What is a Restrictive Endorsement?

Restrictive Endorsement

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Restrictive Endorsement

A restrictive endorsement limits the use of a check or another negotiable instrument once it’s endorsed. When someone endorses a check with a restriction, they’re setting a specific condition or limitation on how the check can be used.

The most common form of restrictive endorsement is “For Deposit Only,” which means that the check can only be deposited into an account and cannot be immediately cashed.

Here’s how to apply a restrictive endorsement:

  • Turn Over the Check: On the back of the check, there’s typically a line or designated area for endorsements.
  • Write the Restriction: Write “For Deposit Only” on the top line.
  • Endorse the Check: Beneath the restriction, sign your name.

After applying this restrictive endorsement, the check can only be deposited into an account in the name of the payee (the person to whom the check was written out).

Example of a Restrictive Endorsement

Let’s delve into a more detailed fictional scenario to illustrate the concept of a restrictive endorsement:

Emily runs a small freelance graphic design business called “Emily Designs”. She finishes a major project for a client, “Big Corp”, and sends them an invoice. In return, she receives a check from Big Corp for $5,000 as payment for her services.

However, Emily is going on a short vacation and doesn’t want to leave the check at her office. She’s concerned about its safety. She doesn’t want anyone, even a trusted friend or colleague, to potentially cash it on her behalf.

To ensure the check’s security and that it can only be deposited into her business bank account, Emily decides to use a restrictive endorsement.


  • Emily flips the check over to find the endorsement area on the back.
  • On the top line of this area, she writes: “For Deposit Only to Account of Emily Designs”.
  • Right below that line, she signs her name as she would for a regular endorsement.

With this restrictive endorsement, the check can only be deposited into the business bank account of “Emily Designs. It can’t be cashed at a teller window, nor can it be deposited into any other account that doesn’t match the name “Emily Designs”.

This action provides an extra layer of security. Even if someone were to find or steal the check, they would not be able to cash it or deposit it into a different account due to the restrictive endorsement.

This example demonstrates how a restrictive endorsement can provide added security and peace of mind for the endorser, especially when dealing with significant amounts or business transactions.

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