Check Etiquette: Who Should I Make My Check Payable To?

May 6, 2021

A question we are often asked by clients is: “Who should I make my check payable to – Bedel Financial, the custodian firm or me?” In general, most brokerage firms have similar preferences and stipulations. For example, Charles Schwab prefers that clients make their checks payable to “Charles Schwab”. But Schwab will also accept checks for deposit with your own name on the payee line. Never make the check payable to Bedel Financial!

The more details, the better

Always include as much detail as possible in the memo line of the check. If the check is for an IRA contribution, specify the tax year for which the contribution is being made to ensure it will be recorded correctly in your account. You don’t want an IRA contribution you claimed for tax year 2016 to be applied to year 2017. Such mistakes may take significant time to correct.

Putting detailed information on the memo line also ensures a smoother, timelier processing of your check. It reduces the need for an Operations Specialist your Investment Manager to contact you with questions. It’s also always helpful to include account numbers in the memo line.

Steer clear of these mistakes

At Bedel Financial, we can’t deposit checks that are payable to us into your brokerage account. Those checks will be returned promptly to you via mail.

Custodians may consider your check to be unacceptable for deposit for several reasons. One is timeliness. Typically checks must be dated within the last 180 days to be considered valid. Custodians will also refuse checks if the numerical dollar amount doesn’t match the written dollar amount. For trust accounts, the check can be payable to the custodian, the trustee, or the name of the trust account — but it must appear exactly as it’s registered on the account. Any deviation will cause the check to be returned. If you have any questions regarding a check you’ll be submitting, please contact your Operations Specialist for clarification.

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