format_list_bulleted Topic Overview

Deposit Cash and Checks

While all individuals involved in financial transactions play an important role in stewarding university funds, department depositors play a critical role in ensuring the university’s funds are deposited both timely and appropriately. This page covers the types of deposits, deposit methods, and best practices when depositing cash and checks for the university.

In efforts to continuously improve the processes and systems that make up the Stanford financial ecosystem, Financial Management Services (FMS) is rolling out enhancements to how cash and checks are deposited. As of November 24, CASHNet is no longer used for recording this type of transaction activity. 

For assistance with historical transaction support for deposits prior to November 23, 2022, including CASHNet data, submit a support request to SFS. 

For more information on the cash and check deposit efficiencies, check out the news page Cash and Check Deposit Enhancements for updates and detailed guidance.

The receipts schools and departments receive fall into specific categories that determine how they are processed and deposited. Refer to Topic Overview: Types of University Receipts for more information.

For information for schools and departments accepting credit or debit cards for payment of goods and services online or in person, see the Topic Overview: Merchant Services Program.


Any cash payments over $10,000 (not including charitable donations, e.g., gifts) must be reported to the university's tax department using IRS Form 8300. This includes cash equivalents such as cashier's checks and traveler's checks, money orders or any other method of payment in which the payer is not specifically identified.

Financial reports should be reviewed on a monthly basis to ensure all receipts are credited to the correct account. Auditing best practices recommend the use of sequentially numbered receipts and scanned copies of the check and backup documentation into a check log mechanism such as a spreadsheet or document to track check receipts. The date, name of person receiving the check, amount and check identifying information such as name of remitter bank name, purpose (if given), and last 4 digits of the account number should be captured. Copies of all checks, transmittal forms, and backup documentation should be kept by the department and filed with the respective receipt for reconciliation of reports with the amount submitted.

Separation of Duties

Department depositors are critical in ensuring the university’s funds are deposited both timely and appropriately. The university has established a set of practices to help address the inherent risks, support department deposit needs, and ensure depositors have the resources to act prudently to protect Stanford from financial, operational, and compliance harm. Access to cash and checks should be restricted to individuals with appropriate fiscal responsibilities included in their job descriptions.

Separation of duties is a crucial internal control that helps safeguard Stanford assets. No singular person should be responsible for the entire cash receipt process. The responsibilities for receipt, custody, depositing, recording, and reconciliation of cash receipts should reside with different individuals whenever possible. Report any suspected fraud or misappropriation of funds to department management, Cash Management and the Internal Audit Department (650-725-0074) as appropriate. Review Topic Overview: Bank Fraud Prevention for further details.

Please note that Travel Card (TCard) reimbursements are processed through the Expense Requests System. See How To Return Personal Expenses Charged to Travel Card. Purchasing Cards (PCard) reimbursements are deposited by departments through one of the options below. See How to: Handle Personal Expenses Charged to the PCard.

Stanford provides multiple options for the receipt and deposit of incoming funds. Departments receiving cash or checks on a regular basis should submit a support request to Cash Management to determine the best method of processing.

  • Mobile Phone Deposit: Checks can be deposited using the Wells Fargo CEO Mobile deposit app which is compatible with iPhone and Android devices. See more information about the mobile option below.
  • Branch Deposit: In-person deposits at any Wells Fargo branch is always an option for depositing checks and is the only option for depositing cash. Check times of operation of your local Wells Fargo branches before your visit. See more information about the branch option below.
  • Electronic payments: Rather than receiving a check, departments can provide electronic payment instructions to individuals or organizations paying Stanford. This can replace cash and checks being sent in by mail. Either a wire or ACH electronic payment is acceptable. View Topic Overview: Incoming Wire and ACH Instructions.

OOT initiated an interim Lockbox mail-in solution for all department checks received during the pandemic. This will sunset on March 31, 2023. Any deposits received through the lockbox after this date will be returned to the sender. Please work with third-party remitters to send checks to departments directly or send as an electronic payment.

  • Note: This is not related to nor will impact the Tresidder drop box. As this is used for Payroll, do not deposit other types of checks here.

For assistance with cash and check deposits, submit a support request to the Office of the Treasurer.

Mobile Smart Phone Deposit Option

Wells Fargo offers a mobile app to deposit checks using the phone's camera, which is compatible with iPhone and Android devices. Departments may request access to Mobile Deposit by submitting a support request to the Treasury team and providing an authorized manager's written approval.

Once the setup is completed by OOT and Wells Fargo bank, users will take a picture of the front and back of each endorsed check and send them to the bank for processing. It is critical for users to write the Project, Task, Award, and Expenditure Type or Object Code on the front of the check to ensure accurate posting to the GL. Once the checks have been deposited, promptly send an email to @email with attachments of deposit confirmation and pictures of the front and back of the check (optional), and include the following deposit details in the email body:

  • Stanford depositor full name and email
  • Project, Task, Award, and Expenditure Type or Object Code
  • Deposit description
  • Amount
  • Deposit date
  • Deposit method (WFB App)

See the step-by-step instructions on the updated Mobile Deposit Application page.

