How To Write A Check The Right Way

By
Fri, 3 Nov 2017

Some might argue that checks are going the way of the dodo. From the widespread adoption of debit cards to the prevalence of instant money transfer apps like Paypal and Venmo, a lot of what made checks unique has been superseded. Plus, users have been concerned about their being used in identity theft schemes. But there are ways to insure yourself and recover from identity theft these days. Plus, knowing how to write a check is useful for paying rent, sending gifts to family, and more.

Steps For Writing A Check

  1. Write the date
  2. Name the person or company you are paying
  3. Write the amount you will be paying
  4. Put the monetary amount in words
  5. Sign the check
  6. Optional: Write notes in the memo section

When To Choose Checks Over Plastic

The move to a plastic-based economy is still ongoing. That means paper is still preferable in some ways. Here are some examples of situations where you might want to have checks handy.

Checks Debit/Credit
No minimum purchase Minimum purchase often enforced
No associated fees Business owners are often charged a fee
No electricity required Goes down with the grid
Preferred by government offices, landlords, and more Preferred by most retail establishments

Information On Checks

Aside from what you have to fill out, checks are full of other information. Here is a quick guide to what they can offer.

  • In the top right corner, you will be able to see the check number. This can help you keep track of who you sent money to and when.
  • In the bottom left is your routing number. This nine-digit number is surrounded by a special symbol which looks like a line followed by two vertically-oriented dots. It identifies your financial institution.
  • Following that is your account number. It is punctuated by a symbol that looks like two lines followed by a single dot. It identifies your account at that financial institution.
  • The space in the upper left corner of the check may also include your name and address. This can be useful for distinguishing old checks.

Where Should I Order Checks From?

There are two main avenues when ordering checks online. The first is through your bank. Most institutions will have a simple option to have them sent to you. The other is through a dedicated check selling service or other retailer. Both options have benefits and detriments.

Feature Bank Service
Integrated directly into your account
Cheap
Wide customization options
Universally accepted
No chance of incorrect information

Depositing Checks With Your Smartphone

Checks aren't just being overwhelmed by new technologies. They are advancing alongside them. One of the best new features is the ability to deposit a check with just a mobile phone, an app, and a camera. Everyone from the big names like Wells Fargo and Bank of America to smaller organizations like the United Federal Credit Union and One United allow for this. The steps aren't identical across the board, so you should check with your institution to ensure they allow it and follow their directions closely.

  1. Endorse the check by signing the back
  2. Open up your mobile banking app on your smartphone
  3. Navigate to the mobile check deposit option
  4. Take a picture of the front and back of your check
  5. Choose which account you wish to deposit it into
  6. Accept the transaction

Conclusion

Balancing a checkbook might not be as important of a skill as it once was. With the rise of online banking, finding out if you're about to overdraft is as easy as tapping a phone. But no matter how technologically advanced we get, certain things stay true. Knowing how to pay bills in a timely fashion without surcharges is one of those. Learning how to write checks early makes it so that even if it doesn't come up often, you won't have to deal with all the hassle down the line.

In Depth

Checks are basically legal documents that can be used like cash. Although not every establishment accepts checks as a form of payment for goods and services, they're still useful instruments for those who don't want to carry large amounts of money everywhere. If you're not familiar with writing checks, let us guide you through the six simple steps of issuing one so you can finally use them for your future transactions.

Although not every establishment accepts checks as a form of payment for goods and services, they're still useful instruments for those who don't want to carry large amounts of money everywhere.

Step #1: Write the date on the blank located in the upper right corner of the check. Most have a label for this blank. Remember that you are issuing a legal document. Make sure to put the date that you will sign it, and not before or after.

Most have a label for this blank.

Step #2: Put the name of the person or company who will receive the check on the "pay to the order of" blank. Double check the spelling of the recipient's complete name and avoid using acronyms for company names. Checks can also be made out to "cash." This is for if you are willing to allow anyone to cash it from the bank.

Step #3: After writing the recipient of your check, you can now insert the amount that you wish to pay. Remember to use the dollar sign and include the exact amount up to the last cent.

Remember to use the dollar sign and include the exact amount up to the last cent.

Step #4: Put the monetary amount of the check in words. You can put "zero over one hundred" after writing the price in word form. For example, you can write "one hundred dollars and zero over one hundred" on the blank provided.

You can put "zero over one hundred" after writing the price in word form.

Because checks are used to withdraw cash from the bank, some people might take advantage of you and use them improperly. They might add words that will increase the amount issued to them. If this happens, the amount of the check expressed in numbers will be disregarded. Instead, the amount expressed in words is going to be considered by banks as the correct value of the check.

Instead, the amount expressed in words is going to be considered by banks as the correct value of the check.

To avoid this from happening. Write the word "even," after putting the exact amount of the check in words. For example, "one hundred dollars even." Another way is to write a line after the words "one hundred dollars" up to the end of the blank provided.

Step #5: Sign the check. This blank is located at the bottom right corner. Your signature is going to make the check valid. This means that it is an important ingredient when writing one. Without your signature, an issued check will be considered invalid. If someone fakes it, you can charge that person with forgery.

If someone fakes it, you can charge that person with forgery.

Step #6: Fill out the "memo" section. This part can be optional but filling it out will help the recipient sort out the check that he or she receives. For example, you can write whether the check is issued to pay for your rent or for purchasing other goods and services.

For example, you can write whether the check is issued to pay for your rent or for purchasing other goods and services.

You might be nervous when you write a check for the first time. But as you issue more, you will get used to the process. You may even learn to enjoy the convenience of using this financial instrument.

But as you issue more, you will get used to the process.