How To Correct A Mistake On A Check

Writing a check may not be as popular as it once was, but this only creates more questions about how to fix mistakes when you are filling one in. Fortunately for you, we have sourced expert answers for all your check-writing questions. 

Generally, you can correct some mistakes on your checks without affecting the validity of the document. For example,

How to correct a mistake on a check
  • You may deposit a check with your name misspelled if you sign the check with misspelling and add the correct spelling.
  • You can amend your address on checks with old information
  • You can adjust a numerical amount if you sign next to the correction
  • You can deposit a check with your name misspelled if you sign the check with the misspelling and add the correct spelling.

However, the bank will make the final decision when it comes to accepting any check with a correction. To avoid fraud, many banks enforce strict rules about when and how you can make changes to your checks. 

Can You Correct A Date on a Check?

Most banks will allow you to correct your mistakes by crossing through the error, writing the correction and initialing the change. 

However, dates can be variable depending on your financial institution. This is especially the case if the original date looks older than six months, then the bank may refuse to honor it because it is stale-dated.

The definition of a stale-dated check is one that may not be honored because it hasn’t been deposited within a set amount of time. Timelines often vary, but six months is typical for personal bank accounts. 

Additionally, many banks will accept undated checks, or you can enter the current date yourself.

Can You Deposit a Check with a Misspelled Name?

Being able to deposit a check with a misspelled name will depend on a few factors. It firstly depends on your bank and how strict they may be. Some can be increasingly more strict than others when it comes to the accuracy of information on checks and other documents.

Depositing a misspelled check also depends on how the error comes across. If someone else wrote you a check and your name was spelled incorrectly, there may not be a problem if it is off by a letter or two. 

However, if you sign your name incorrectly, this is a warning sign to the bank that someone could be attempting fraud. Additionally, if you are depositing a check where someone has misspelled your name, you will most likely need to acknowledge the misspelling by signing with the error. 

If after ordering your check, your name arrives misspelled, the bank may process the checks anyway until you can order a replacement. In most cases, crossing out information and fixing it may suffice in the meantime.

Can You Deposit Checks with the Wrong Address?

Most banks will have no issue regarding incorrect address or phone number information. You will be able to correct your address, name or phone number on a check without consequences.

The best solution for any of these errors is to strike through the error, writing in the correction and putting your initials in the vicinity. 

Remember that you should also never use white-out to correct any mistakes as this can be indicative of a fraud attempt.

What Happens if you Write Two Different Amounts on a Check?

When writing a check you will write a numerical amount and that amount in written numbers. However if the two areas don’t match, what happens?

Do remember that the line in which you write out the check amount is called the legal line. The numerical value will go into the courtesy box and will only confirm the total in a way that would be easier to read. 

As stated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the spelled-out words explain the legal amount the check is worth. 

Receiving a check with two different amounts may mean that your bank might have special rules for processing it. It would be in your best interest to speak with the person or business who wrote the check to ask for a replacement that is accurate.

How Do You Correct a Check Amount?

If you have made a mistake when writing the value words on your check, there is usually no easy fix. You will have to void the check and write up a new one. 

Correcting the numeric amount is straightforward. You only need to strike through the correct amount, fill in the appropriate numbers above this and circle the proper amount. Make sure to initial this change too. 

What Happens If You Sign a Check Wrong? 

You can make many mistakes when signing a check. Maybe you used your maiden name instead of your married one or even used your nickname instead of the full name that is on your bank account. 

However with most financial institutions, the signature on your check is the most crucial aspect. If a check has no signature, the check is not valid, Therefore, if the signature is wrong, this could suggest to the bank that someone is trying to commit fraud. 

How Do you Correct a Mistake when Endorsing a Check?

Endorsing a check is when you sign the back of it. Consumers need to endorse checks as this is the step required to transfer funds to the bank legally. An additional reason to endorse checks is that it enhances the security of your funds. By writing deposit only or including your account number, you will ensure that no one else is able to use your check if you happen to lose it. 

Making a mistake on the endorsement area of a check can present issues if your bank has strict rules on deposits. 

Unfortunately, if you wish to change an endorsement, such as swapping from “for deposit only” to another endorsement type, crossing it out will not work. Realistically, there is no way to undo an endorsement. However, your bank may be laxer about adhering to their own rules, so therefore you could get away with making a change. 

Can you Deposit the Check without Signing the Back?

Some banks will have rules that do not help your situation. However in most cases, you will be able to deposit a check without signing the back. When it comes to ATM or mobile deposits, you will not know whether the check is valid without the endorsement until the bank processes it. 

However if you visit a bank branch, the teller will likely request your signature on the endorsement line before depositing or cashing the check. Visiting the bank is the best way to discuss any check-writing issues. It is important to remember that for those in the issuing end of the check process, you will not be aware of a problem until your check recipient reports it to you. 

Irrespective of this, the bank will have the final say when it comes to whether your check is valid or not. If you have questions it would be wise to go into your bank and ask about the policies and guidelines. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully one of the issues in this article applies to you and you are successfully able to correct a mistake on your check. 

If the article has not provided you with sufficient information, then it may be advised to get in touch with your bank to see what the appropriate next steps are for your situation.

Deborah White