How to Write a Check Properly

There is a proper protocol to follow when it comes to writing checks.

While paying by credit card or through an online service is increasingly popular, many businesses still require a paper check for payments. No matter which bank you hold an account with, the information you must include on the check is the same. Particularly when it comes to writing out the dollar amount that you are paying, it is important to know the proper check-writing protocol in order to ensure your check is not returned or rejected.

Step 1

Write the date on the top right next to "Date," using the month by name, the day by number, and the current year. For example, "March 15, 2009."

Step 2

Write the name of the recipient, whether it's an individual or a company, on the line next to "Pay to the order of." If you are unsure as to whether or not to use an individual's name or the name of their company, ask first.

Step 3

Write the numerical dollar amount, including cents, next to the "$" sign beneath the date on the right. For example, "455.78."

Step 4

Write the same dollar amount on the line beneath the recipient's name. Use words for the actual dollars, then indicate cents with the number of cents, a slash, and "100", to represent that many cents paid out of the dollar. Draw a line to cover the rest of the space if there is room left. For example: "Four hundred fifty five and 78/100 ––––". Do not write "dollars," as this is typically printed following the line on the check.

Step 5

Write a note indicating what the payment is for on the line next to "Memo." This step is optional and purely for your own records; you may leave it blank.

Step 6

Sign your name in script on the line on the bottom-right side of the check.