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What if I deposit a check into a Bank of America ATM but forget to endorse it with my signature on the back of the check?

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I dropped a check in an American ATM for an American bank without an endorsement, because I forgot. Nobody ever bothered me or called me about it, and the money appeared as normal. It's possible that the act of depositing in an ATM is equivalent to signing, since the ATM requires authentication. – jprete Aug 31 '11 at 14:59
up vote 5 down vote accepted

If a bank employee catches it then typically they would call you and ask you to come in to sign the check. If they can't get a hold of you they would probably mail it back to you. There is a chance that they won't catch in which case it would just be deposited into your account like any other check.

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I have deposited hundreds of checks in my time and never, ever signed the back of one made out to me. None have ever been returned or queried. – DJClayworth Jun 13 '13 at 21:38

You do not have to endorse a check at the bank you have an account with. By leaving the back of the check blank, and thus failing to endorse it, you automatically endorse the check with a restricted endorsement (similar to "For Deposit Only").

As such, the teller wouldn't have to call you back to the window as alluded to in stoj's answer.

For clarification see Restrictive Indorsement in the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) § 3-206 Subsection C.

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This should probably be the answer. – Jason Aug 25 '13 at 16:12
Unless banks can impose policies with more restrictive requirements than what the UCC allows. – hemp Apr 1 '15 at 20:07
Discover mobile deposit doesn't take large checks ($280) without endorsement, Ally mobile deposit doesn't take any check without endorsement. – sdaffa23fdsf Dec 21 '15 at 21:36

It may clear, or they (either bank) may call you. I'm POA on my mother-in-law's account. When she wrote a check and forgot top sign it, it made it through the first bank, but the bank the check was written from called me. I was able to fax them an authorization to clear the check, and all was well.

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Almost all checks are processed electronically nowadays. Thus, signatures probably don't matter much unless you use the teller and you want cash instead of a deposit. However, I would still think that they spot check some checks and if you don't sign then as luck would have it, they'll pick your check to spot check. This may delay clearing the funds for your use until the matter is taken care of.

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I'm not sure if this necessity to endorse a cheque only applies in the U.S. In Canada, I have never endorsed a cheque I deposited. I have never been requested to do so when dealing with a teller, and have never had an issue depositing a cheque via an ATM.

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protected by John Bensin Aug 25 '13 at 13:07

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