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As a matter of risk, would a typical consumer bank in the USA accept a check (or other negotiable instrument) which has been endorsed to a payee not originally listed on the instrument?

As I understand it, such an instrument, if properly endorsed, should be payable, but in reality

  • Would a bank accept it? Are there any common caveats or restrictions? (i.e. I can only present it the bank that the check is drawn on)
  • Is a bank required to accept it if I am a customer?
  • Would an individual or organization be required to accept it if they accept personal checks?
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If the endorsement is to you and you try to deposit the money into your account in your bank (i.e. one where you have an account), the bank will likely accept it for deposit only (will not allow you to get cash back wholly or in part). If the check is drawn on a Nigerian (or other foreign) bank or you look elderly or confused and unused to dealing with banks, a bank teller might refuse to even accept the check for deposit (and especially if you are making a separate withdrawal from your account at the same time) and refer you to a bank officer who will sit you down and discuss the matter in more detail.

An individual or organization will likely refuse to accept a third-party check from you. They will say "Deposit the check into your account and write us a personal check from your account."

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