How to cash a check made out to an infant son/daughter
November 19, 2006 7:17 PM   Subscribe

How do I go about cashing or depositing a check made out to my 4 month year old daughter? The check was a gift, I deposited in our bank account, and the dang bank returned it, charged us a fee, because she isn't on the account. What is the easiest way around this?
posted by davidvan to Work & Money (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Return the check and tell them to send you a giftcard for the store of your choice.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:21 PM on November 19, 2006

And who the hell writes a check out to a 4-month-old?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:22 PM on November 19, 2006

That check was made out to your daughter, not to you. Open up a savings account in her name with the mininum balance and deposit said check to savings account.

When she gets old enough to appreciate it she will thank you.
posted by sophist at 7:29 PM on November 19, 2006

I worked as a bank teller for about 8 years and never heard of anything like this. As her parent, you should be able to sign her name on the back of the check and then sign your name under it. The bank should give you no problem with this.

I have since graduated from banking and become a lawyer and from what I remember of my UCC class in law school, whether your daughters signature is genuine or not is irrelevant as far as the bank is concerned because YOU are the one with the account, YOU are the last person who endorsed the check and YOU are the one they can come looking for.

I would go back to the bank, sign the check as above, and look for the branch manager. If they still give you trouble (and don't return the fee they charged you) I would switch banks.
posted by delosic at 7:32 PM on November 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

Yeah, seriously... open up an account in her name. It's better to do it sooner than later, and you can use it to help teach her about money someday.
posted by fvox13 at 7:36 PM on November 19, 2006

I am suprised you could not cash it into your own account, but it is never too soon to start saving for her college, in her name.
posted by caddis at 7:39 PM on November 19, 2006

and you can sign checks for deposit into her account, just put "(parent)" after your signature.
posted by caddis at 7:40 PM on November 19, 2006

I've deposited checks written to my daughter, and she doesn't even share my last name. I simply wrote "Pay to the order of [my name]" and then signed it. I've never had a problem.

Also, long ago I was using a last name that is not my legal last name, and used to deposit checks made out to this non-legal name in the same way.
posted by serazin at 7:55 PM on November 19, 2006

Sounds like the bank is being a stickler, just endorse the check over to yourself and deposit it again.
posted by Mitheral at 7:56 PM on November 19, 2006

Get a new bank. This is a non-problem for a deposit to an account.
posted by KneeDeep at 8:01 PM on November 19, 2006

This is a pretty common situation; if the customer service people at your bank can't handle it without tacking on a fee then it's time to change banks. Having said that, my wife and I have an account for our daughter that comes in handy for this sort of thing. Just familiarize yourself with the Uniform Gifts/Transfers to Minors Act in your state before putting too much money in an account in your daughter's name.
posted by TedW at 8:04 PM on November 19, 2006

Some minor functionary at the bank screwed up. We've gotten several checks made out to our kids when they were born, and just signed our names and deposited them. I'd call and explain - and I would expect them to remove the charge and deposit the check.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:13 PM on November 19, 2006

Currently work in banking -- and the problem is that it's a third-party check, and depending upon the bank's policy, they're not going to take it because of the liability. It's one of those things where if you are banking face to face, it's fine, but if you are not, then the person who's doing the ATM or whatever doesn't necessarily know you and is forced to follow policy w/r/t third party checks. Sucks, but is true. And it's why I don't make checks payable ti minors. It's cool for the kid for far less time than it's a pain in the ass for the parent. But I digress.

You can open an account for her as a minor, or if you can go see someone in person, you might be able to talk them into cashing it for you or depositing it to your account. Otherwise, you're going to have to ask the gifter for a new check.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:19 PM on November 19, 2006

I agree with the "wha??" mentality.

My dad used to cash some checks for me (including paychecks) up until last year. We were never charged any fees, and I'm not listed on the account anywhere.
posted by niles at 8:34 PM on November 19, 2006

Yep. Third-party check. My old employer, Bank of America, was a stickler about such things, but the manager in the banking center where I worked would usually make exceptions for situations like that. The days of signing over a check to someone else and magically making the money that check represents belong to someone else are pretty much over. I got screwed out of COBRA health insurance coverage through BofA for that exact reason, by the way. A check from my investment account I had asked to be made out to Bank of America ended up getting made out to me instead. Rather than cutting a new check, which is what I told everyone the bank would need, the broker simply endorsed the check over to BofA. One nasty letter and returned check later, no health coverage.
posted by emelenjr at 9:30 PM on November 19, 2006

Your bank is being a jerk. They should cheerfully refund the fee, and allow the deposit.
posted by theora55 at 8:37 AM on November 20, 2006

I'll echo: although a misunderstanding up through this point, a F2F transaction should lead to the check being deposited and the fee being waived. If they won't do so, do the "get me your manager" thing and repeat. If they don't budge, get a new bank.

It's also worth opening a savings account for your child, assuming there's not a minimum deposit to waive fees. My savings account has a monthly-fee-waiving minimum, and I'm not meeting it, and I'm getting taken to the cleaners right now because I'm in a bad cash situation. So, don't let the same happen to your child's gift.
posted by brianvan at 10:00 AM on November 20, 2006

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