Fun Fact: You Can Deposit Oversized Prize Checks

June 06, 2014

​High school is full of extracurricular competitions. You compete for prestige, trophies, scholarships… and sometimes, hilariously oversized checks! If you’ve ever received one, you probably wondered whether you could cash it. Turns out you can… at least in theory.

Hypothetically, if a check has all the necessary information (e.g. payer’s name and account number, name of bank, state, date, payee’s name, dollar amount, signature), the check can be deposited regardless of the size or form. 

“It has to contain certain features, and it can be written on anything,” says Brian Black, managing director of operations and technology for the Bank Administration Institute. “As long as it has the elements, the surface doesn’t make a difference. A check is an order to pay someone, that’s all it is. (bankrate)

But pretty much all competitions give you a real normal-sized check in addition to the poster board monstrosity you receive at the award ceremony. If the oversized check contained the same exact information as the normal-sized check, you should be able to deposit both! The only thing standing in your way is your bank. Most have rules regarding the form of documents used for deposits (you absentmindedly agreed to these rules when you opened your account). Oh, and the payer probably won’t be too happy when they realize you tried to double your winnings!

But we can still dream! Here’s co-founder Stephanie showing off an oversized check made out to admitsee… okay, actually it was made out to my brother’s tea startup. Maybe we can slip it through the ATM…?



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MIT ‘20


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