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How to Deposit Checks Made Out to Children

While children often receive wrapped presents from their parents on their birthdays and during the holidays, out-of-town relatives might prefer to send a check. This is more cost-efficient than paying the high shipping prices associated with mailing a gift. Of course, your family member might write the review in the name of your minor child, who might not even be able to sign his or her name yet. Fortunately, there are several ways you can deposit a check made out to your child.

Use a Parent’s Bank Account

Parents are allowed to deposit their children’s checks into their bank accounts. To do this, parents must first print their child’s name on the back of the review and then write the word “minor” in parentheses; you also could use a hyphen instead of parentheses. Next, the parent must print his or her name directly under the child’s name with the word “parent” in parentheses or after a hyphen. 

Finally, the parent must sign his or her name under the printed word and add the bank account number for the deposit. If you aren’t the child’s parent, but the child is entrusted into your care, you can write “guardian” in place of “parent.”

The bank also might require parents and guardians to fill out a deposit slip to go along with the check. This will include the parent’s name, account number, date, check number, check amount and total deposit amount. The deposit slip must be given to the teller along with the check for the deposit to be completed.

Obtain a Minor’s Account

Parents also can open a bank account for their minor children so that they can take part in depositing their checks. Some banks offer savings accounts designed for minors jointly owned by both parent and child, while others provide the option of a custodial account. With the custodial account, minors can make deposits, but they will not have access to those funds until after 18.

No matter which account you choose to set up for your child, the method of depositing a check is the same. The child can sign the back of the review and write his or her account number. This is an excellent way for minors to begin learning how to save money.

Some banks might require a parent to sign under their child’s name, writing “Parent of Minor” next to their signature. Together with the parent, and child also can fill out the deposit slip and take it to the teller to complete the transaction.

Don’t Forget Mobile Deposits.

Most banks now offer mobile apps that you can download to make your deposit, so you don’t have to drive to the bank. After a parent, and the minor child, if appropriate, fills out the back of the check with their signatures and account number as explained above, they simply open the app and snap photos of the front and back of the bill. Next, the parent will have the opportunity to review the details before tapping the “Make Deposit” button.

How to Cash a Check for a Child

Gifts of cash via check are familiar present children receive for holidays and milestones. Most young children, however, do not have bank accounts in their names. Cashing a review for a child requires a little preparation on the part of the parent, but it is a relatively simple process. Double-check that you have all of the pertinent documents before you head to the bank, and bring the child with you if possible. Use this as a chance to teach your child how the banking system works.

Step 1

Establish your relationship with the minor by presenting your photo identification along with the child’s birth certificate (and appropriate adoption papers if available). If possible, bring the child with you to endorse the check-in person. The first visit to the bank can be an educational experience for a child.

Step 2

Have the child sign the check over to you by writing “pay to order of” followed by your full name. This should be written on the back of the bill, at the top of the box in which you would typically endorse it. Have the child sign their name directly underneath this. Sign your name under theirs and hand it to the bank teller to cash.

Step 3

Talk to the teller about opening a savings account for the child, making cashing future checks much more accessible. Some banks offer special arrangements for children that are linked to the parent’s account. This will allow you to cash and deposit checks for them as if they were your own.

Things You’ll Need

  • Copy of child’s birth certificate
  • Child’s school report card (or Social Security card)
  • Your picture ID (passport or driver’s license)
  • Adoption papers (if applicable)

Can Parents Cash Checks Make Out to Minor Children?

Parents and legal guardians can endorse checks and savings bonds on behalf of minor children. However, they often need to include a signed statement verifying their relationship with the child and their intentions. As an alternative to cashing the check, parents can open up a bank account for their minor child or open a joint bank account.

Endorsing Checks

In most cases, parents can cash checks made out to minor children with the proper documentation. According to the U.S. Department of State, the parent of a minor who provides chief support to the little may endorse a check. In some cases, the parent or supporter must present a signed statement that contains the child’s age and his or her residence and asserts that the proceeds will be used for the minor’s benefit. 

Cashing Bonds

In addition to endorsing personal checks for your minor child, you can also cash his or her bonds. The U.S. Department of the Treasury allows parents to redeem a child’s savings bonds if the child is too young to sign or if the parent has legal custody of the child. Parents should include a formal request with the bond certifying that they have legal control and that the child is too young to request him or herself.

Opening a Bank Account

As an alternative to cashing a check on behalf of a child, you can use it to set up a bank account. Many banks allow minors to set up bank accounts but require a parent to be a co-signer on the account. If your bank doesn’t have a version specifically designed for minors, you can open a joint checking or savings account. Not only will this make it easier to cash the child’s checks in the future, but it also allows him or her to save money and learn about banking.

Calling Ahead

If you’re attempting to endorse a child’s cheek or bond or open a new account, it’s best to call the bank ahead of time, so you don’t go home frustrated. The U.S. Department of State and Treasury outline specific regulations for these transactions, but exact policies and procedures differ by bank.

How to Open a Savings Account for Someone Else

Although opening a savings account for someone else is a thoughtful idea, it’s not always possible. You can’t open a bank account for another adult unless you have power of attorney, for example, but you can add her to your savings account with her consent. You also may name her as a beneficiary to your account, which doesn’t require her signature. If the other person is a minor child, you can open a particular type of account designed for saving.

