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How to Write a Check? A Step-By-Step Guide

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Although we are living in a streamlined and digital world, writing checks is still used. It’s not as common as it used to be, but writing a bank draft remains a cheap and effective tool for moving funds. Have you ever written a cheque? If not, this step-by-step guide will show you how to perform it easily and without hassle. 

You will learn how to write a paper check by completing several steps and moving from the top to the bottom of a document so that no important steps are skipped.

Before You Start Writing a Check

Once you are about to write a paper cheque, it’s important to ensure you do not need money fast and right now. This is not the quickest way to move funds and it’s time-consuming. Review several options as well as their pros and cons to help you make the right decision and save money. There are some alternative options you may select from such as:

  • Obtain a debit card and utilize it when you want to pay for something or cover your expenses. This is an electronic way of using your funds from the controlling account. According to Statista, about 46 percent of Americans utilize debit cards for the withdrawal of cash from an ATM and for non-cash payments. Keep in mind that the paychecks should be re-ordered, while you have also the possibility to make transactions with the desired amount online.
  • Pay your bills online. You may also ask your bank to send a cashier`s check to you each month. It can be done automatically and you won’t have to pay for postage, write the paycheck, or receive the cheque in the mail.
  • If you have regular payments like insurance premiums or utility bills, you may set up automatic payments to make your life easier and avoid charges. Ensure to make enough funds in your bank account so that your bills are covered on time


It’s important to make certain you have enough money in your bank account regardless of what payment method you select. If there aren’t sufficient funds, the payments can “bounce” and make problems, such as legal issues or financial penalties.

checks in month

How to Fill Out a Check: a Step-By-Step Guide?

If you understand that you need to write a bank draft, here are the steps you should make to avoid mistakes.

Step 1: Current Date

The present date should be written near the top right-hand corner. Make sure you mention the current date to help the recipient keep accurate records. Sometimes, people may postdate the check, but it doesn’t necessarily work the right way.

Step 2: Payee

You will see the line saying “Pay to the order of”, you should write the name of the company or person you are paying here. This information must be accurate and precise so ask who you need to check out before you complete this line.

Step 3: Sum in Numeric Form

The small box on the right-hand side should include the sum of your payment. Make sure you begin writing as far over to the left as possible. There are some examples on the Internet of how to write the correct sum. For instance, if your payment is for $9.25, the “9” must be right up against the left-hand border of the dollar box. It will help to prevent fraud.

Step 4: Sum in Words

The sum should also be written in words to avoid confusion and fraud. It should be the official sum of the payment. If this sum differs from the numeric form that the person has mentioned in the previous step, the sum he or she wrote with words will legally be the sum of the paper check. It’s more difficult to change capital letters so it’s better to use them.

Step 5: Signature

The line in the bottom-right corner of the check should be used to sign it. The same signature and name should be used on file at the local bank. This step is important as your paper check won’t be valid without your signature.

Step 6: Memo Line

You may also include a note if you want to. This isn’t an obligatory step and it won’t change the way the lending institution will process the check. This “for” line can be used to put a reminder about the reason for writing it. You can use this place to insert data that your payee will utilize to process the payment. The account number can be written here for utility payments or the Social Security Number can be written here when paying the IRS.

After You Write the Paper Check

Once the paper check is written, you should make a record of the payment. A perfect place to conduct this is a check register. It may be a paper or electronic register. This option will help to prevent you from spending the same cash twice. After the check is cashed or deposited, the funds will no longer appear in your account.

This process can take some time. Make a written note of the payment you’ve just performed while you remember about it. If you make a record of each check you write in a check register, you will be able to:      

  • Detect identity theft or fraud in your bank account;
  • Track your spending to prevent spending the same amount twice;
  • Understand where your income goes.

How to Write Check Correctly?

The check should be used the way you wanted, you should use it to pay the sum to the organization or the person you intended. Sometimes, identity theft or fraud may happen. The checks can get stolen or lost. If you follow these steps you will make it harder for thieves and scammers to trick you and alter the paper check.      

  • No blank checks. First, fill in the sum and the name of the payee before you sign the check. Find out the correct information about the person or company you should write the check to.
  • Use a pen. Make the data on your check permanent to protect it from fraud or any further changes.   
  • Consistent signature: Never sign credit card skips or paper checks with humorous images.

Use a consistent and legible signature. If your signature doesn’t match the one on the paper check, you will be able to prove that you aren’t accountable for charges.

The Bottom Line

We are living in a digital world but we still come across situations when it’s necessary to write a paper check. Follow the rules and steps to fill in all the needed information and sign the check correctly to prevent fraud as signing a blank check may leave your checking account exposed in case it’s stolen or lost.

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