The paper check is a dying payment method. But even if it is dying, it still comes in handy sometimes. We might use them to pay the doctor or the landlord, for instance. Just one of those reasons is enough to know how to write a check. After all, you don’t want to miss a rent payment because of an improperly filled out check!
When you need to write a check, there are just a few simple steps to follow.
Filling in the Blanks
Writing a check is a simple matter of filling in the blanks:
Date – The top right corner has a line for you to fil in today’s date. Include the month, day and year. Some people will postdate a check for cashing at a future time. This is called postdating and there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you can be certain the funds to cover the check will be in the bank by the date you put on the check.
Pay to the Order Of – Write the name of the person or company you’re giving the check to in the line next to this phrase. Use the full legal name and be careful to spell it correctly. Avoid writing too large or else risk running out of space.
Dollar Amount – Most checks have a box on the right for the check amount in dollars and cents. The dollar sign is usually already printed next to the box. If the check you’re writing is for $100.00, you only need to print “100.00” in that box.
Write Out the Amount – To be sure the amount in the box is correct, checks include a second line ending with the word ‘dollars’ under the ‘Pay to the Order Of’ line. Here you will write out the check amount in words. Using our example above, you would write ‘One Hundred and 00/100’ on that line, or simply, ‘One Hundred’. If you do not use all the space provided, put a line through the unused space. This way, no one can change the amount by adding a word, changing it from ‘One Hundred’ to ‘One Hundred Thousand,’ for example.
Memo – The memo line is optional. It’s really just for record keeping purposes. Most people don’t take the line too seriously. You can use it for an account number if you’re tired of writing out words.
Signature – The lower right of the check includes a line for your signature. Be sure it’s the same way you sign your name on your bank account, credit card slips and legal documents. Be consistent.
Following these simple steps will ensure you write checks correctly while minimizing the chances of someone using your check fraudulently. Writing checks is simple but it’s very important. You were wise for taking just a few minutes to learn how its properly done. There will be no more guessing about this payment type from now on. If you’ve understood this post, you’ve mastered the skill of writing checks. If you have yet to get a bank account, read this post about how to apply for a bank account.
Suggested reading: Simple Ways to Avoid Bounced Checks