Are Checks Written in Pencil Valid (Early-2021)

write endorse check in pencil example

There’s many do’s and dont’s when it comes to writing a check, namely correctly filling it and using the correct writing-device. The problem with using Pencils with checks is that someone can theoretically erase the information and put something else; thus many banks will not accept them simply based on principle even if the check seems non-tampered.

So while sometimes all you can find is a pencil, don’t waste a check writing it like that — find yourself a proper pen to write that check out with first.

Can You Endorse a Check in Pencil?

Endorsing a Check in Pencil has the same issue as writing with Pencils anywhere — you can erase the writing if a mistake is made…or you have malicious intent, and thus many banks will refuse to deposit such checks even if it doesn’t appear to have been tampered with as they cannot be 100% sure.

As a result we’d recommend not using a Pencil when endorsing a check — find yourself a good blue/black ink pink to do it, if you don’t have one any bank or western-union type place will have one you can use no-problem, even if you aren’t doing business with them but rather just using the pen for a moment.

Will Banks & ATM's Accept Checks Written in Pencil?

As we covered above, no banks will not accept checks written in Pencil in most cases due to the fact that they can easily be erased and information on the check, such as the amount to be transferred or the recipient of check and thus many banks have a policy of refusing checks written with Pencil and invalidating them.

The same applies with ATM’s or mobile apps that accept check deposits — some may accept them, however generally the AI that reads them will refuse the check as the written lines are not clear/dark enough in the AI’s opinion — not to mention it can be confused on if the image is focused as pencil often is reflective to cameras and thus may appear, to the ai, as the check not being in focus.

Regardless it’s generally against the banks policies and thus if they review it and see and erased marks or simply notice it’s pencil they may cancel it.

What Should You Use to Write a Check?

The best thing to use to write and endorse checks are simple blue or black ink pens; they’re what banks prefer and virtually never will bleed through or confuse the ai check validation mechanisms in ATM’s or mobile-deposit apps.

Really any color of pen works for most banks and mobile deposit options, however sticking to black/blue ink is definitely the preferred choice and what we’d recommend.