Can You Deposit a Check That Is Not Written to You?

A third-party transaction is one way to deposit a check written to someone else.
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It seems as if it would be impossible to deposit a check into your own account if the check is made out to someone else. Under certain circumstances, however, it is possible. In one case, it depends on whether you share an account with the actual payee. Another way to deposit a check with a payee other than you is in a third-party transaction.

1 For Deposit Only

If you share a joint checking or savings account with the person to whom the check is made, it will be easy to deposit the check. This is convenient for, say, a married couple with a joint checking account when the spouse to whom the check is written isn't around to endorse it. Instead of a signature, on the back where the payee normally signs the check, write "for deposit only." Deposit the check as if it's signed. Once the check clears, you or your account co-owner can spend the money.

2 Third Party

Normally, a check involves two parties: the person who wrote the check and the person to whom the check was written. A third-party transaction happens when the payee signs the check and its funds over to a third person. To perform this transaction, on the back of the check the payee signs, then writes "pay to the order of" and the name of the third party. This new payee can now endorse the check and deposit it.

Sophie Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media. A freelancer for more than 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews.