Filling in a check in the right way is the key if you don’t want a fight. To help you with this, here are six easy steps on how to write a check.
writing a personal check
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. Read the information policy .
There are several reasons why you may need to write a check. For example, some companies give you a discount for writing a check instead of reading a card. This is because they save money by not having to pay administration costs.
So if you are going to fill out a check, make sure you do it the right way is the key if you don’t want a fight. To help you with this, here are six simple steps on how to write a check properly.
6 Steps for Writing a Check
First notice that there are numbered fields on the check. In this tutorial we will talk about each numbered field and its purpose, so that you can use the correct check format.
1. Check-in date in the top right corner
Any format of the date is acceptable. For example, April 1, 2017, 4/1/17 , or another format. However, consistency is the key as it helps you to more quickly recognize a check that has been stolen from your account. For example, if you always check the date of your checks in this format: April 1, 2017 , a forged check can be easily identified if the date is written in a different format.
2. Add the person you pay in the “Pay on the order of” field
This is where you write to whom the check is made payable. In the case of this tutorial that would be Target . It is important to write neatly when completing your check and to name the first and last name or the entire company of the beneficiary (the person or company to whom the check is written).
3. Enter the amount you wish to pay in figures
Again, it’s important to be neat and precise here. Make a clear distinction between dollars and cents with a decimal point or by emphasizing the cents number in order to avoid confusion about the designated amount. This confirms the amount in writing, so there is no confusion about how much has to be paid. So in this example it would be $ 20.21 .
4. Hand write the dollar amount using words
Cleanliness counts so well here because the banks will occasionally check the written amount they may not read the numbers in the amount box. Write the dollar amount of the check clearly, as shown in the box below. For this check it would for example be Twenty dollars and 21/100 .
5. Enter in the Memo field at the bottom left
People who do not often use the memo line when writing a check, but it can be important when it comes to a potential payment dispute. When paying a bill, we recommend writing the number of the bill in the memo line. Or, if the check is before paying the rent, write “April 2017 rent” in the memo line.
Using the memo line when writing a check for securing your bank account and protecting you from potential payment of disputes. It can also be used to help keep track of your expenses so that you can know how much money you spend in each budget area. In this example would be Clothes .
6. Sign the check in the lower right corner
This is perhaps the most vital part of the check writing process. Companies will not accept checks without a valid signature. Since each person’s signature is unique, signing your check has the ability to protect you against possible check-writing from counterfeiters.
When writing a check, make sure you keep your signature tidy and write it like you would normally do on another formal document. See your signature box here in the example below.
There are three parts of the information that you should be aware of when it comes to the layout of a check.
This is specific to your banking institution and can be found on the bottom left of the check. It is also used when you receive your employer information direct deposit and set up automatic payments.
This speaks for itself, but just know that you will find this number immediately to the right of your routing number.
Your checkbook is set on a numerical order, so if you write a lot of checks over the year, it makes it easier to go back and confirm payments and “check” disputes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Write a Check With a Pencil?
Only writing checks with a pen, preferably a blue or black ink. Although you can write checks in pencil, someone with an eraser can erase all of the information, change the amount and name of the recipient.
Why Would Someone Check the Post-Date of a Check?
People will usually check post-date when they know that there is not enough money at the moment to cover the check. They are waiting for a deposit to arrive so that the check will not bounce.
They can also post-check date because that is when the bill is due. You must be careful because when writing a check because it is legal tender. Just because there is a future date on the check does not mean that a bank does not cash on an earlier date.
Why Are There Two Fields for the Amount on a Check?
Two fields make it absolutely clear what the amount of the check is supposed to be. Writing the amount twice also helps in eliminating fraud as well as the incorrect amount being debited from the account.
Now that you know the basics of writing a check, you are prepared if there are no other payment options such as cash or automatic payment.
Can I Write a Check for Myself Money?
Yes, you can write a check to pay yourself out. In the “Pay to order” field, you can write a check to yourself by writing your own name or by writing the word “Money.” You will also see your signature on the back of check if you are going to deposit the check in of your checking account.
For your own financial security, do not write a check for yourself until you are already in the bank. If you accidentally lose control, a stranger could potentially cash your check for the written amount. You can also ask the narrator how they prefer you to address the “Pay to the Order” field to avoid confusion.
You could try this option if you have multiple bank accounts, don’t want to pay an ATM fee, or you withdraw more than the maximum daily ATM amount to be withdrawn.
Why Is It So Important To Write A Check Correctly?
If you write a check incorrectly, the depositing bank cannot accept the check. Many companies charge returned check fees – between $ 20 and $ 40 – plus any additional costs because they do not receive the correct payment on the due date. A simple mistake can easily cost you $ 40 in costs if you don’t catch it in time.
What Are The Most Common Check Writing Mistakes?
All of us made a mistake when writing a check and had to start over. Some of the most common errors are:
Writing an incorrect date or year (this usually happens in January)
Forget to report the check
The dollar amount fields do not match
Depending on the error, it is usually easier to write for a new check. If you do not have an extra blank check with you, you can strike in a single line because of the error and write your initials next to it. Then write the correct information in the correct field.
Depositing the bank can still refuse the check if it is difficult to distinguish between the correct information of the errors.
How Do I Write a Destroyed Check?
Sometimes you need an invalid check or you write a mistake or make a direct deposit with your employer, charity, or an automatic monthly bill payments
Just like writing a check-in pen, a pen to write “EMPTY” on the front of the check. Each person has it slightly different, as you may prefer to agree the word in large letters or write the word in each of the five fields.
If you are writing a destroyed check schedule of automatic monthly payments or deposits, you usually do not have to fill one of the five fields. However, you could decide to write a short note in the memo to your personal record.
Is a Personal Check of a Certified Check?
No. A personal check is one that you write by hand with a pen. Certified check – which sometimes does official checks or cashier checks – have been printed by your bank to check whether the check has sufficient resources.
You may need to use a certified check for the following financial transactions:
Taking out a mortgage loan
Buy a car without a loan
Applying for a Passport
If you have an online bank account, you can request an official check online or over the phone. For those who bank, locally, visit your hometown branch, and they will immediately issue the printed check. With both options you must have enough money in your account to issue the certified check. Immediately the bank retrieves the full amount from your bank account. So make sure you have enough money to cover the check amount plus the regular costs.
Writing a check might feel like a “lost art,” but it is still a very important skill to know. We do not pay for everything with plastic or with a digital wallet yet, and many companies prefer a check for money for large purchases because it is more secure. Now that you know how to write a check correctly, you don’t have to worry about having to rewrite your checking or getting a surcharge from those annoying returned check fees.