If you receive a check only to discover that the person writing the check misspelled your name or even made out the check in the wrong name, you may have to ask the check writer to issue a new check. However, if you can prove to your bank that you are the intended check payee, then you can deposit the check. All 50 states use the Uniform Commercial Code as the basis for laws pertaining to the negotiation of checks and the UCC allows for the depositing of wrongly written checks.
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Search for supporting documentation to prove to your bank that the check writer intended to write the check to you. If the check addresses you using your maiden name, find your marriage certificate to prove that you are the payee but have changed your name. If the check you received came from a bank or is a refund from a vendor, find your bank statement or vendor contract. If the check shows an account number or reference on the memo line, you can match it up to your statement to prove you are the intended check recipient. If the check writer misspelled your name, just find your driver's license or passport to show the banker the correct spelling.
Provide your bank teller with the supporting documentation along with your check for deposit and explain the situation. If the teller refuses the check, you must contact the check writer and request a replacement. If the teller accepts that you are the payee, then you can deposit it.
Endorse the check twice. First, sign your name the way the check writer wrote it. Underneath the misspelled signature, sign your name using the correct spelling. Complete a deposit slip and hand it together with the check to the teller.
Tips and warnings
- Insurance companies frequently reject checks presented for payment if the signature does not match the payee line exactly. If you have an insurance check, make sure you include your initial or middle name as well as any prefix or suffix to match the payee line exactly.
- If your bank accepts a check for deposit, the drawee bank may still reject it and return it to your bank unpaid. This process can take up to 11 business days, so you should wait a few weeks before drawing on funds derived from a misspelled check.
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