What Do the Numbers on a Personal Check Mean?

Every personal check you write is filled with important information, valuable data you don't want just anybody to know. You may not realize just how much you reveal about yourself every time you give out a personal check. So, what do the numbers on a check represent exactly? These include the date, check amount, account number and routing number and are important for the check's usefulness.

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Consider also​: When Does a Personal Check Become Stale Dated?

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Identifying Information on Checks

The top, left-hand corner of every personal check contains some very private numbers: your phone number and address. If your checks are lost or stolen, someone will know exactly where and how to reach you using these numbers alone. The address and phone number of your bank is also revealed on the left side of your personal checks, just under the long, blank line which runs horizontally across the middle of the check.

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The first series of numbers on the bottom of the check is the bank routing number, a ​nine-digit​ code, which denotes the specific banking institution where you keep your checking account.

Check Number and Date

Every personal check has a specific check number. The check number location will always be the right-hand corner of the document. Most personal checks will be given three-digit numbers (four-digit numbers are usually reserved for business checking accounts).

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The blank line underneath the check number features more numbers once the information is filled out: the date. The check number is used to identify the check. Every personal check in a single checkbook will have its own unique number for this purpose.

Consider also​: What Is the Importance of the Date on a Personal Check?

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Written and Numerical Check Amount

Additional numbers are hand-written (or typed) into the blank spaces in the middle of personal checks. The numerical dollar amount of the check is written in the small box on the right side of the document. The value of the check is written with a dollar sign, to two decimal places (example: $50.00).

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Under this section, the entire amount is written out again in words. Without the value of the check written in, the check is worthless – or, dangerous. If you sign a blank check without writing in a total, someone could write in any amount at all and possibly drain your entire account. Also, the words are given the greater importance.

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Routing and Account Number on Check

You'll see a bottom row of numbers on a check. The first series of numbers is the bank routing number, a ​nine-digit​ code which denotes the specific banking institution where you keep your checking account. The same routing number is written across the top middle of the check in small type, a fraction code which displays the routing number in a different way. Bank routing numbers begin with ​0, 1, 2 or 3​.

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A second number group is printed across the bottom of personal checks, appearing after the 9-digit routing number. The second number group is the account number for your checking account, a code that tells the bank where to find the money to make good on the check. Often, the check number displayed at the top of the check is repeated again at the bottom following the account number.

Consider also​: What Is the MICR Line on a Check?

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