Although they’re currently overshadowed by all the means of online and electronic money transaction methods, checks are still commonly used for a wide variety of purposes.
As a result, knowing how to write a check is a critical skill that all adults should know for any occasion.
Read on, if you’re looking for a step by step guide that shows you how to write a legitimate check and avoid fraud.
Step 1: Fill the Date Section with the Current Date
The date section is usually a blank space in the upper right corner of the check. The blank space where you fill out the date is found below, above, or next to the word “Date”.
You should also know that once a check is signed, it becomes a legal tender. So legally, writing a check with a future date has no meaning. However, the rules regarding signing a check with a future date vary from one state (or country) to the other.
According to the rules followed in your state, the bank might or might not be able to cash a post-dated check.
Step 2: Write the Name of the Recipient (Payee)
Write the name of the recipients of the check next to the word that says “Pay to”.
Here, you can write the name of a person or even a company. However, you should write the correct name of the company.
So, make sure that you know what the company is called exactly by inquiring about this information beforehand. Unless you’re given permission for it, don’t use acronyms or short for the company name.
As for persons, make sure that both their first and last names are included. You must state whether they’re a “Sr.” or a “Jr.” if they’re after the name.
Step 3: Write the Amount of Payment in Numeric Form
Write the exact amount of Payment to the right of the dollar sign “$”. The value should be written in dollars and cents above the given line or within the box.
A critical tip here is to write as far to the left as possible and leave no space between the first digit and the $ sign to prevent fraud. If you’re paying 150 dollars, you should write it “150.00”.
You can also write in a way to make sure that you use up all the available space to the right. For example, you can draw a line after the last digit you write.
If you’re paying 22 dollars and 85 cents, you should write “22.85”. Be sure that this part is clearly written, so the teller or the ATM machine is able to read it clearly.
Step 4: Write the Monetary Amount of the Check in Word Form
Write the amount you’re paying in words in the box that says “Pay to the Order of”. The word value should match the numerical value you’ve written in the previous step. If they’re different, this one will be the legal amount of payment.
For example, after you write “22.85”, you’ll write here “twenty-two dollars and 85/100”. In the case of the “150.00” check, you’ll either write “one hundred and fifty even” or “one hundred and fifty and 00/100”.
Not only will it add clarity to the value of the check, but it’ll also prevent scammers and frauds from manipulating the check’s value by writing on it.
Make sure that you write all these values “including the payee” with a permanent pen. If you write it with a pencil, anyone can change the amount of money you’re paying or even change the recipient’s name altogether.
Step 5: Sign the Check Personally
The most critical part of writing a check is signing it. It’s usually in the bottom right corner next to or under “Signature”.
The check must be signed personally to be valid. Make sure you have a consistent signature that you’re able to replicate consistently.
To make it easier for the bank to process the check, make sure it matches the signature you have on their legal documents.
Additionally, never sign a check before writing the monetary value of the check and filling out the recipient.
Singing a blank check is one of the riskiest things you can do, as you’ll virtually give anyone who puts their hands on that check complete access to your checking account.
If you don’t know who you should pay your money for, the best thing to do is to bring a pen and write a check on the spot. As you can see, it won’t take more than a minute.
Step 6: Fill Out the Memo Line or “For” Section
This step is optional and won’t affect how banks process the check. However, it’s extremely beneficial to you for various reasons. Memo’s section is usually at the bottom right corner of a check.
It serves as a note to self or a reminder on what you’ve written the check for. For instance, if it’s for charity, you can write “for charity”.
You can also write helpful information to the payee to facilitate their processing of the check. This includes writing your social security number if you’re paying for anything that needs it, such as the IRS.
Step 7: Make a Record of the Payment
If you pay by check, you should record the check number, which is usually found in the top right corner of the check note.
Recording the check helps you to make sure that none of your checks are missing. Moreover, it helps you to keep track of your check.
Have a look at the date of your records. The “descriptions” and “transactions” columns will let you know when the payment was made.
There you have it, a simple guide that shows you how to write a check. As you can see, checks are easy to write, and they aren’t as risky as you think.
However, it’s not always the ideal way to move money in terms of speed. So, if you’re looking for the fastest way to transfer money, consider electronic payment methods. This includes credit cards and online payments.