sure everyone brings a valid driver’s license or other government-issued picture ID in case the banker asks for identification.

About the Author

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.

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