It isn't unusual and is perfectly legal to write a check to yourself from one of your personal bank accounts to deposit into another bank account. To do this, fill out the check as you normally would, naming yourself as the payee (so the check would say "pay to the order of" and then your name). You then can deposit the check into any of your other financial accounts that accept check deposits. This most often would be a checking account.
You also have the option of making the check out to cash, though this presents additional risks if you lose it since anyone in possession of the check can cash it at your bank or deposit it into an account. However, if the check is written to yourself, you and only you can cash it.
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Making Out a Check to Yourself
You can make out a check to yourself and deposit it into your own bank account. You would just endorse the check by signing your own name on the back and then deposit it as you would any other check. There may be some banks that require you to use a specific deposit slip when depositing a check made out to yourself, so it's always best to check with your bank first. This is a document that tells the teller the dollar amount you're depositing and where it needs to go. For example, if you're depositing a check made out to you into your checking account, you'll need to fill out the deposit slip accordingly.
You may also have a deposit slip in your checkbook with your account number and routing number already entered. If not, you'll need your account number, which can typically be found in your online banking account or on a personal check next to the routing number, which Forbes explains always has nine digits.
If you don't have a deposit slip with you or can't find one, don't worry. The bank or credit union teller will usually be able to help you fill one out. Just make sure that you endorse the check before handing it over. If you are using an ATM, you may be able to get a deposit slip inside the bank lobby or in a small box next to the ATM. This is true of brick-and-mortar banks; online deposits may be handled slightly differently, so be sure to check with your bank for details.
Endorsing a Check
In order to deposit a check even if it's made out to you, it needs to be endorsed. This simply means that you sign your own name on the back of the check. Once you do this, the check can be deposited into your own account. You may have to pay a fee or show proof of ID to deposit a check at a different bank than the one where your own accounts live.
If you're depositing a check made out to someone else, they will need to endorse it first before you can deposit it into your own account. The endorsement should include their signature as well as "For Deposit Only" followed by their account number, says the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This ensures that the money from the check goes into the right account.
Once a check is endorsed, you can deposit it to your personal account like any other check. Just fill out a deposit slip and hand it over to the teller along with the check. They will take care of the rest, and your account balance should be updated within a few days.
Waiting for a Check to Clear
Financial institutions clear checks much faster than they used to thanks to the Automated Clearing House, or ACH, network. If the bank where you deposit the check processes it as an ACH transaction, your funds may be available as quickly as one business day after making the deposit since the transaction will be transmitted between the banks electronically.
When checks aren't processed through ACH transfers, meaning the actual paper check is sent to the bank from which the funds are coming, it can take a few more days before you see the funds available in your account.
As a courtesy, many banks will clear a portion of the deposit overnight, meaning the amount of the check is made available to you before the account you write the check from is debited. When money is a little tight but you're expecting a deposit soon, it can be tempting to write yourself a check for those anticipated funds a little early. However, writing checks for amounts in excess of the current available balance in your account is technically considered check fraud regardless of whether you have a deposit on the way or not.
Checks From a Business Account
Whether you run a small business as a sole proprietorship or use a business entity like a corporation or limited liability company, you can write yourself a check from a separate business account if you have signatory authority.
When an account is opened under a business name, banks require the names and signatures of all owners, officers and employees who are authorized to write checks, meaning they have signatory authority. If you have signatory authority, a check made out to yourself can be deposited in your personal bank account just like any other check you receive.
Checks From Joint Accounts
If you have money in a joint bank account with your spouse or other individual, it means you're both authorized to write checks to anyone, including yourself.
Since financial institutions don't require the signatures of both account holders in order to cash a check, you can sign the check you write to yourself and deposit it into a different account even if that account is solely in your name.