Paper checks, deposit slips and snail mail might be heading the way of the dinosaur when it comes to finance, but you might find yourself needing to deposit checks by mail for several reasons. Even if you think you’ll rarely, if ever, bank by mail, it’s a good idea to know how to do it in advance to make sure you have what you need and know the proper steps to get your money in your bank account as quickly as possible.
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Why Deposit by Mail?
Whether you’re involved in a personal transaction, running your own small business or working for an employer, you might be given paper checks to deposit. In some rare cases, your bank or credit union might be in a town far away or another state and you’ll only be able to make deposits by mail.
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Fill Out the Deposit Slip
In order to deposit paper checks in-person at a bank, using a dropbox or by mailing them in, you’ll need a deposit slip. You won’t need deposit slips to deposit checks at an ATM or using a digital app. A deposit slip tells the bank the amount of money you want to deposit, how much of the deposit is cash and how much is by check(s) and which account the money should go into.
When you or a business opens a checking account, you receive deposit slips with your name (and address if that’s what’s on your checks), account number and the bank routing number. Follow the instructions on the slip.
You’ll list the amount of each check on a separate line on the deposit slip, then write the total of the checks in the final “total” or “net deposit” line.
If you have more checks than lines on the front of the deposit slip, turn the slip over. You’ll find more lines. After you’re done listing the checks, turn the slip back over and write the total amount of the checks on the back of the slip on the line on the front of the deposit slip that reads, “Checks or total from other side.”
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Endorse the Check(s)
You will need to endorse each check separately. You can sign your name on the back of the check on the signature line there. If you are mailing a check for deposit only, make your transaction more secure by writing, “For deposit only” under your signature. This way, if the checks are stolen, they can’t be cashed – they can only be deposited. If you are depositing business checks, you will probably have an endorsement stamp you can use to endorse each check.
Record the Transaction
Before you seal the envelope, make sure you or someone has recorded the transaction. Include details that will help you get replacement checks from issuers in the event your deposit envelope is lost or stolen. Making copies or taking photos of the checks is the best way to do this. This way, if you lose the check, you can contact the check issuer and give them the information from the check, including the check number, date it was written, payee and amount.
Address and Mail the Envelope
Make sure you have the correct address for mailing your deposit. The address you see on your bank statement or the bank’s website might not be the same address as the office or branch where checks need to be deposited. A quick call to the bank will help you get the correct address.
Put a return address in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope and place the correct amount of postage on the envelope. If you don’t add the right amount of postage, the envelope will be returned, which could take more than a week.
Steve Milano has written more than 1,000 pieces of personal finance and frugal living articles for dozens of websites, including Motley Fool, Zacks, Bankrate, Quickbooks, SmartyCents, Knew Money, Don't Waste Your Money and Credit Card Ideas, as well as his own websites.