Correct Way to Write Checks

Write your checks the correct way to avoid mishaps.

Writing checks is a necessary evil when you need to pay your bills. You need to clearly write who the money is for and how much money you are paying. If you make a mistake on the check, it could become void, causing late payments, which could affect your credit score. Fortunately, it's easy to learn the correct way to write checks.

Step 1

Write the date in the top right corner. Do this on the line marked "Date." There is no standard way to write the date. For example, you could write it, "February 10, 2010," or you could write it "2/10/10."

Step 2

Print the name of the recipient on the middle line. Immediately preceding this line, you'll find the words "Pay to the order of." Carefully write the name of the person or company that is receiving the check. If you write the wrong name, the person may be unable to use the check.

Step 3

Enter the numerical amount of the check in the small box. You'll find this box just to the right of the recipient's name. Near the box, you'll see the word "Amount." For example, you might write "$188.19."

Step 4

Write the amount of money in words under the recipient's name. Banks will compare the amount you've written here with the amount of the box. This is particularly useful if the teller can't read your numerals. If the amount includes cents, you can write them as a fraction of 100. For example, you might write "one hundred eighty eight and 19/100." You do not need to write "dollars."

Step 5

Sign the check in the bottom right corner. There is a line there for your signature. Without your signature, the person cannot cash the check.

Tip

When writing a check to get money for yourself, you can write the check out to "Cash" or you can use your own name.

Use a blue or black pen for best legibility.

On the bottom left corner, there is a line for you to write a memo. You can use this to remind yourself what the check was for or you can write your account number with the check's recipient.

Warning

When you write a check to "Cash," anyone can cash it, so take care not to lose it.

Things You'll Need

  • Checkbook

  • Pen

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