Why Do You Need to Copy the Back of a Cashed Check?

The bank teller requires your signature to cash or deposit a check.
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The use of paper checks has declined steadily since the September 2001 passage of Check 21, the law that permits use of e-checks, or images of bank checks. Nevertheless, some businesses and consumers still use paper checks and, in some cases, a copy of the back of a check is necessary for resolving disputes. Copying the back of a cashed check will almost always answer questions concerning payment, identity and receipt of funds.

1 What's On The Back

Before cashing or depositing a check, the person whose name appears on the front of the check after the words, "Payable To" or "Pay to the Order Of," signs the back of the check. The signature on the back of the check is called an "endorsement." Copying the back of a check ensures that the name of the payee and the endorser match. This can be one of the first steps to determine whether the check was fraudulently cashed or if the payor issued the check to the right person.

2 Where The Money Went

On occasion, a payee might add a line to the endorsement that states, "for deposit only." That typically means the entire amount of the check was deposited into a bank account, instead of the teller distributing cash. A copy of the back of a bank check may also show whether the original payee signed over the check to another party, who subsequently cashed or deposited the funds.

Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.