Endorsing a Cheque in Canada

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When a person writes a cheque to you, it is standard practice for you to endorse the back of the cheque before you deposit or cash it. Endorsing a cheque in Canada is straightforward as it only needs to include any further details in addition to signing your name. Providing this information allows the bank to process the cheque efficiently.

Although a signature is the most important criteria, there are further steps you can take that can protect you from fraud and enable you to dictate how the bank process your payments. Read on to find out all you need to endorse a cheque in Canada.

How to Endorse a Cheque

To ensure proper endorsement, the payee’s name on the front of the cheque must match the name signed on the cheque’s back. If you misspell or incorrectly write the name, you may sign on the incorrect version and sign again with the correct name.

Where to Endorse

A standard cheque has a 1.5-inch space at the back you can sign in. This space is often known as the endorsement section, with marked lines and instructions like “Do not write, stamp, or sign below this line.” Ensure you keep all your signature and other instructions or noted within that area.

Blank Endorsement

The easiest way to endorse – often also the riskiest, is to sign the cheque without inserting additional instructions. This method is known as a blank endorsement, wherein you sign your name within the endorsement space.

However, you should only try this if you’re immediately depositing or cashing the cheque. For instance, a blank endorsement seems reasonable if you’re within the bank premises of making the transaction from a remote location.

ATM Deposit, Mailing, and More

If you want to mail the cheque to your bank or deposit it using an ATM, you may try a different tact. You may wait until you’re ready to deposit before signing the cheque, or you insert a restriction to the endorsement.

Blank endorsements are dangerous because someone else can steal the endorsed cheque and deposit or cash it in an entirely different bank account.

Restrictive Endorsement

A restrictive endorsement ensures that a cheque is deposited into a specific bank account. You can apply this method by adding your account number alongside the endorsement, providing clear instructions that the funds may only be deposited into your bank account.

You can do this by writing “For deposit only to xxxxxx” alongside the endorsement. It is harder for thieves to access your funds if the cheque is misplaced or stolen.

Another option is to write “For a deposit to payee account only,” which would require thieves additional access to the account in your name. Depending on the circumstance, you may or may not need to sign if the account number is specified on the cheque.

Signing over a cheque to someone else

It is possible to sign over a cheque to another person, ensuring you pay that person with the check you’ve received.

Although it isn’t an ideal way to pay someone, you may do so by writing “Pay to the order of “ just below your signature, inserting the name of the new recipient.

Keep in mind some banks do not accept this form of endorsement due to the possibility of fraud and theft. Consult the banks involved before trying out this type of endorsement.

No Endorsement

That said, it isn’t mandatory to endorse a cheque. Some banks allow customers to deposit a cheque without any requirements like account number, signatures, or other endorsement instructions. No endorsement often ensures your information is private.

Without an endorsement, no one can access your signature or bank account number except the bank provides the information during processing. As an extra tip, you may also write “for deposit only” in the endorsement space.

Although that’s not an endorsement in the truest sense of the word, most financial institutions will be hard-pressed to cash that type of cheque for anyone.

Who signs to Endorse? 

In many instances, it isn’t clear who signs the cheque. To clarify, it is the recipient who needs to endorse the cheque. The cheque writer would have already signed on the face of it.

Cheque payable to more than one person

If a cheque is payable to multiple parties, how should it be endorsed? Must all the recipients sign or just one person? It all depends on what’s written on the cheque. If the cheque writer adds “and” between the recipients’ names, both parties need to sign.

Business cheque

If you own a business and accept cheques, it has a different endorsing process. The cheque isn’t payable to you but your business. That means you need to endorse on behalf of the business.

Businesses are separate legal entities that can sue and be sued and operate independently of the owner. That means anyone who endorses the business needs to have the requisite authorization to do so.

FBO Cheques

The initial payee must first endorse a cheque made out to one party for another’s benefit. For instance, the cheque might be made out to a retirement account custodian for a turnover transaction. The custodian will handle the cheque, and you need not endorse it.

Why you need to endorse a cheque

When someone pays you with a cheque, that payment is made out to you. The only person legally allowed to collect the money from the cheque writer’s account is yours truly. Nonetheless, the most convenient way to deposit or cash that cheque is to give it to your bank and let them process it.

Endorsing a cheque means you permit the bank to receive the cheque on your behalf. Also, you can depose it a cheque without endorsing provided it is small enough and the exact match with the payee’s name. So far it isn’t from some organization that requires endorsement like insurance companies.

However, financial institutions like credit unions and banks often accept endorsed cheques on the assumption no issues will arise. That said, if you want to receive your money promptly, endorse the cheque correctly.

Even if your bank allows you to deposit without endorsement, that cheque may come back sometime later to haunt you, thus allowing the bank to take those funds from your account until everything’s sorted.

Always ensure you wait as long as you can before signing a cheque, no matter the method of endorsement. An excellent strategy is to sign the cheque in the bank or immediately before making a mobile deposit.

If you endorse a cheque before you’re ready to cash or deposit, it’s easier for someone else to steal the cheque and deposit it in their bank account.

FAQs

How does Mobile Deposit endorsement work?

If you want to endorse a cheque with your mobile device, you’d need to follow your bank’s app instructions.

Some banks may require you to indicate you’re making a mobile deposit. Although it is possible to ignore these instructions doing so can have severe consequences for your transactions.

Do you have to sign the back of a Cheque in Canada?

Some banks permit cheques to be cashed by a person other than the recipient named on the cheque. Although not always mandatory, it is risky to leave the back of a cheque unsigned.

Who signs the back of a cheque?

The cheque writer signs the front while the recipient signs the back. Both front and back signatures are often known as “endorsing” the cheque. It is of utmost importance to endorse the cheque before depositing, cashing, or transferring it to another person.

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Avid researcher, freelance writer, and personal finance enthusiast passionate about financial education and literacy.

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Kareena Maya

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.