Not everyone uses checks on a frequent basis, so sometimes it helps to have a refresher on how to fill them out, just to make sure you get it right.
- What is a Check?
- How to Write a Check Out
- How to Write a Check Amount
- How to Balance a Checkbook
- Common Questions About Checks
What is a Check?
Checks are a form of paper payment. They are a document that allows a bank to take money from the account of whoever wrote the check, to pay whoever is depositing the check.
Checks are a very useful financial resource. They come with their own unique properties and safety measures that make them a useful money tool to use more often.
How to Write a Check Out
Listed below are all the different fields found on a check. You need to understand the purpose of each section in order to know how to fill each field out properly.
Field #1: Date
In the upper right hand corner you’ll find the date line. Usually you’ll just write the current date, but one of the great things about checks is that you can post-date it. This means you write a future date on the check to ensure it can only be deposited after the date you mark down.
So if you need to pay someone, but need them to wait until payday to deposit the check, you can still hand them the check now and just write a date after payday.
Field #2: Pay to the Order of
This line is where you write the name of who will be receiving the check. This might be the name of a person, or the name of a company or organization. For example, if you’re using a check to pay for groceries, then the name you’ll put here is the name of the grocery store.
Field #3: Dollar Box
In this box, you write the monetary amount of the check in numerals. So instead of writing “one hundred dollars” you write “100.00.”
Field #4: Dollars Line
Then there’s a line with the word “Dollars” at the end of it. Here is where you write the monetary amount of the check in words. So instead of writing “100.00” you write “one hundred and 0/100.”
Field #5: Memo Line
The memo is where you write a note about the check’s purpose. You can fill out this section for your own files, so that the check stub has what the check was used for written down. The memo section can also let the person receiving the check know what the check is meant to be used for.
You don’t have to fill out this section but it can be helpful to not forget why you wrote out the check in the first place.
Field #6: Signature Line
Here is where you sign the check.
Field #7: Numbers
The numbers at the bottom of the check are divided into 3 sections and show 3 different numbers. The first set of numbers is the routing number, the second set of numbers is the account number, and the final, shorter section of numbers is the check ID number for that individual check.
*Keep the check stub and use it for your files. The check stub is the thinner paper copy behind the check that gets written on as you write out the check. This gives you a hard copy of the check you wrote for your own checkbook.
How to Write a Check Amount
So how do you write numbers in words on a check? If you have any questions about how to write your specific amount you can take a look at the chart below. A printable number chart is also available by clicking here.
Let’s quickly go over some frequently asked numbers to words questions:
How to spell 90: ninety
How to write a check for 1,000 dollars: In the Dollar box write, “1,000.00” and in the Dollars line write, “one thousand and 0/100.”
How to write a check for 1,500 dollars: In the Dollar box write, “1,500.00” and in the Dollars line write, “one thousand, five hundred and 0/100.”
How to write a check for 100 dollars: In the Dollar box write, “100.00” and in the Dollars line write, “one hundred and 0/100.”
How to write a check with cents
A lot of people have questions about how to write out cents for a check, but have no worries! This is the easiest part of the check because you can still write the cent amount out in numerals on the Dollars line:
After you write out the dollar amount in words, write “and” and then write the number of cents in numerals over 100. For example, if you want to write a check out for $100.50, you would write on the Dollar line, “one hundred and 50/100.”
How to Balance a Checkbook
In the back of your checkbook there is a check registry—extra pages with a chart to record key information from each transaction. Whenever you write a check, keep the check stub. This will make it easier to fill out the check registry later.
Field #1: Write the date on the check in this column.
Field #2: In the description column write the same thing you would write on the “Pay to the Order of” and the memo line. This column helps you know who you paid and why.
Field #3: In the “Payment/Debit” column write down the amount you paid.
In the Deposit/Credit column record deposits to your own bank account. Keeping track of both payments from your account, and deposits made to your account, will help you keep track of how much is in your bank account at all times.
In the Balance column keep track of your total account balance, adding deposits to your account, and subtracting transactions you’ve paid.
Field #7: Write out the check ID number. It’s the last couple of numbers at the bottom of the check.
Common Questions About Checks
If you don’t use checks very often you probably have more than a few questions about checks and how they work.
What are the fees for cashing checks?
If you cash your check at Check City, then our fees are based on the type of check that is cashed. Our rates start as low as 1.99% for in-state payroll and government checks. That means for payroll and government checks it only cost about $2 per $100.
What information do you need to cash a check?
We have you fill out a quick application and you need a photo ID.
Do I have to wait for the check to clear to get all my cash?
No, once we have verified the check we give you all your money right then.
Is there a limit to the check amount?
No, as long as we can verify it, we can cash it.
When do you use a check?
You can use a check anytime check payments are permitted. If it is a personal transaction, you can always ask the recipient if they are ok with receiving their payment in the form of a check.
Where can I get checks?
You can get checks from almost any bank or credit union where you have an account.
How to write a check to yourself
Sometimes when you need to transfer your own money, you’ll need to write yourself a check to yourself. Writing a check to yourself is super simple. You just write your own name on the “Pay to the Order of” line.
Hopefully checks don’t feel as unfamiliar to you now as they did before reading this article. As you can see, checks are very simple to use, and easy to fill out correctly. You just have to know the purpose of each section on a check and you’re good to go!
Learn more about the benefits of checks, “6 Advantages of Using Checks.”
written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter