What Do the Numbers on a Personal Check Mean?

Blank check ready to be written.
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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. Lean what the numbers on a personal check mean to have a better understanding of the information you might be compromising if your checks are lost or stolen.

Identification

The top, left-hand corner of every personal check contains your phone number and address.
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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.

Features

Every personal check has a specific check number.
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Every personal check has a specific check number, which is displayed in 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). 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.

Function

Additional numbers are hand-written or typed.
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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). 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.

Routing

Checks contain your routing number.
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Across the bottom of the check, a series of numbers appear at the left-hand side, extending almost to the other end of the document. The first series of numbers at the bottom of the check represented the bank routing number, a 9-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 are always 9 digits long, beginning with 0, 1, 2 or 3.

Account Information

Your account information is also printed across the bottom of personal checks.
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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.

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