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I received a check payable to both my spouse and me. Do both of us have to endorse (sign the back of) the check?

If a check is issued to two people, such as John and Jane Doe, the bank generally can require that the check be signed by both payees before it can be cashed or deposited.

If a check is issued to John or Jane Doe, generally only one payee needs to sign the check.

If a check is unclear as to whether it is payable to both payees or just one payee—such as if it is payable to John and/or Jane Doe—you should ask your bank what the guidelines are.

Last Reviewed: April 2021

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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