Can I Write a Check to Myself?

Article Summary:

Writing a check to yourself is a legal way to transfer money safely. You can write a check to yourself to transfer funds to a personal checking account or to move funds between accounts at the same bank. Aside from writing a check to yourself, you can also transfer funds electronically through ACH transfers, third-party services, and wire transfers. Electronic transfers typically allow you to access your money more quickly than writing a check.

If you want to transfer funds, there are a wealth of options available to you, including writing a check to yourself. Although checks are no longer as prevalent as they once were, they are still a useful and efficient way to move money around.

Writing a check to yourself can accomplish the same goals as using third-party apps such as PayPal and Venmo. You can write a check to yourself to transfer funds to a personal checking account, to transfer funds between accounts at the same bank, and to move funds from your business to your personal account. You can also cash a check you wrote to yourself.

What happens if you write a check to yourself?

Writing a check to yourself is a legal way to transfer money safely between bank accounts. Depending on the amount of money and the way in which you want to deposit the check, it may take several business days for all of your funds to be available. However, there are some transfer methods that make these funds available immediately.

Transferring funds to a personal checking account

To write a check to yourself, fill out the check as you would normally, and then put your own name on the line that says “Pay to the order of.”

Blank sample check

Once you’ve filled in the amount of money you want to deposit, endorse the check by signing the back of it. You can then deposit the check by taking it to your financial institution either in person or by mailing it in. You can also deposit the check at an ATM or take a picture of the front and back of the check with your mobile device before uploading it to your bank’s mobile app.

Transferring funds between accounts at the same bank

This is known as an intrabank transfer. To transfer these funds, write a check to yourself in the same way outlined above and just deposit the funds into your other account.

It’s also possible to do this electronically by signing into your online bank account from your computer or mobile device and transferring funds between accounts. You can also do this over the phone. Note that this is different from a bank-to-bank transfer, which is described in more detail below.

Writing a check made to cash

To write a check to withdraw cash, you would write “Cash” on the line that says “Pay to the order of.” This effectively makes the check similar to cash, as anybody can use it.

Writing a check to cash is useful if you don’t know who the check’s payee is, or if you need to write a check to yourself in order to get cash quickly. You can deposit or cash a check made to cash at check cashing stores.

IMPORTANT! A lost or stolen check that’s been made out to “Cash” can be cashed or deposited by anybody, so this option is riskier than others. Because of this, banks might be hesitant to cash the check, and may require identification before they will complete the transaction.

Cashing a check you wrote to yourself

If you’re planning to cash a check you wrote to yourself, endorse the check by signing the back of it. You may also need to write your account number below your name (for extra security). Once you’ve done this, you can hand the check to the bank or credit union teller, and they will cash the check for you.

Financial institutions limit the amount of money that is immediately available, so there’s a chance you won’t be able to cash the check for the full amount you write it for.

Checks from joint bank accounts

If you have a joint bank account, both you and the person you share the account with can write checks to yourselves.

Banks and other financial institutions don’t require the signatures of both account holders to cash or deposit the check. This means if you write a check to yourself from this account, you can deposit it in a different account without needing the other person listed on the account.

Writing checks from business accounts

You can only write a check to yourself from a business account if you are an authorized signer. When an account is opened under a business name, the financial institution requires the names and signatures of all the owners, officers, and employees who may write checks on the business’s behalf. Unless another individual gets this authority, these are the only people who may write checks from that account.

As an authorized signer, you can write a check out to yourself and deposit it in your personal bank account. To do this, follow the same steps you would take to deposit a check from any other financial account.

Pro Tip

If you plan to deposit funds from your business account into your personal account, be sure to document each transaction in case the IRS ever needs this information.

How much can you write a personal check for without being taxed?

You don’t have to report personal check deposits to the IRS as long as the funds are not income earned from work of some kind. As long as the money is unrelated to a business account or business expense, personal check deposits are untaxed.

However, if you are paid by personal checks, those are subject to taxation. For example, if you work as an independent contractor and receive payment through personal checks, this counts as taxable income. The same goes if you are an employee and are paid through personal checks by your employer.

What is the largest check a financial institution will cash?

Financial institutions don’t place restrictions on how large of a check you can cash, but they are required to report transactions over $10,000 to the IRS. However, as an individual, you do not have any reporting requirements.

The Federal Reserve does allow financial institutions to put a hold on large checks and deposits, so it is unlikely you would get all of your funds immediately. Financial institutions must make $200 of a check available to customers the next day.

