Everything You Need to Know About Cashing a Third Party Check

We’re going through the best places to cash a third-party check so you can get your money quickly!

Author: Kari Lorz, Certified Financial Education Instructor

Author: Kari Lorz – Certified Financial Education Instructor

Being handed money is always a good thing, but when it’s a third-party check, that can seem a little confusing, as it involves a few extra steps to get a hold of the money you’re owed.

Don’t worry; cashing it isn’t impossible.

We’ll take you through the steps for cashing a third party check, and where to go, so you can get your money as quickly as possible.

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What is a third party check?

A check from one person to another, is considered a two-party check, as two people are involved.

A third-party check is a two-party check that has been signed over to a third party by the payee (the person who the check was originally written to). The original payee of the check is giving up their rights to the money to someone else, and the third party has the right to deposit or cash the funds.

How do you cash a third-party check?

To cash a third-party check, visit a bank with the endorsed check and photo ID. Third-party checks should be cashed at your local bank, issuing bank or credit union for the greatest chance of it being accepted.

Some places may tell you that the original payee (the second party) may need to be present (with ID).

You may also have better luck trying to cash the check at the issuing bank instead of at your bank. The issuing bank is where the check writer has the account, and they can quickly tell if the account has the funds to cover the check amount. However, you may be charged a small fee for this service.

A bank sets its own policy on whether to accept or reject third-party checks and is not legally required to accept them. So it’s best to call ahead a see before going over.

Where to cash your third party check

You can deposit a third-party check at an ATM, yet the funds may not clear, and in the case, you may get a returned check fee, usually around $30.

If you try to make a mobile check deposit of a third-party check, you will want to keep it safe until it’s cleared and the funds are released. Some banks may email you asking you to take the check to a branch.

Where can I cash a third-party check online instantly?

Cashing a 3rd party check via online banking is going to be tough. Many apps (PayPal and Venmo) offer mobile check cashing via Ingo Money. And they state that all checks cashed must be paid out to the person (aka no third-party checks).

Where can I cash a third-party check without a bank account?

Your best bet is to go to the issuing bank, as they are more likely to cash it.

What banks cash third-party checks?

Banks that will cash third-party checks…

  1. Bank of America will cash a third-party check for an $8 fee.
  2. Chase Bank charges $8 to cash a third-party check over $50.
  3. Citibank won’t charge you to cash a third-party check if they are the issuing bank.
  4. First National Bank charges a $10 fee to cash third-party checks.
  5. HSBC Bank does not charge a fee for cashing checks issued by their bank.
  6. Tuist Bank charges $8 to cash a third-party check.
  7. M&T Bank will take 2% of the third-party check’s value to cash it.
  8. PNC Bank charges $2 for cashing third-party checks over $25.
  9. US Bank charges $7 for non-account holders to cash 3rd party checks if they are the issuing bank.
  10. Navy Federal Credit Union will accept third-party checks only if the person has an account there or if both parties are present for the transaction. The transaction is free.

Currently, Wells Fargo Bank and Key Bank do not accept 3rd party checks.

Some banks may ask for the issuing bank’s endorsement to cash a third party check. This isn’t common, but it’s a possibility.

What is an endorsement guarantee?

A bank endorsement is a bank’s guarantee that they will honor a financial obligation made by their customer even if the customer can not pay.

These are common in international banking transactions. So for most people, this won’t come up.

Why would you want to sign a check over?

Signing a check over used to be a lot more common when checks were the main way to transfer money. But it’s much less common now with internet transfers like Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, etc.

However, some people still write checks. They may be a pain, but it’s still legal tender in the US. You might want to sign a check over to someone if…

  • You owe someone money and don’t have access to your own funds.
  • You don’t have a bank account and you need cash in hand. You’ll need a trusted friend to go to the bank and cash the check, and hand over the money to you.

Types of third party checks

You can turn any check into a third party check. But the most common are…

  • Personal checks: Written from a personal bank account.
  • Cashier’s check: Is signed by and guaranteed by the bank the customer holds their account at.
  • Certified check: Is signed from a personal account, but the bank “certifies” that the funds are available.

Payroll and business checks can be made into third party checks, but it’s less common. Remember that any check can be turned into a third party check, but that doesn’t mean a bank is obligated to cash it. 

Parts of a check

Before we go too far, let’s just do a quick overview of the parts of a check, so we are all on the same page. This is best done with an image…

How do you endorse a check to a third party?

The process of turning a check over (making it a third-party check) is quite simple. When you are the payee of a check, here’s what you do.

  • Step 1: Make sure the person you’re giving the check to (aka the third party) is okay with accepting a third-party check.
  • Step 2: Turn the check over and sign it (endorse it).
  • Step 3: Write “pay to the order of (persons name)” underneath your signature.
  • Step 4: Hand the check over.

