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Cashing a business check may not appear to be any different from cashing a personal check written out to you. But if the check is made out to your business and you don't have a separate bank account for your company, things can get complicated.
Here's how to cash a business check, whether it's made out to you or the name of your business.
Where Can I Cash a Business Check?
Depending on the situation, there are a few different places you can go to cash a check made out to your business, including your bank, the bank that issued the check, a retailer that offers check-cashing services and a check-cashing store.
If your bank will cash the check, you generally don't have to pay a fee as a customer. However, if you decide to cash the check with the issuing bank or a check-cashing store, you may have to pay a fee, which can vary depending on the size of the check.
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How to Cash a Business Check
If you've received a business check from a client or customer, here are the steps you can take to cash it:
- Decide where to cash it. Depending on your situation—more on that in a minute—determine the right place to try to cash your check.
- Endorse the check. If the check is made out to you personally, you can simply sign your name. If it's made out to your business, however, you may need to write the name of the business and your position, then sign your name.
- Provide identification. Because you're not depositing the check, you'll need to provide a government-issued photo ID confirming your identity and verifying that you're authorized to cash checks for the business. Your name must be listed on the account as the owner or an authorized agent of the business.
How to Cash a Business Check Without a Bank Account
If you don't have a business checking account for your business yet, you can still cash a check if it's made out to your name instead of the business. If it's made to the business, however, there are a couple of options:
- Go to the issuing bank: If the bank or credit union that issued the check has a branch near where you live, you may be able to cash it there, as they can confirm that the account the check is drawn from has sufficient funds. However, the financial institution may charge a service fee.
- Check-cashing service: If you don't have a bank account and the issuing bank has no local branches, you may be able to cash a business check at a local check-cashing store or retailer that offers check-cashing services. Popular retailers that offer various money services include Kroger, Fred Meyer, Smith's and Walmart.
If you're concerned about check-cashing fees, take some time to compare your options to minimize your costs.
How to Cash a Business Check Not in Your Name
If you have a business bank account with your company's name and your name as the owner or authorized agent, you can usually cash the check at a local branch by endorsing it and verifying your identity.
In case your bank doesn't allow you to cash the check for some reason, you can simply deposit it into the account—just about anyone can deposit a business check into the company's business checking account.
However, if you don't have a business bank account with your name on it, some banks and check-cashing services may refuse to cash the check.
If you find one that does, you may need to bring in a government-issued photo ID and business documents, such as a state registration or articles of incorporation, to prove that you own the business or you're authorized to cash checks.
You may need to open a business bank account or ask the person who wrote the check to pay you another way if you can't figure out how to cash the check.
Make It a Priority to Have a Business Checking Account
If you're just getting started with your business or you're a sole proprietor, it may be tempting to use your personal checking account to manage your business expenses. But regardless of your situation, it's a good idea to open a separate business bank account.
Having a business checking account will make it easier to cash a check made out to your business. It'll also help you separate your business and personal expenses, which will make a huge difference at tax time and make your business more official.
Not all business bank accounts are created equal, though, so take some time to research several options and compare features, fees and limitations to find the best fit for your business.