That being said, if your deposit is over $200, the institution may hold the rest of the funds for a few reasons. For example, if you recently opened a new account or if your bank or credit union believes the remaining balance can’t be collected, they may place a “deposit hold” or “check hold” on the check you provided.

Pro Tip

Contact your bank or credit union before attempting to cash a check of $5,000 or more. This allows them time to get the correct amount of cash on hand.

How much money can you deposit in a bank or credit union without getting reported?

Cash deposits of $10,000 or more must be reported to the IRS. If you make a deposit of this size or larger, you’ll need to complete and submit Form 8300 within 15 days of the deposit. On the form, you must identify who you received the cash from, the method of payment, and a description of why you received the money.

The IRS identifies cash as currency, bank drafts, cashier’s checks, and money orders. You do not have to report personal checks or business checks.

Can I write a check to myself with no money in my account?

It is illegal to write a check to yourself without having sufficient funds available in your bank account. When you write a check, you need to ensure the funds listed on the check are available in your account.

The receiving institution might accept a bad check and add the requested funds to your account, but the check will eventually bounce. This practice is “check kiting” and is a form of fraud that can result in serious legal trouble. If you don’t think you have enough money in your account to cover the amount you wrote the check for, try to void the check immediately.

Pro Tip

If your account is empty or low on funds, you’ll get hit with inactivity, low-balance, or overdraft fees. If you do not have the funds to meet your financial institution’s minimum account balance, it might be best not to have an account at all.

Alternative money transfer methods

Transferring money is a fairly simple process that can be achieved in several different ways. While writing a check to yourself means you’ll have to wait a few business days for the money to be available, other transfer methods can get you your funds much more quickly.

ACH transfers

Transferring funds between financial institutions is what’s known as a bank-to-bank transfer, also called an Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer. It’s an easy way to move money electronically from one bank account to another. To use this option, one of the institutions must offer a bank-to-bank transfer service.

Many online institutions offer this service and allow you to link multiple accounts. An increasing number of brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions now offer ACH transfers as well. The funds move through an ACH network, often free of charge.

It can take anywhere between a few business days to a full week to link the two accounts, as financial institutions often require a verification and security process.

Third-party services

Third-party services are also able to transfer funds. User-friendly apps such as PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App provide free or low-cost money transfers. For example, if you have one PayPal account linked to one bank account and another PayPal account linked to another bank account, you can transfer funds back and forth between the separate accounts.

However, there are a few drawbacks to using these alternative apps. Many have limits as to how much money users move in a single transaction, making larger transactions more difficult to complete on these apps. Additionally, these accounts take several business days and require multiple verification and security confirmations to activate.

Wire transfers

Wire transfers are an additional way to transfer funds from one account to another. A wire transfer is a broad term that can encompass any electronic transfer of money, but it most often is used to describe a bank-to-bank transfer.

These funds are immediately available upon receipt, and most requests can be processed within the same day. Some banks or credit unions place a limit on the amount of money you can transfer in a day, but the limit tends to be high.

Some types of accounts will let you make wire transfers for free, although these are usually premium accounts. Most accounts will make you pay wire transfer fees to transfer funds or even receive funds, so be sure to consider those costs before using a wire transfer.

Key Takeaways

  • You can write a check to yourself to transfer funds to a personal checking account. However, you can also transfer funds between accounts at the same bank and move funds from your business to your personal account.
  • You can only write a check to yourself from a business account if you have signatory authority.
  • Cash deposits of $10,000 or more must be reported to the IRS. If you make a deposit of this size or larger, you must complete and submit Form 8300 within 15 days of the deposit.
  • ACH transfers, third-party service apps, and wire transfers are alternative ways to transfer funds electronically. Electronic transfers often don’t take as long as transfers made by check.
  • It is illegal to write a check to yourself without having sufficient funds available in your bank account.
View Article Sources
  1. Can I cash a check at any bank or credit union? — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  2. How quickly can I get money after I deposit a check into my checking account? — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  3. How Long Does It Take For A Check To Clear — SuperMoney
  4. How To Mail a Check Safely and Can You Fold It? — SuperMoney
  5. Bounced Check: What To Do When You Write Or Get One — SuperMoney
  6. How to Void a Check — SuperMoney
  7. Best Checking Accounts | May 2022 — SuperMoney
  8. Business Checking Accounts: Reviews & Comparisons — SuperMoney