How To Write A Check
It may seem silly, but when I first received a checkbook from my bank, I had to seek assistance to learn how to write a check properly. It may seem intiutive when you write them very frequently, but it's important to learn how to write a check. If filled out incorrectly, a check can easily be altered or voided. This could result in the payment bouncing, which will cost you and the recipient money in cancellation fees.
This article is intended to give a step-by-step tutorial on how to write a check, properly and in the order you should write it in. Hopefully this will remove any confusion as to how to write these things, and help you get on with spending more of your hard earned money!
Let's get started with how to write a check!
How To Write A Check: Common Errors
If you're learning how to write a check, you should probably be aware of the common errors in writing checks and the ways you can easily invalidate a payment. If you know what not to do, it will make things easier!
First off, bank tellers are trained to look out for suspicious markings. An altered payment is a big no-no, so if you've scribbled a little too roughly, or if there are any scratchings, markings, ink blobs, crossed out letters or corrections, your payment might not go through.
Why are they watching out for this stuff? Say you wanted to write a check for $100. The recipient could easily try to change that first zero to an eight, making the total $180! A well-trained teller will spot this kind of thing instantly. It may be annoying when they cancel a perfectly harmless money transfer, but it's for your own safety.
How To Write A Check: Recipient, Words, Numbers, Signature
There are four elements to learning how to write a check. First, you need to specify who the payment is to be made out to, otherwise known as the payee. This is input into the section titled 'pay to the order of', or some variation of that. Put the person's name as it would appear on their identification, and try to be specific.
Secondly, you'll need to write out the dollar amount using words instead of numbers. So if I wanted to pay $150, I would say 'one hundred and fifty'. This goes directly underneath where you wrote the payee's name. The space should be a blank, followed by the word 'dollars'. (Note, if you're learning how to write a check with cents, put the cents in numbers out of 100 at the end of this line. For example, $50.50 would be written 'fifty and 50/100 dollars'.)
Third, make sure to then put that same amount in using numbers. For one hundred and fifty dollars, put $150. This should be put in the little boxes to the right of the place intended for the payee's name. Be sure to include the decimal point!
Lastly, put your signature on the check to validate it. It should be in the bottom right corner of the check, on a line sometimes entitled 'MP'.
How To Write A Check: Check Writing Examples
If the above wasn't clear, here is a visual example of how to write a check. Most checks are written the same way regardless of the financial institution, so you shouldn't see too many variations on the design.
Some notes on how to write a check: be very careful who you write a check to, and don't be too free in giving these things away. Remember: in writing one you are essentially giving a person a piece of paper with your signature, financial institution and bank account number on it. For anyone wary of identity theft, you should be quite careful here.
Also, you should learn how to properly void a check, so you can accurately cancel a check if you need to.