Endorsing a check for a minor is a pretty straightforward process. It means printing their name on the back of the check and designating them as a minor. Then, print your name and define your relationship to the minor. Third, sign underneath your name. Finally, it’s a good idea to write the account number so the bank can deposit the check into the appropriate account.
That said, handling a check for your child can raise some issues. After all, how do you endorse a check for a minor if they don’t have a bank account? Fortunately, most banks and credit unions allow parents to deposit such checks into their accounts. You can also use a check made out to a minor as an opportunity to open a custodial account and begin your child’s financial education.
Here are the details on endorsing a check for a minor and how it can facilitate financial literacy.
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What Is a Check Endorsement?
A check endorsement is when you sign the back of a check that’s been made out to you. Signing your name on the back and providing your account number allow you to deposit or cash the check. If you have a joint bank account, one or both account holders should sign the check.
Signing over a check is also possible. This is a process that allows you to transfer the right to deposit the check to someone else.
Process of Endorsing a Check for a Minor
Endorsing a check for a minor is similar to endorsing a check for yourself, with a few extra steps in the process. Here’s how to endorse a check for a minor.
• Flip the check so its back is facing upwards. Print the minor’s name where the endorsement section is. Following the printed name, add a hyphen and write “minor.”
• Below the minor’s name, print your full name. Following your name, add a hyphen and write the best word that describes your relationship to the minor such as parent or guardian.
• Finally, sign the check and write your account or the minor’s custodial account number.
Recommended: How Do You Write a Check to Yourself?
Can a Check Made to a Minor Be Deposited Into the Parent’s Account?
Guidelines vary among banks and credit unions for depositing a child’s check into a parent’s account. Generally, banks and credit unions will deposit checks made out to children into the parent’s account. Banks and credit unions usually do this when the child doesn’t have a bank account.
Either way, ask your bank or credit union for their endorsement policy on the child’s checks and endorse them as instructed to ensure you can deposit the check. You may need to provide supplemental documents and your child’s ID.
On the other hand, your bank might encourage you to open a bank account for a minor; you may also hear this referred to as a custodial account for your child. While this account is separate from yours, you’ll control it until your child turns 18 or older.
A custodial account is an excellent way to teach kids money management and show them how to use banking services. Although a minor isn’t technically unbanked if they don’t have a custodial account, opening one can help them acclimate to banks and credit unions and set them up for financial success as an adult.
Recommended: What Does It Mean to Be Unbanked?
Tips for Endorsing a Check for a Minor
With money becoming increasingly digital, matters such as ordering checks and handling them can be challenging for people of all ages. Follow these tips to have a smooth experience when endorsing a check for a minor.
• Ask your bank for their rules and conditions for how to endorse a check for a minor.
• Read the front of the check to verify your child is the payee.
• Print your child’s name and your name on the back and specify who each person is (minor and parent).
• Adding your account number or your child’s custodial account number under your signature ensures the bank will deposit the money in the correct account.
• Keep in mind how long checks are good for. Typically, checks expire after six months, so it’s best to endorse and deposit them as soon as possible. In addition, hanging onto a check without depositing it increases the chance of losing it.
Getting Your Child Started With Banking
Opening a bank account for a minor can introduce your child to healthy money management and improve financial literacy. Here are some tips for parents who want to show their children the ropes.
• Open a custodial bank account. Shop around for a custodial account for your child that can earn an annual percentage yield (APY) and charge no fees. In addition, you can deposit your child’s checks into this account to grow their savings.
Plus, these accounts usually give control to the parent until your child reaches 18 or older and can take over. You may hear these accounts referred to as UGMA (Uniform Gift to Minors Act) accounts.
However, for some accounts for minors, your bank may allow joint control between the child and the parent. This may be referred to as kids’ bank accounts at some financial institutions.
• Involve your child in the process. Instead of managing the custodial account alone, bring your child to the bank to help open the account. They can bring their identification and speak with the banking staff. Ask ahead of time if they offer memorable experiences for children, such as viewing the safe deposit boxes. The more your child enjoys the bank or credit union, the more they may interact with their account.
• Remind your child that saving is vital. Again, bringing in a real-world example can help. For instance, the next time you have an unexpected expense such as a car repair or emergency dental work, use it as a teaching moment. Explain that saving money helps smooth out financial bumps in the road.
• Explain financial fundamentals. For example, teaching your child about compound interest can motivate them to save more. You can also create a budget showing what their allowance income lets them afford each month and set long-term goals, such as buying a scooter.
• Keep up the flow of information as your child gets older. While a first-grader isn’t ready to peruse financial documents, middle-schoolers can begin to understand how to read an account statement from their custodial account. Likewise, your child’s first job can provide a lesson about paychecks and income taxes.
In addition, the prevalence of phone and internet use has given rise to financial scams over text messages and email. It’s wise to educate and warn kids about this so they don’t become a victim.
Endorsing a check for a minor requires an additional step or two compared to endorsing your own; the trick is knowing what information you need. Whether you deposit the money into your account or your child’s custodial account, the endorsement process is an opportunity to expose your child to the world of banking. It’s never too early to teach financial literacy, and depositing checks at the bank is a great jumping-off point.
When thinking about your own banking choices, it’s wise to look for multiple better banking features. When you open an online SoFi Checking and Savings account, for instance, you can take advantage of a competitive APY and not pay any account fees that can nibble away at your balance. Plus, SoFi offers features like Vaults and Roundups to help savings grow faster, and qualifying accounts with direct deposit can get paycheck access up to two days early.
Can a child endorse a check?
A child too young to write or sign their name cannot endorse a check. For older children, banks and credit unions generally require parents to write and sign their name under the child’s name. They also must include their relationship to the child and add the account number for the deposit.
Can a minor deposit a check into their own account?
A minor can deposit a check into their account if their parent or guardian endorses it and if the minor is old enough to use banking services. Each bank or credit union sets rules for how old a minor must be to access banking services.
Can you use mobile deposit to endorse a check to a minor?
You can use the mobile deposit to endorse a check for a minor by printing their name on the back of a check with a hyphen and the word “minor.” Then, under the minor’s name, print your name with a hyphen and the word “parent” or another descriptor for your relationship with the minor. Then, sign the back and write your account number or the minor’s custodial account number. Lastly, use your phone to complete the check’s mobile deposit.
How can a minor cash a check?
A minor can cash a check if their parent or guardian endorses it and the minor is old enough to use banking services. Each bank or credit union determines the age requirements for banking services.
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