How to Write a Check

Key elements of writing a check.
Image Credit: Demand Media

Properly writing a check reduces the chances of making an error and makes it difficult for someone to fraudulently alter the information. Always use an ink pen, as pencil marks can be erased and check amounts changed.


Write the Date

In the upper right-hand corner of the check, below the check number, write the date. The standard format is month followed by the day and year. For example, July 4, 2015. Most often, this will be the date on which the check is written. You can post-date a check by writing a future date. Checks can only be deposited or cashed on or after the date written in this field.


Video of the Day

Write the Recipient's Name

Write the recipients name on the blank line next to Pay to the order of. This can be the name of a person or an organization. Verify with the recipient that the appropriate name is being used for the account to which the check will be deposited.


Write the Numerical Check Amount

In the box next to the recipient field, write the check amount numerically, including dollars and cents. For example, the check might be for $52.23. If needed, draw a line after the amount to fill in any remaining space.


Spell Out the Check Amount

On the line below the recipient field, write the check amount with dollars spelled out and cents written as a fraction. For example, $52.23 is written as Fifty-two and 23/100. Then draw a line through the remaining space in the field.


Write the Reason for Payment

Called the Memo or For field, the space in the bottom left can indicate the reason for payment. This field is optional.

Sign the Check

Sign your name exactly as it's printed in the upper left-hand corner of the check.


Tips & Warnings

  • Again, always use pen to write checks.
  • Make sure all fields are legible.
  • Record the check in your check ledger immediately.
  • Check your bank statement -- online or the mailed statement -- to ensure that the check was deposited.