Accounts for Minors

A custodial account is an account set up expressly for minors under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. Parents, grandparents, relatives and close family friends often open custodial accounts to help save for a child’s future. Anyone can contribute to the store for the benefit of the child. However, once deposits are made, they are irrevocable. The minor can’t access the funds until her 18th or 21st birthday, depending on the account and the state’s laws.

You can open this type of account at any bank or credit union. There’s no regulatory minimum deposit required to open the store, but banks often set their minimums needed, such as $200.

You’ll need to produce the child’s Social Security number when opening the account to ensure ownership and proper tax reporting. The first $950 in interest earnings isn’t taxed. The next $950 in payments is taxed at the child’s rate, which almost always is lower than the parent’s rate. Once interest exceeds $1,900, it’s taxed at the parent’s rate.

Adding an Adult to Your Account

You can’t open savings for an adult, but you can add the adult to your bank account as a joint account holder. Every bank has its requirements for adding another party to a report. Generally, you and the other person will need to stop into your local branch, provide identification and complete the required paperwork. Some banks may allow you to add a name online or mailing in the necessary paperwork and documents.

You also can name the adult the payable-on-death beneficiary, which means the funds in the savings account automatically transfer to that person upon your death. You won’t need the other party present to add a beneficiary to your account. You’ll just need to let the bank know you want to add a beneficiary to your savings account by providing his full name and Social Security number.

Power of Attorney

Power of attorney is a legal document giving you the right to make financial decisions on someone else’s behalf. If you have power of attorney over another adult, you’re responsible for managing his finances, which requires you to keep his money separate from yours. To open an account for him, you’ll need to bring your power of attorney document and your photo identification to the bank. The report generally is in the name of the person you have power of attorney over, but some banks may require the account to be in your name. Check with the bank for specific requirements and procedures.

How to Write and Cash Checks Payable to Cash

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When you write a check, you don’t always have to specify who gets the money. A statement that says “Pay to the Order of Cash” can be cashed or deposited by anybody. That may be convenient, but it’s also risky.

What Is a Check to Cash?

A check payable to cash has the word “Cash” on the line where you usually write your payee’s name. Because the review is not expected to a particular person or organisation, anybody who has possession of the check can cash or deposit the check.

Most checks are made payable to somebody. Part of the process of writing a review is listing who should receive the funds. That step makes inspections safer than cash because the named payee is the only person allowed to deposit or handle the check (although it can be signed over to somebody else, which we’ll discuss below). A check payable to “Bearer” works the same way: Anybody bearing (or “carrying”) the document can cash it.

To write this type of check, just write “Cash” instead of naming a payee.

Just Like Cash

A check payable to cash is (more or less) similar to money—anybody can use it, assuming the statement doesn’t bounce. If the bill gets lost, whoever finds it can cash it or deposit it unless you stop payment on the check first. Likewise, the recipient can state to somebody else.

Why Write a Check to Cash?

Unknown payee: Writing a check payable to cash is a simple solution if you don’t know who to make a check payable to. For example, you might see that you need to write a review for a certain amount, but you don’t know the payee’s exact (or legal) name. You can write a check to cash, slip it in your pocket, and leave your chequebook at home.

Paying yourself: You might also use “cash” if you want to write a check to yourself and get cash.4 But it’s probably easier to just withdraw cash from an ATM (you won’t use a review, and you don’t have to wait for a teller). Likewise, when moving money from one bank account to another, it’s most likely easier to transfer funds electronically.

Why Not Pay to Cash?

Risk of loss: It’s typically best to avoid writing a check to cash because you don’t have any control over who deposits or cashes the check. If the bill gets lost or stolen, you and your bank will have to watch for a fraudulent transaction. If you’re unable to catch it in time, you have to take legal action against whoever deposits the check to recover your money. Especially if you’re sending a statement through the mail (or having your bank print and mail checks via online bill pay), there’s a significant opportunity for loss or theft.

Hesitant banks: Some banks don’t like checks that are payable to cash, which is another reason to avoid using them. Banks may refuse to honour them altogether or place a more extended hold on the funds. Banks can also refuse to provide official checks payable to cash. For example, if you’re buying a used car from an unknown buyer, banks are not eager to give you a cashier’s check until you have a specific name for the payee.

Paper trail: A check without a payee makes it harder to keep records and document transactions. It’s still possible to keep notes and track expenses, but a payee’s name in your writing makes things easier (and official). You don’t need to decipher anybody’s signature or wonder who exactly received your money.

Better solutions? Instead of writing a check that anybody can cash, consider leaving the payee line blank temporarily. Once you know how to fill it out correctly, you can fill in the payee. A check made out to cash is about as secure as a check with the payee’s name blank anyway—either way, it’s negotiable by anybody (but at least it won’t be your handwriting if somebody steals the check and fills in a name). Another alternative is to make checks payable to yourself and sign the bill over to whoever you want once you identify the correct payee. That method is better from a security standpoint, but banks sometimes refuse to accept checks that have been signed over (which means you’ll need to start over).

How to Deposit a Check Made Out to Cash

If you receive a check payable to cash, deposit it like you would any other statement. Endorse by signing the back with your account number, and deposit with your bank or credit union. If you prefer to cash the check (instead of depositing it to your account), you may have to go to the bank that the funds are drawn to. Find the bank’s name on the front of the check and contact the nearest branch to see if they will cash the check.

Remember that banks may refuse these checks or require extra hold times. Whenever possible, request that any statements you receive include your name or your business name. Provide simple instructions to anybody who’s writing checks to you so that they’re not tempted to take shortcuts.

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