How to endorse a check for mobile deposit

Young woman sitting outside at a cafe, concentrating as she deposits a check on her phoneImage: Young woman sitting outside at a cafe, concentrating as she deposits a check on her phone

In a Nutshell

Endorsing and depositing a check using your phone or other mobile device is basically the same as depositing it in person, with one twist: Your bank may require you to specify that it’s for online deposit near your signature.
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Using mobile deposit to deposit a check is simple and can save you a trip to bank or ATM.

But to make sure your check gets deposited correctly, you’ll have to know how to endorse a check for mobile deposit.

It’s generally the same process as when you deposit a check in person — your sign the back of your check — but some banks may require you to add an extra detail when you sign, such as writing something like “for mobile deposit only” near your signature.

Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about endorsing a check for mobile deposit.

How to endorse a check for mobile deposit

Endorsing a check for mobile deposit is generally a simple process, and you’ll likely be able to find instructions on how to do it correctly on your bank’s website or mobile app.

You’ll need to be familiar with the information on your check, and take two simple steps:

  1. Sign your name in the endorsement area. This dedicated area is likely ​​above the signature line on the back of the check. Don’t write anything below this line.
  2. Identify that this is check is intended for mobile deposit. In some cases you may see an option to check a box that says something like “for mobile deposit only.” Or, you may need to manually write out the words “for mobile deposit only,” depending on your bank’s rules.

Why you need to endorse a check for mobile deposit

Endorsing a check for mobile deposit can help prevent check fraud — the bank can check the signature against the check information to make sure that the payee is correct. It can also help prevent the mistake of depositing a check twice.

How mobile check deposit works

Depositing a check using your mobile device is fairly straightforward, and you can do it anywhere and whenever it’s convenient for you. Here’s how it typically works:

  • Download your mobile banking app and use it to log into your account.
  • Once you’re logged in, navigate to the account you want to deposit the check into.
  • Endorse your check for mobile deposit.
  • Take a clear photo of the front of the check and back.
  • Submit your deposit.

What you need to know about mobile deposit

If you want to deposit checks using mobile deposit, here are a few other things to keep in mind.

Don’t sign your check until you’re ready to deposit it

If a thief gets ahold of your pre-signed check, they could alter it to deposit the money into their account. To play it safe, don’t sign until you’re ready to deposit the check online.

Hang onto the check

When you make a deposit in person, a bank teller takes your check. But if you’re depositing it from home, you’ll want to keep your check in a safe place until the deposit goes through (your bank may have specific policies about how long to keep the check). If there are any problems with the deposit, you might need your check again.

Know when funds might be available

Banks have policies for how long they hold a check before making funds available in your account after a mobile deposit. They also may have limits on the amount you can mobile deposit. Requirements might be different than for checks that are deposited in person, so take note if you need the money right away or if you’re depositing a lot of money.

Get a clear photo

Your bank’s app will guide you through the process of taking a photo for deposit. But in general, place your check on a dark, well-lighted background with the entire check visible in order to get the best shot.  

What’s next?

Most mobile deposits go through with no problem at all. But in the rare case an issue pops up, you may need to contact your bank.

In some cases, you might have to go in person to deposit it, or even mail it into a bank processing center. This is why it’s a good idea to hang onto the check until the deposit goes through. And when it does, you can shred the check to keep things extra secure.

About the author: Lindsay VanSomeren is a freelance writer living in Kirkland, Washington. She has been a professional dogsled racer, a wildlife researcher, and a participant in the National Spelling Bee. She writes for websites such a… Read more.