What Ink Colors are Valid for Checks?
While we all know checks are ‘supposed to be’ written in black ink, there are other colors of ink that are acceptable to use on checks than just black ink – the primary alternative is blue ink.
That’s what this article will help you learn — You’ll learn all about the rules regarding what colors of ink are allowed on the checques and other paper documents that banks and financial institutions provide and require you to fill out from time to time.
Why are certain colors of ink not accepted?
While some banks don’t care, most care what ink you’re filling out documents and checks in for a couple of reasons — the primary one being certain machines they use to validate checks often cannot identify ink that is not blue or black. This has largely been fixed as the machines have been updated, however the practice has stuck around regardless, resulting in certain ink colors, but especially red ink, being rejected from almost all banks.
There are other reasons, such as the fact that certain ink colors can be hard for colorblind people to read (red ink in particular), and the fact that bankers generally use red ink to mark a check as ‘failed to cash,’ and thus they want to have an ink of their own that customers do not use to make it clear whether or not a banker marked the check or the individual marked it.
If you have no blue or black pen available you can write the check in another color’s ink, however if you do this cashing the check may take significantly longer, and there’s a chance it’ll just be rejected. This is because while it’s against most banks rules, some will accept it – however they’ll usually need to manually approve the check, which requires the bank-managers approval.
Can you use red ink on a check?
As mentioned above, we would recommend against writing your check in red ink as many banks will simply reject it based on their corporate/bank policy. You can try to deposit a check or write a check in red ink, but if the bank doesn’t accept it they’ll invalidate the check and you won’t be able to cash it elsewhere if they do that.
Really it’s better to make a stop somewhere, be it a dollar store or a pharmacy, and just pick up a cheap pack of blue or black pens to write the check in, as it’s not worth writing it in red ink only have to get another check and redo everything – alternatively if you’re depositing it into your own (or families) account then you can always go to the bank and ask to use one of their blue or black pens to fill out your check.
Can you use Blue Ink on a check?
The short answer is yes, you can use blue ink on a check and it’ll be accepted without issue by most banks and financial institutions.
Banks will gladly accept all check written in blue or black ink (if they’re filled out properly) as there’s never bank policies against these colors, and check-scanning devices see both ink colors as the same, so they shouldn’t have any issues processing the check after receiving it.
Can you use pink ink on a check?
While I’d advise against it, as many banks will reject it, we’ve seen that they’re generally accepted at most banks now, as they’re different enough from red ink that most bank-scanners will be able to read them, and they’re not an issue for color-blind people.
With that being said many banks will still not accept them as they appear significantly fainter in color, sometimes making them unreadable by scanners.
Can you use specialty pens on a check?
As we’ve mentioned above, we would advise against using any ink that is not blue or black as most banks will reject such check as they appear significantly fainter than black or blue, and may be unreadable to the bank scanners/computers.
If your specialty pen is in black or blue ink then it should be fine — otherwise I’d find another pen to write with if at all possible.
What about Endorsing a check, can you do that in different colors?
While you should be able to endorse a check in any color we wouldn’t do it in anything but blue or black unless a banker specifies for you to do so, as while it’s generally not against bank policy many bankers seem to not know that this is not an issue, and thus invalidate the check when it shouldn’t have been invalidated.
What about other bank documents? Can you sign paperwork in other colors?
Again we wouldn’t recommend doing it in any other color than blue or black ink, however it shouldn’t be an issue as there aren’t generally bank policies against it. They should be able to accept the paperwork regardless, as they do not use the same machines as they use to scan checks, making it not an issue for them if you use another color of ink, such as a red ink.