Internet payment processing and direct deposit have reduced the need to deposit a physical check to your bank account. If you do happen to receive a physical check in the mail, as long as you have an open bank account you can deposit it and retrieve all of your funds in a matter of a few days. Explore the various ways that you can deposit a check so that you know all of your options.
Endorsing the Check
To deposit a check, you need only your account number and your ATM card (if applicable). With some methods, you also need additional equipment to complete the deposit. When you endorse the check, sign with your name or write "For Deposit Only" on the back in the space provided. Under the signature, write in your account number.
The most basic way to deposit a check is to visit a human teller. You must fill out a deposit slip, which asks for your name, account number and the amount of the check, then provide the representative with the endorsed check. If you want to withdraw cash during the same transaction, you must also show valid government-issued identification to the teller. Some banks make a portion or all of the deposited funds available immediately, while others require you to wait at least a day for the check to clear. Sometimes the check clears within hours.
You can also go to an ATM owned by your bank to deposit a check. This method is similar to depositing with a teller, only you don't have to deal with a human --- you only need your ATM card. Some ATMs require you to deposit the check in a envelope, while others allow you to insert just the check. If an envelope is required, fill out your name, the check amount and account number as requested. Insert the check and retrieve a receipt. Again, some banks make the funds available immediately, while others require you to wait until funds clear.
From the Office
Another, more modern option for depositing a physical check is to use remote check-scanning equipment. This option is most common for business bankers --- you can deposit a check from the comfort of your office. Endorse the check as usual. The device connects to the Internet, scans and reads the check, then deposits the funds into your linked account.