Luckily, writing a check is easy to do, and we will look at the steps to writing it out correctly to make sure it all goes through with no mistakes.
Anatomy Of A Check + How To Fill Out A Check
Checks are often viewed as a banking asset of the past – however, many businesses and personal bankers still use paper checks as a way of transacting money.
While checks seem overwhelming, let me help you deconstruct these daunting paper slips and help you enhance your personal or business financial health by learning how to write a check.
If you are wondering how to write out a check for 1000, it’s the same process for all amounts. Learning how to manage your money includes filling out checks.
Checks universally have a simplistic and sleek layout, but if you’ve never filled one out before they can be scary, right? Well, let’s through the anatomy of a check:
1. Account Holder & Address
At the top left-hand corner of the check is where the account holder’s name and address will go.
The date goes in the top right-hand corner of the check – you will usually put the date of the day that you are writing it, but you can put it for a slightly later date if you don’t want it to be cashed before then.
It should say “Pay to the order of” – this is where you fill in the name of the person that you want to pay, or the account holder’s or business’ name.
You may want to double-check this, as it will need to be correct in order for the payee to cash it.
4. Numeric Amount
When you are writing in the numeric amount of the money that you want to give to someone, make sure that you write it in the small box on the right, and write as far over to the left as possible.
5. Written Amount
This is arguably the most important part of the check as it will be taken to be the amount that you want to pay, even if the numeric amount is different from it.
So, how to write numbers in words on a check?
You will need to write on the line that says “Pay to the order of”. Next to this is where you write the amount that you will be paying, in written format.
For example, if you are writing $50, you will put “Fifty dollars only.” Use capital letters as it will make it harder for anyone to change.
If you are wondering how to write a check with cents, the best way to do this is to put the number of cents /100. So a check for $32.99 would read “Thirty-two dollars and 99/100.”
Adding a memo is optional, but is a good thing to do if you want to keep a note for yourself for why you are writing the check.
In the bottom right-hand corner, make sure that you sign the check or it won’t be valid.
How To Properly Use A Check
Now that you know what exactly those mysterious lines and empty boxes are used for, it’s now time to figure out exactly how to use them – but don’t fret, I have your back.
Let me take you through a step by step process of the most efficient way to quickly fill out your checks, without the over-complication.
1. Fill In All Information
As mentioned before, it is essential for any valid check to have each aspect filled with the details above. Make sure that you’re filling in the right region with the right information and then you’re good to go.
2. Sign The Check
Now make sure to sign the check to make sure everything is valid. Make sure that you use the same signature that is on your banking information so that they can check.
3. Record In Your Checkbook Register
Now it’s time to record your check in your checkbook register, which is where you input the date and the number of the check (if this is the second check you’ve ever written, it will be labeled as ‘2’ and so forth) and record whether it was a debit or credit payment and the value.
This means that you have an easy to track record and now this part of the process is complete. Well done! You filled out your first check – now it’s time to learn how to process them.
How To Balance Your Checkbook
1. Fill It Out As Your Transactions Happen
Whenever you write out a check, it’s important to record the details in your checkbook as soon as possible to save yourself from any future scrambling about for details on the check you wrote last week.
2. Record The New Account Balances
Record the new balance of your accounts following writing checks, this will save you any overestimations of the funds within your accounts and will ensure that everything is kept on top of.
3. Verify Against Your Online Banking View Or Mailed Monthly Bank Statement
Make sure to verify against your online banking view or mailed monthly statements to ensure that all of your transactions are easily documented.
4. Resolve Any Discrepancies As Soon As You Notice Them
If you notice any discrepancies, solve them. A minor issue now could later accumulate into a larger problem. One invalid check can be rewritten and solved instantaneously, whereas multiple – now that’s where it gets more complicated.
5, Repeat On A Regular Schedule
Repeat reviews of your checkbook and use checks regularly. By doing both of these, you can build a sturdy portfolio of transactions and demonstrate your financial competence.
Check Writing Tips/FAQ
Can I use a pencil to write a check?
Never! Due to pencils being easily erasable, you could be opening yourself up to the possibility of fraudsters and financial crime – a pen is the way to go.
Can I leave parts of the check blank?
When it comes to writing checks, the only region you can leave blank and still have a valid check is the memo region; don’t chance leaving out the date or signature or you’ll risk an unauthorized deposit.
Can I use a check as cash?
In a majority of shops no, yet there are always outliers, but mostly if you want to use a check you have to cash it out via your bank first; unless you are using it to pay bills.
Does my signature matter? Does anyone check that?
Many banks immediately process checks under a specified value, which means that up to a larger amount, banks tend not to check signatures, but larger values require verification through signatures.
Do I need a driver’s license number or phone number on my check to be valid?
Most banks require ID when cashing out a check, however, some businesses require the use of some form of ID when you use a check with them, however, this is not widespread across the country.
With online banking, credit cards, and auto payments from my bank account, when would I even need to or want to write a check anyway?
Despite all the new technology, checks still serve a purpose for those with landlords or those visiting small businesses who don’t accept card payments. Also, many businesses use checks since this allows them to easily create invoices.
It’s a good way to keep a closer eye on your transactions and bills in and out. If you cut your costs, you may reduce the need for checks in the first place.
How can I save money when using checks?
If you shop at places that facilitate checks, then they can allow you to save money as the time taken to fill them out repeatedly makes it unlikely that you will overspend and you may be able to apply this to smart money-saving tactics.
What does it mean to void a check? How do I void a check?
This is where you are unable to receive or withdraw with your checking account, as you can write over your checks in bold letters spelling ‘V-O-I-D’.
This is often done when someone no longer wants to use checks and wants to avoid the potential risk of an unused and bare checkbook lying around.
You can read our entire guide on how to void a check here.
Is a “check card” from my bank the same thing as using a check?
In many ways – yes. Check cards use money from your checking account similar to that of a check, yet it is a more convenient tool to carry about and reduces the time inefficiency of regular filling out of checks.
Final Thoughts On How To Write A Check
Now that you know how to write a check, I would recommend that you use this beneficial financial tool throughout your life for specific payments to help establish your transaction history and portfolio.
And truly – they aren’t as complicated as they seem once you learn to try them.
The most frustrating thing about writing out a check is that the money won’t come out of your account instantly like we are used to when we do online transfers or use cash.
You will need to remember that you need to leave the amount in your account until the check is cleared.
Checks are still used by lots of people and companies, so it’s worth knowing how to use them.
The last thing that you want to happen is for the check to have an error and be unable to be processed, which will mean that you’ll have to do it all over again.
Learning how to write a check out properly will save you a lot of time when you come to do it.