How do I deposit a check without being there in person?
June 12, 2006 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm expecting a check to arrive in in the mail in a couple of weeks. However, this Friday I'm moving to South Korea and won't be back in a year. The check expires in six months. How do I get this check deposited to my bank account?
posted by BuddhaInABucket to Work & Money (18 answers total)
Is someone you trust getting your mail for you? Can you give them your account # and have them write "Deposit Only" and the account # on the check, and deposit it into your account?

Alternately, could you have them forward the check to you in South Korea, so that you can then mail in the deposit to your bank?
posted by tastybrains at 11:47 AM on June 12, 2006

Do you have a local person that you can trust to FedEx you the check to South Korea and you could send it back for deposit after you've endorsed it? You may want to ask your bank about their mail-based services as well. My bank will allow me to mail in a check (with deposit slip) to an address and they'll deposit it. Sure, it takes some time, but it's shorter than six months.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 11:48 AM on June 12, 2006

As someone who just lived abroad for about a year, I'd suggest getting your mail forwarded to trusted family or friends.

Also, maintain your US bank account with that address as well.

You can use your US debit card as a credit card in Korea.

Then have someone deposit that check into your account.
posted by k8t at 11:49 AM on June 12, 2006

Best answer: Yep, just have someone you trust pick it up for you and deposit it into your account at the ATM or thru the drive thru. Heck, they can even sign your name for you because, really, the bank's not going to go to the effort of checking the signature on the back of a fully deposited check.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:52 AM on June 12, 2006

Not totally kosher, but in similar circumstances I've just had someone forge my signature and deposit it in my account. I mean, what are the chances that someone would be fraudulently depositing your own check into your account?
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:53 AM on June 12, 2006

You don't even have to endorse checks, if you're depositing them in an account with the same name as the check. So there's no need to forge a signature.

The key is just to forward your mail either to family, friends, or to a PO Box service that will forward your mail for you on demand (i.e., every week they'll put all the mail that arrived for you in a big envelope and mail it off to S. Korea).

And find out how to do business with your bank via mail/internet, obviously.
posted by jellicle at 12:05 PM on June 12, 2006

My mom and I do this all the time. You should be able to have anyone deposit funds into your account as long as they have your account # and transit/branch #. They will not be able to take any money out without the bank being liable because they will either need your debit card and PIN, or valid identification like a driver's license etc. If the bank doesn't ask for validation of identity when someone doesn't have their debit card, I believe they are liable for any fraud. YMMV
posted by ChazB at 12:12 PM on June 12, 2006

Most banks will let you mail in your deposits. I'm far away from my bank right now. I just put the cheques in an envelope and send them over. They'll deposit them and mail me back a confirmation.
posted by fcain at 12:19 PM on June 12, 2006

If you really want to be covered legally, give someone you trust a power of attorney.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:26 PM on June 12, 2006

You don't even have to endorse checks

Uh huh. And checks printed on T-shirt are valid too, but good luck getting past the teller.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:27 PM on June 12, 2006

From my banker boyfriend:
Leave a deposit slip or just your account number with someone you trust and have them walk into your branch and deposit it for you. The bank doesn’t care who deposits money into your account as there is no liability to them or you if someone other than you deposits the check. The check has to be deposited into an account with your name on it especially if there is no endorsement (your bank’s tellers should have a stamp they can use that will say something like, “Certified as credited to the account of the named payee, Bank XYZ etc.”). The only way you can get bitten is if the person that has access to you check forges your endorsement and writes in what is called a third party endorsement. What they would do is forge your signature and then write, “Pay to the order of Joe Blow.” Most banks won’t even deposit that check unless both the original payee and the new payee are present with proper ID so the worst case scenario is that your friend tries to steal your money, you report it as fraud to who ever sent you the check and they will work with their bank to get the money back and issue you a new check. Most likely is that your friend will find it in your mail box, get it deposited and you’ll be left wondering why you worried so much.
posted by Coffeemate at 12:44 PM on June 12, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I've never deposited via ATM before so I hadn't thought of it, but that looks like an easy enough solution.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 1:18 PM on June 12, 2006

Write a letter giving someone the authority to endorse your check (and nothing more) and you should be fine if you really want to endorse it. I've never endorsed a check (cheque) that I've deposited in an ATM, and I've never had problems.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:23 PM on June 12, 2006

Having someone else forge your signature on the check is a very bad idea.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:35 PM on June 12, 2006

I pay my dad 300 bucks a month by writing a check for him, endorsing it with Megafly for Megadad for deposit only

and mailing it to his bank with one of his deposit slips

we haven't had a problem yet
posted by Megafly at 4:35 PM on June 12, 2006

Hmmm... your friend just needs to sign "Deposit Only" on the back. You don't even need an "official" signature. Most businesses just endorse with a "deposit only" stamp. No big deal really. You are doing nothing shady.
posted by The Deej at 7:27 PM on June 12, 2006

Late to the party, but I second The Deej - I actually endorse all my checks as soon as I get them, with "For deposit only to xxx bank, account number ########" and no signature. I chuck them in the ATM and never a blip. It seems to me this is even better than leaving them unendorsed - even if someone steals the check, they can't forge a signature or 3rd party endorsement or what have you.
posted by pocams at 8:10 PM on June 12, 2006

Overseas checks can be a challenge here in Korea, even if they're from government agencies and such, overseas. It's getting better, but it does still depend on the teller you get.

Paypal now allow you to make deposits into accounts at Korean banks, by the way -- maybe not helpful here, but it could be useful later.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:45 AM on June 13, 2006

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