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Updated: Sep 05, 2023

How & Where To Deposit A Check With Two Names

A two-party check is a check that is addressed to two payees. Learn the important difference between “and” and “or” as well as how and where you can cash it.
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writing check
Pay careful attention to the "Pay to the Order of" line of a check.

Two-Party Check-Cashing Bank Regulations

Since refund checks from joint tax returns are paid out to both filers, you’ll have to follow your bank’s policy on check deposits that contain multiple payees (each bank has its own policy).

Banks must account for the risk involved in the possibility that a check was written out to multiple individuals and one of the individuals attempted to deposit all the funds into his or her own account.

Some banks can be very strict.

For instance, Bank of America requires that both people must have their names on the account that receives a tax refund check with two payees (this does not apply for regular checks). Popular online bank Ally Bank has the same policy.

Chase and Wells Fargo require that if you want to deposit a check that is payable to two individuals, both payees must go to a branch in person and present government identification to verify the signatures on the back of the check.

Other banks are rather lenient. Citibank and online bank Capital One 360 simply required that checks are properly endorsed by all payees. They don’t stipulate that all payees must provide identification or maintain joint accounts.

If a check is written to multiple payees, big banks may have special rules (otherwise, they follow the law for accepting these checks):

Bank Rules for Multiple Payees

Bank Special deposit rules for multiple payees
Bank of America For tax refund checks, all payees must also be joint owners of the account.
Chase -
Wells Fargo -
Citibank -
U.S. Bank -
Wells Fargo -
PNC Bank -
TD Bank For tax refund checks, all payees must also be joint owners of the account.
BB&T For all checks, all payees must also be joint owners of the account.
SunTrust -

How To Deposit A Check With Two Names

It would be best to call your bank ahead before you deposit the check. Also, do not deposit the check through an ATM and hope that the bank will accept it.

If the bank finds that the check deposit was in violation of its policies, it may become much more of a hassle to get the situation cleared up.

Tip: In most cases, you would be better off asking the payer to write two separate checks. For checks issued by government agencies, you'd have to contact them for a reissued check.

For tax refunds, you can contact the Tax Help Line for Individuals at IRS by calling the toll-free number at (800) 829-1040 to ask for a new check.

When Payees Find Out Their Checks Were Deposited Unknowingly

There have been many cases where checks are written to multiple people and one of the parties find out that part of those funds belonged to them.

This often happens when the check states "or" in the payable line.

But, it can also happen if one party opens a joint account and forges a signature to deposit checks with "and" in the payable line. Note: This activity is illegal and against the law.

Other parties may not know about the check being deposited without their consent.

Once they find out, it may seem logical to pursue the bank(s). However, that move tends to be ineffective when it comes to retrieving their portion of the check funds.

Ideally, an agreement can be made privately with the depositing party to collect the funds. If not, you would have to take legal action to get the money that belongs to you.

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