With joint checking accounts, if a check is written out to the primary account holder and the secondary account holder of the joint account endorses the check, is this legal?

Will the check be paid by the bank?

  • 2
    Please add a country tag – Dheer Jul 4 '15 at 7:17
  • It depends on what the secondary account holder wants to do with the check after endorsing it. If the check is being deposited into the joint account, then many banks will accept such endorsements (indeed, not even ask for an endorsement); if the deposit slip is filled out as "get cash back and deposit the rest" it might not work (unless the account has enough money to cover the cash in case of problems with the check). If the endorsement is "Pay to the order of someone else", the someone else will likely refuse to accept the check (the someone else's bank certainly will refuse!) – Dilip Sarwate Jul 4 '15 at 14:13

Imagine Abe and Ben have a joint account. Charlie writes a check to Abe. Ben tries to deposit it into the joint account with only Ben's signature.

Abe could have deposited it into a non-joint account at another bank, or could have cashed the check. But if Ben is able to deposit the check the money is now in the control of somebody who was't a party on the check. I don't think that is what Abe's grandfather meant to have happen when he sent Abe a check for his birthday.

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    A boy named Sue, and now a grandmother named Charlie? And how did Ben get hold of the check sent to Abe? If Abe gave the check to Ben to deposit into the joint bank account, there is no issue. If Ben stole the check from Abe, there is a different issue involved. My (joint) bank account agreement (in the US) explicitly allows me to endorse checks payable only to my joint account holder for the purposes of depositing into our joint account. – Dilip Sarwate Jul 4 '15 at 17:03
  • Funny mine doesn't allow the 2nd person to do so. We have specifically run into that problem. The person who the check is made out to has to be the first to sign the check. – mhoran_psprep Jul 4 '15 at 18:59
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    I have routinely deposited unsigned checks made out to my wife into our joint account. The only time the bank balked was when it was an IRS check. – Loren Pechtel Jul 4 '15 at 21:53

Policies depend on the individual bank, but at my credit union, where my wife and I have a joint account, I can go in there with a check made out to my wife. They will let me deposit it into the account with no endorsement needed. They won't let me cash it, but I can deposit it and then take a cash withdrawal out of my account.

That's really the nature of joint accounts: money is shared between the two parties, and either party has total control.

If a bank has a policy not to allow me to deposit a check made out to my wife without her present, then how can they accept a check deposited through the night deposit?

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