Getting loan check in mom's name into my bank account.
January 28, 2009 11:52 AM   Subscribe

My mother was recently approved for a Parent PLUS loan to cover my tuition for this year. The check is now on its way in mom's name to my address, and I have some questions...

My mother, who lives across the country from me, was recently approved for a Parent PLUS loan to cover my tuition for this year. The check for $6000 in mom's name is on its way to my address, and due to several issues, I need help figuring out how to get the check into my account. The issues:

A) There is a branch of my bank where mom lives, but not a branch of mom's bank where I live
B) Mom has a long history of inability to manage finances and bouncing checks, and is currently a month behind on all of her bills
C) Mom has a husband with a drug addiction and very few scruples with whom she shares a bank account
D) The distance between us (so that we can't go to a bank together)

As far as I can tell, there are only a few options here. One, which Mom suggested, is that I sign her name, "Pay to the order of" my name, and deposit the check into my account. But: Since this is such a large check, will the bank give me problems about depositing the check without my mom being there in person? Could I deposit it in the ATM without issue?

Another option would be to send mom the check with my signature and "For Deposit Only" with my account number on the back. I would have my mother sign it and deposit it into my bank account in person. Would writing "For Deposit Only" ensure that she couldn't put it into her own account? Would my bank give her any problems for depositing the check without me being present?

The last option that I can think of would be to send the check to mom, have her put it into her bank account, and then write me a new check from that. This is not ideal for the aforementioned reasons.

What is the best, easiest, fastest way to get this check from my mailbox into my bank account with the smallest risk of mom or her husband taking the money for themselves? Is there another way I'm not thinking of?

It should be noted that this loan will get lumped in with the rest of my loans and get paid back by me, not by my mother, and that without it, I will be unable to complete this semester at school.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Send her the endorsed check "For Deposit Only" and have her deposit it in your account.

That's a good legal way to do it without forging anyone's signature.
posted by jerseygirl at 12:12 PM on January 28, 2009

Also, write your account number below the line "for deposit only."
posted by spilon at 12:17 PM on January 28, 2009

If the end goal is to have the $6,000 deposited at your school as payment, sign the check and go the school cashier's window and tell them your mom want's it deposited into your account.

Bingo Bango Bachelor degree.
posted by imjosh at 12:45 PM on January 28, 2009

Write your bank's name with "for deposit only" and the account number. That's three lines to cross out if she's determined to try taking the money.

Mom suggested…that I sign her name

Do not do this.
posted by oaf at 12:48 PM on January 28, 2009

Would writing "For Deposit Only" ensure that she couldn't put it into her own account?

Theoretically, she could cross out your account number and write in her own.

Would my bank give her any problems for depositing the check without me being present?

Probably not. My mom did this for me all the time. Like, twice a year for 4 years of college.
posted by muddgirl at 1:22 PM on January 28, 2009

i don't agree with oaf. i think signing her name won't be a problem. if you want to be really fancy, garnish your version of her signature with your initials. the bank is only going to care if there is a problem if the check is reported stolen.

anything else sounds too complicated for the situation you describe.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 1:45 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you're going to do the "deposit only" thing, then be sure to include your Bank Name, else any bank can accept it for deposit.

So, the endorsement would read:

Your Name
Deposit Only
Bank Name, Bank Account #

If your mother has emailed you that it's ok for you to endorse it with her signature, then I think you're unlikely to be able to be prosecuted or even charged with fraud, which is what banks are trying to avoid.

That said; if you go that route (and I have), then do not tell the teller that that is what you've done. Tellers aren't bank managers and they have a three-ring-binder kinda job, in that they have to follow policy across the board with no exceptions.

If I had written authorization from the check payee, I would personally go with the sign and deposit into my own account thing, because I've never had a problem doing it. That said; I'm not a lawyer; I don't even play one on the intartube.
posted by dejah420 at 2:31 PM on January 28, 2009

If the check is made out to her, then DO NOT put "for deposit only," not even if you put other things along with it. That means they can only deposit it in YOUR MOM's account, not yours. The bank will not deposit it into your account no matter how much you plead- they have a special responsibility under the law for checks that are endorsed "for deposit only" and will only put them into the bank account of the person named on the check.

You want to do exactly what your mom says to do. Write exactly this on the back of the check: "Pay to the order of anonymous, signed MOM." Then go deposit it in your account or sign it over again to the school or whatever you have to do with PLUS checks. You can make the signature look like hers if you want, but not a big deal.

You have your mom's permission, so it isn't illegal. Think of yourself as her stamp- banks and institutions use stamps or numbers or whatever all the time to endorse checks and it isn't a problem because the stamp is authorized. Your mom has authorized you to sign for her. If the bank questions you, have them call your mom. If they still won't take it again to another branch. My dad and I do this all the time and never have a problem, even with larger checks.
posted by ohio at 3:22 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Canadian bank teller so take whatever you will from this.

With a cheque of that size I would rarely ever deposit it into a third party account without the payee present (with ID) to endorse in front of me. Exceptions could be made for clients that I have dealt with extensively. Perhaps I'm a being a hard ass, but there's really too much room for fraud if I just accept random cheques that aren't made out to the depositor. The bank machine probably doesn't care though.

Recommend talking to your school registrar to see if they can just straight-up accept it.
posted by megamanwich at 3:47 PM on January 28, 2009

Also, it can't hurt to try depositing the cheque at your bank with a teller. Worst thing is they refuse. Ask for a manager. See what kind assurances they need. Could your mother go into your bank's branch where she is and have them fax over some kind of documentation? Be firm.
posted by megamanwich at 3:50 PM on January 28, 2009

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