More information about the Wells Fargo application can be found on the Wells Fargo website.

Branch Deposit Option

Pre-printed deposit slips for checks and cash are optional if endorsement includes the bank account number. Ensure check information is complete and meets deposit requirements. All checks must be  endorsed to Stanford and it is helpful to include the deposit account bank account number in the endorsement.  A stamp with this information may be ordered by submitting a support request to OOT.

Once the cash and/or checks have been deposited, promptly send an email to @email with a copy of your deposit receipt attached, and include the following deposit details in the email body: 

  • Depositor full name and email
  • Project, Task, Award and Expenditure Type or Object Code
  • Deposit description
  • Amount
  • Deposit date
  • Deposit branch information
    • Timestamp from bank receipt
    • Branch location street/city/state

The university encourages payment by electronic transfer such as wire or Automated Clearing House (ACH) for receipt of payments. Cash or checks are still acceptable forms of payment and the following instructions are designed to aid schools and departments receiving cash or checks for deposit.

All receipts must be deposited into a university PO Box or bank account either by using remote desktop deposit, mobile deposit, or depositing in person at a bank branch. Processing and depositing instructions vary depending on the type of receipt (designated income, sponsored projects, gifts, etc.). 

For guidelines and current best practices for properly depositing these types of revenue receipts, see Topic Overview: Types of University Receipts.

Best Practices

Safeguarding checks is easier than safeguarding cash, and electronic payments are the safest of all, so always encourage payment via electronic transfer.  For smartphone access to deposit checks, submit a support request for Mobile Deposit Access.

Unendorsed checks should not be sent through interdepartmental mail. When checks are received, they should be immediately endorsed on the back with "For Deposit Only to Stanford University., and ideally the account number to which they will be deposited.” The appropriate project, fund, and object code (for revenue transactions) or project, task, award, and expenditure type (for expenditure credit transactions) should be recorded on the front of the check. All checks should be made payable to Stanford University. If a check intended for Stanford University is made payable to an individual, it may be refused for deposit by the bank and have a complicated impact on tax reporting for Stanford and the individual. In the event that this happens, please request the check to be reissued to Stanford University instead. 

Cash should be deposited into a Wells Fargo branch, rather than sent through interdepartmental mail.

Depositors should verify that the project, task, and award (PTA) and expenditure type are appropriate for the account before making a deposit. To identify the correct PTA, consult with your department budget or finance officer.

Non-Sponsored Receipts

Non-sponsored project receipts made via cash may be hand-delivered to the appropriate office as indicated in their processing instructions. Contact the Department of Public Safety (650-723-9633) to set up an escort schedule if the amount is substantial or additional safety precautions are appropriate.

Checks for non-sponsored project receipts may be sent to the correct department through interdepartmental mail after the check has been endorsed. Sponsored receipts should be sent by USPS. Checks must be in a second sealed envelope inside the ID envelope. See How to Process Sponsored Project Receipts.

Foreign Banks

For checks drawn on foreign banks, take the endorsed check with the appropriate PTA printed on the front to Wells Fargo Bank. A teller will accept the check, explain the foreign exchange process, complete a Collection Item Receipt form, and provide a receipt for the check. It may take six to eight weeks for the check to be processed by the foreign bank and substantial fees will be deducted from the final deposit amount. For these reasons, foreign check acceptance is discouraged in favor of an electronic transfer of funds. For guidance, submit a support request to Cash Management.

Process Same Day

Cash and check receipts should be processed as soon as possible, preferably on the same day they are received. In any interim between receipt and deposit, cash and checks should be secured in a cash box or other locked container with copies of sequentially numbered receipts to validate the total cash and checks that should be available. Be aware of stale dates printed on checks. Even if no stale date is printed, checks automatically stale-date in 180 days.

Storing/Disposing of Checks

After the checks have been successfully scanned on the mobile deposit app, please keep them locked in a secure place as they contain bank account information, which is considered high-risk data. Checks should be securely kept until a bank reconciliation is completed, after which they may be destroyed by shredding or an equivalent method.

Returned Checks

Checks returned by Stanford's depositing bank (e.g., for insufficient funds) are sent to the Office of the Treasurer (OOT), which posts it to the returned check account. Subsequently, OOT charges the depositing unit via journal entry for the value of the returned check and sends an image of the check back to the unit. It is the responsibility of the depositing unit to collect any outstanding amounts. 


Department managers can facilitate development and implementation of their own departmental procedures for handling cash and checks.

For assistance with cash and check deposits, submit a support request to the Office of the Treasurer.

For assistance with historical transaction support for deposits prior to November 23, 2022, including CASHNet data, submit a support request to SFS.

Last Updated: Mar 20, 2023