How to write a check

Today, with the popularity of debit cards, online banking, and mobile deposits, writing a check has become a lost art.

If you’ve never written a check or it’s been a long time since you had to, it’s important to fill it out correctly. Here’s our quick guide to the art of check writing.

Step 1: Date the check

In the top righthand corner, write the current date on the line. Make sure to write it as month-day-year. You can write out the date completely or use just numbers. For instance, 1/31/2022 or January 31, 2022. This tells the bank and the recipient exactly when you wrote the check.

Avoid postdating or putting a future date on the check. The bank doesn’t have to honor the future date, and if you don’t have the money to cover the check, you may incur overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees.

Step 2: Write the name of the recipient

In the “Pay to the order of” line, write the name of the person or company you would like to pay. If you make the check out to a person, make sure to use their full legal name. If you make it out to company, verify the name of the business before filling it out.

Step 3: Fill in the amount

Write out using numerals how much you owe in the small box on the right of the recipient’s line. For example, you may write $150.80 if the amount you owe. Make sure to write the amount clearly.

Step 4: Write the payment amount in words

Below the “Pay to the order of” line, write out the payment amount in words to match the numerical amount you entered in the small box.

Take our example of $150.80. You’ll write “one hundred fifty and 80/100.” To write a check using cents, make sure to put the cents over 100 as a fraction (i.e. 80 cents = 80/100). If the amount is even, enter 00/100 or XX/100 in the place you would usually put the cents. You verify the total payment when you write the amount in words.

Step 5: Write a memo

Using the memo line on the bottom left corner is optional; however, it can be helpful in reminding you why you wrote it.

Say you’re paying a check for your monthly rent, you can write “Rent” or “January 2022 rent” in the area. Some companies may ask you to write your billing account number or invoice number on the check.

Step 6: Sign the check

Sign your name on the line at the bottom righthand corner. The check isn’t legal until you sign it. This confirms to the bank you agree to the amount you’re paying to the recipient. Make sure it’s legible and is the same signature you have on file with the bank. The check will be rejected if you don’t sign it.

Check writing tips to remember

Consider these tips when writing a check:

  • Making a mistake: Write the word VOID in large letters across the check. Start fresh on a new check.
  • Filling extra space on the payment amount line: Draw a straight line through the empty space that follows the written-out amount. This keeps fraudsters from adding numbers to the check.
  • Recording the check: Document the check in your check register. Record the check number, date, recipient, and amount paid. The check number is located on the top right corner next to the date.

The information is this article was obtained from various sources not associated with Adirondack Bank. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. Adirondack Bank is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the information provided or the content of any third-party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. Adirondack Bank makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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