How do I cash a check made to my business name, not me

I do very occasional freelance work, and just received a check made out to my company name, even though I explicitly stated to make it out to my proper name.

How can I cash this check without registering for a business checking acct?

The check is for $1,000.

As a former bank teller at a small community bank in my area, I would, in general, deposit checks made out to a business into a business account or cash the check for an authorized person explicity stated in the existing business account to which the check had been made out as long as there were sufficient funds in the business account to cover the check if it were to bounce. As far as cashing a check for which no business account exists you are probably out of luck.

Of course, if the business is a corporation, and you cashed the check for an individual, you broke the law.

Wondering about the OP: rubes. Is the check made out to a corporation?

I’d suggest going to the bank it’s drawn on with a copy of your registration (or announcemnt) of your fictitious business name.

In New York State, we’re required to register any name under which we do business. When we do, we get a certified “DBA” document which we can show to our bank. Mine has it on file, so I can deposit checks made out to my business name into my personal account.

Failing that, I think you’re out of luck. For obvious reasons, the bank isn’t going to let you cash a check made out to someone else. Your only recourse may be to ask your client to issue a new check.

I had to print “Bubbadog dba Company Name” and then I signed Bubbadog underneath. I took it into my bank, told the teller that my freelance work brought about five checks a year and that occasionally I got a business check. They let me deposit the check.

Actually, my real name isn’t Bubbadog. I did this under my real name.

Maybe the bank wouldn’t cash the check, but they’d probably let you deposit it without looking at the name. Better yet, deposit it via an ATM.

thanks gang, looks like i’ll be shelling out a few bucks to the state to get an assumed name and open a checking acct to make it official. I thought about the atm deal, but I don’t want to end up getting that bounced back or something.

My freelance work brings me checks made out to “My Name - Photographer”

A couple of times I’ve had tellers glance askance, but never been refused.

Two experiences with this:

In college I was the guitarist and business manager for my band. I looked into getting a bank account with the band’s name, and they bank required a DBA (as mentioned above), which in turn would ultimately required us to file quarterly tax statements, etc. Didn’t want the hassle. We didn’t get the account, instead I opened a joint checking account with the trumpet player and we accepted checks made out to either one of us, and made sure clients understood that in advance.

I played in a band last year, and a bar owner paid me with a check made out in the band’s name. I tried to deposit it in my personal checking account and the bank refused. This is a bank where I am a “premium customer.”

Do what what of our now ex-agents did: Get a job working at a bank, take an attorney’s escrow account check made out to our company for a commission, add your name to the front of it after the company name, and cash it at the bank where you work.

When the attorney received the cashed check and called us, that’s the only time I’ve ever seen smoke coming out of anyone’s ears.

It’s your company, yes? Just endorse by signing the company name. It then becomes “bearer paper” and can be cashed by whomever holds it. Alternatively, you the company could endorse it over to you personally, and then you personally could endorse and cash it just like a check that was originally made out to you.

That assumes you’re legally authorized to sign checks for your company – if it’s just you d/b/a the company (which has no legal existence, but is just another name for you), then it’s fine. If the company is a corporation, then this would only be legal if the corporation authorizes you to spend its money.


Yeah, but…

In the case of a DBA, the bank will have to have paperwork on file to prove that you are the company before they will cash the check. If the entity is incorporated the bank will not cash a check made payable to the corporation. The check must be deposited. A corporate check with an authorized signature can then be written and cashed - kind of a UCC/bank policy end around. The corporation is an entity unto itself. No bank would recognize an endorsement like “XYZ Corp. by Joe Smith, authorized signatory, payable to Joe Smith”.

As for depositing DBA checks to a personal account, you may run into bank policy problems. Banks do not like personal accounts used for business purposes. If you continue to bring in checks made to a business name the bank will likely insist you open a business account. Business account fees are generally higher than personal account fees, and you can bet the bank doesn’t want to miss out on fee income.

If you are opening a bank account under your business name, you might want to get an employer ID number in addition to your fictitious name. That way you can open the account with a number other than your SSN. It’s nice for security reasons because a lot of businesses require a SSN or EIN when paying a freelancer. You might check if you have to hold a business license to do so, in which case you might want to just use your SSN after all, as very occasional work might not be worth it to pay the business license fee.

I usually catch the customer in time enough to ask them to write it out to me personally. Once, the customer actually combined my name and my company name (i.e. “Krokodil McGee, Truck Driver Guy”). I endorsed it with my name and showed the teller a business card. It was for under $50, so it cleared without incident.

After re-reading some of the suggestions, it finally sunk in. I don’t want to cash the check, I just need to deposit it and let it clear through. I went there, signed it with a Pay to the Order of Rubes on the back, and they said give it 3 days to clear. I am on business day 3, so if the money is there tomorrow, I’ll have a drink and give a cheers out to y’all.