Although digital money tools are becoming more popular every day, every adult needs to learn how to write a check. Checks are inexpensive and simple tools of moving money from one person to another. However, lots of people don’t know how to write proper checks and can get into trouble because of this. Whether you need to write a check to your landlord or to pay for your groceries, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explain in detail how to write a check.
Step-By-Step Guide to Fill Out a Check and Sign It
Writing checks is an essential skill that you need to learn. If this is your first time writing a check or you haven’t written one in a long time, you must make sure that you’re following all the necessary steps. An innocent mistake can result in a big legal problem if you’re not careful.
The following steps should be followed while you’re writing a check. However, you can start in any order you like, as long as you end up filling in all the vital information.
Step 1: Write the Date on The Check
There’s a blank space on the upper right corner of the check. This is where you should write the date.
In most cases, you need to write today’s date, as this will help you keep track of the transactions. Use the month-day-year format, so an example would be Jan 14, 2020 or 01/14/2020.
In some cases, you can postdate a check or write it with a future date. This will work if you don’t have enough funds right now and will have them ready in the future. You can also postdate the check if you’re paying for services and goods in advance, as they haven’t been delivered yet.
However, this is a risky transaction because the person who has the check can deposit it before the future date. This can get you into trouble if you don’t have enough funds in your bank account. Once the check is signed, it becomes legal to cash, regardless of the date written on top. There are different rules regarding postdating a check that apply in various states, and the bank is not liable for cashing a postdated check.
Step 2: Write the Name of the Recipient
There’s a sentence that reads “Pay to the Order of.” This will refer to who can cash the check.
If you’re writing this check to an individual, make sure that you write the name in detail by including the first and last names. If you’re sending the check to a company, write the name correctly without any abbreviations, unless you’re explicitly allowed to.
If you’re not sure about the payee’s name, you can write the word “Cash.” However, this can be a little bit risky because anyone who has the check will be able to cash it. If your check is lost or stolen, you can’t get your money back because whoever has it will have the right to cash it.
Step 3: Write the Amount in Numerical Form
Write the amount to the right of the dollar sign. Make sure to include the amount in dollars and cents and use clear handwriting to avoid mistakes. The number you write here should be equivalent to the number written in the word form section.
Step 4: Write the Amount in Word Form
The amount you write here should be equal to the amount written in numerical form. This will help avoid fraud and confusion and will guarantee that you won’t face any legal issues when this check is cashed.
There are several tips to write the word form of the check’s amount.
- If possible, use capital letters because they’re harder to alter.
- Make sure to state the amount in dollars and cents. If you’re writing a check for $20, you can write “Twenty Dollars Even.” Or you can write “Twenty Dollars” then extend a line from the right of the word till the end of the line.
- If your amount includes cents, write them in the form of a fraction. If your amount is $20.15, write “Twenty Dollars and 15/100 cents.” The check will be invalid if you forgot to write the amount in words or if you made a mistake while writing it.
Step 5: Sign the Check
Your check will be invalid if it’s not personally signed. Write your signature at the bottom right corner.
Step 6: Check Out the Memo Option
The “For” section is optional but can be used to help you or the person receiving the check keep track of the transactions. You can write that this check is for the rent, goods you have received, or a donation.
In some cases, you might be asked to write your ID number in the memo section. If you’re paying for rent, the landlord will ask you to write down the number of your apartment.
Tips for Using Checks
If you don’t usually write checks, follow the following tips to make sure that your transactions are always safe.
- Use a check register to keep track of your transactions. You can use a paper or electronic one to avoid spending the same amount twice.
- After the check has been cashed, the amount might still appear in your account, so you need to record your transactions to avoid mistakes.
- Using a check register will help you track your spending, so you don’t bounce checks. You can also detect fraud in your account.
- Use a pen when you’re writing a check. Altering the information will be more difficult.
- Don’t write blank checks. Keep the check until you’ve written the payee’s name and the exact amount to be received. If you don’t do that, you will be giving someone unlimited access to your bank account.
- Don’t leave any spaces when you write the amount in numerical and word formats. Use lines to extend from the numbers or words to the end of the line, so no one can add any extra digits or letters.
- Use a consistent signature. This will help you and your bank identify any illegal transactions.
Although they’re becoming less popular in the world of digital money and banking, writing checks can still be the only option available to transfer money from one person to another. Follow the right steps and keep track of all your transactions to detect any fraud.