A person may not want a third-party check, as it may be difficult to cash. Many stores and check cashing places may not accept third-party checks. And if you can’t cash it, it’s basically worthless.

Making a check out to cash

A check made payable to cash is a type of check that can be cashed by the person who has the check, whether they’re the intended recipient or not. Writing a check to cash can be helpful if you don’t know who the check’s payee is or if you need to write yourself a check to get cash quickly.

If you know someone’s writing you a check and you need to give that money to someone else, why not have the payor (the person writing the check) make it out to cash? That way, you can just hand the check over without signing anything.

The check writer can also leave the “pay to” line black, and then the person can write their own name in.

However, banks are wary of these checks (similar to a 3rd party check) and may place a hold on the funds. The hold would remain in place until the issuing bank honors the check and it’s clear that fraud is not involved. 

Making a check out to “cash” is not a great idea, as anyone could cash it if you lost it. While you could always cancel the check (if it hasn’t been cashed, but there would be a fee, typically $25, to cancel a check).

Example of a third-party check

Let’s say your mom writes you a check for $200 to help cover your rent this month (thanks, mom). This is a two-party check.

You need to give your roommate that money, as the rent gets auto-paid from their bank account. So you flip the check over, sign your name and write “pay to the order of “roommate’s name.” Now it’s a third party check that your roommate can cash/deposit.

Cashing a third party check FAQs:

Can I deposit a check signed over to me at an ATM?

You can try to deposit a third-party check at an ATM; it may even accept it. But it could still be denied during processing, and you pay a returned check fee.

Can I deposit a check that is not in my name?

You can if the payee signs the check over to you. This is now a third-party check.

Can I deposit a third-party check into someone else’s account?

In some cases, yes. You’ll need the person to fill out a deposit slip and have them endorse the check. If they don’t have a deposit slip, they can write “for deposit only” on the back of the check and their account number.

What is a cashier’s check?

Cashier’s checks are usually used for large purchases with high dollar amounts. With this payment, the bank guarantees the funds, so they will cover it if the account the check is from doesn’t have enough. For example, I had to get a cashier’s check when I went to the title company to close on our new home. You can get a cashier’s check from your local bank.

Can I cash a third party check without an ID?

In almost all cases, no. You’ll need an ID to cash a third party check. But we go through lots of ways for you to navigate around this here, how to cash a check without ID.

Can I mobile deposit a third-party check?

You can try to do a mobile deposit for your third-party personal check, but in most cases, the funds will not clear, and you may be charged a returned check fee.

Does Walmart cash third party checks?

Walmart provides check cashing service, but no, Walmart will not cash a third party check.

Why don’t banks take 3rd party checks?

With third party checks, there is a higher chance of fraud, so many places don’t want to risk cashing a check and not being compensated for it. Just like you, they don’t want to lose their money.

What’s the difference between depositing and cashing a check?

Depositing a check is when you put the funds directly into your bank account, while cashing a check is getting the money handed to you in cash.

Can I use a mobile banking app to cash a 3rd party check?

In most cases, no, a number of them use Ingo Money for their mobile check cashing, and Ingo Money does not accept third party checks. However, many mobile banking apps are a great way to bank as they offer lots of features with limited fees.

What is a returned check?

A returned check is when you try to cash or deposit a check, and there are not enough funds to cover it in the account it’s drawn on; this is also considered non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a bounced check. Banks typically charge anywhere from $20 – $40 when this happens, and you, as the check casher, are responsible for the fee.

Banks will typically try to deposit a check 1-3 times before considering it an NSF case.

Will a check cashing store cash a third-party check?

Some check cashing may cash a third party personal check; you’ll want to call them to see. However, many check cashing places don’t like to divulge information over the phone (I called five check cashing stores, and they were very quiet on the details, instead wanting me to come in with the check).

If you go to a check-cashing store, be prepared to pay a large fee for their money services.

There are lots of places to cash a check, so if the first place you visit won’t cash a 3rd party check, try the next one on your list.

How long does it take for a third-party check to clear?

A third party check takes the same amount of time to clear as a two-party check. In most cases, a check should clear within one or two business days. There are a few cases in which a check might be held longer, such as if it’s a large deposit amount or an international check.

When do third-party checks expire?

Third-party checks hold the same expiration date as the original check terms. For personal checks, that’s six months or 180 days.

At the end of the day

Cashing a third party check can be tricky, and knowing the ins and outs of how they work is important. It’s also good to remember that there are alternative payment methods, such as mobile deposits or cashier’s checks, which may prove more efficient.

Remember, your best bet is to go to the issuing bank for payment, for which you may need to pay a fee, but that’s better than not cashing it at all.

Ultimately, it’s not impossible to cash a third-party check; it’s just kind of a pain. The best case scenario is that you ask the person to Venmo you the money instead.

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Cashing a third-party check doesn’t have to be hard, just follow our tips to cash your check quickly & easily!

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