In the banking and finance world, writing checks is no longer a popular pastime. In fact, many people under 30 – or even 40 – may not even have checks.
We live in a world where we can pay almost anything with a debit or credit card – and in some cases just swipe a phone over a payment terminal to access your cash before you rush out the door. Do you sit down with your checkbook every month to write checks to pay bills? With automatic invoice settlement a thing of the past.
Having some on hand, however, is not a bad idea, especially if a new employer asks for a canceled check that can be used for direct deposit information.
We’re not expecting a check resurgence, chances are there will come a time when you need to write a check.
Maybe it will just be a monthly rent check. Maybe it’s a down payment for something exciting, like a car or a house. Perhaps you are feeling benevolent and want to write some chic looking birthday presents. Perhaps you shop in a small shop in a small town and find that you don’t have enough cash to cover your purchase.
Nevertheless, we advise you to learn the simple and important skill of writing a check. A lot of people don’t learn how to do it until college, so don’t feel bad reading this while protecting your computer screen from passers-by.
Other things to consider Things
Do you need physical checks? Read our How to order checks Instructions to get a new checkbook without undue fees.
Here are the parts of a check
What are all these lines, boxes and numbers? Stop guessing. We’ll tell you.
- Your details: This includes your full name, address, and sometimes your phone number. If this isn’t printed on the check, many salespeople ask for it at check out so having it printed there will save you time.
- Check number: This is to help you keep track of the checks you have written so that you can compare them to your monthly statement. the provider does not use it.
- Date line: This records when you wrote the check.
- Receiver line: For the person or company to whom you are writing the check.
- Payment amount field: Include the numerical amount of the check for clarity.
- Payment amount line: To spell the amount of the check.
- Your bank details: Including the name and address of the financial institution.
- Note line: To explain what the check is for, for you and the recipient.
- Signature line: You will need to sign to confirm that you authorize the check.
- Bank routing number of your bank: This helps the computers know which institution owns your money.
- Your current account number: This helps the computers know which account to withdraw funds from.
How to Fill Out a Check: Our Step-by-Step Guide
Writing a check is easy once you know these steps.
Step 1. Write the date in the upper right corner
If you want the recipient to wait until you have funds in your checking account before depositing the check, you can postdate the check.
You can postdate a check if you prepay for a service. For example, if your rent is due on the first of the month but you mail your check on the 15th of the previous month because you are going on vacation, you would postpone the check to the first of the next month.
Step 2. “Payment As Ordered By” means the person or business you are paying for
Enter the name of the person, company, or payee in the field labeled “Payment to the order from”.
If you are unsure of the correct title, organization, or company name, ask before writing the check to make sure you can submit it. Never leave this line blank when writing a check – you risk someone taking the liberty of finishing the check!
Step 3. Write down the dollar amount you paid by check
Write the cash amount in words on the next line just below the payee’s name (including dollars and cents). You could write “twelve dollars and eighteen cents” or “twelve dollars and 18/100” – either way is fine as long as it is clear how much you are paying.
If your words don’t take up all of the space, draw a straight line to the end of the field so that no one else can edit your entry.
You do this with a pen, don’t you? Pencil is too easy to change. We used to be advised to write checks in italics, but now pen writing is enough to indicate legitimacy.
Step 4. Write the same amount in the box to the right of the check
Now write the numeric dollar amount of the check in the box next to the dollar sign. Writing the amount down in two ways gives a reassurance to the person redeeming it to make sure it is correct.
Make sure to fill in the entire box so the quantity cannot be changed. It is more important that you align your dollar amount on the far left side of the field so that no one can change your $ 12.18 to, for example, $ 112.18.
Step 5. Write a memo if you want
The lower left line of the check labeled “Memo” is for your reference and that of the recipient. It’s a way of keeping a record of exactly what the money is going to be used for.
For example, you could write down that you bought “Mom’s Birthday Present”. This is especially useful if you write a lot of checks in a day and have a checkbook that makes carbon copies.
If you pay bills with checks, the recipient is more likely to ask for identifying information, such as a billing account number.
Step 6. Sign the lower right corner of the check
Here you have to sign your name. Your recipient will not be able to deposit the money unless you have signed the completed check!
PS Make sure to keep track of the times you make payments by check in the general ledger of your checkbook, a paper register that comes with the checkbook.
This way you can keep track of your available balance and use your. to compare checking account to avoid accidental overdraft fees from banks or financial institutions.
Security tips for writing a check
Checks are legal tender that anyone can use to make a purchase or receive cash. Treat them like a legal document and carefully fill out each line to ensure they cannot be used if they fall into the wrong hands.
Include your information on the check
When ordering checks, have your name, address, and telephone number printed on the check. Sellers and banks tend to ask for identification. when you take checks, protecting you from identity theft in case someone gets your empty checkbook.
Check all the information again
This is the easiest and best way to ensure your check is cashed by the intended recipient for the correct amount by correctly filling in all of the information.
After you’ve written the check, check that everything is correct:
- Include the correct payee name for the person receiving the money.
- Include the exact amount of the check and make sure the amount written matches the numeric amount.
- Draw a line to fill in any blank spaces along the payment amount line and fill in the payment amount field.
Keep a good record
Immediately record the check amount, date and payee in your check register so you can track it and make sure the correct amount is cashed.
Don’t write a post-dated check
In many cases, you have the option to pre-date your check to encourage the recipient to wait until the money is in your account before cashing it. However, this is not foolproof.
Some states technically do not allow businesses to accept postdated checks, and in almost all cases banks are not required to consider the future date for cashing them. You may think you’re writing a check that won’t clear until after payday, but the bank could legally withdraw money from your account before you plan – you could risk overdraft fees or a declined payment.
How to write a check from an online bank account
Knowing how to write a check is still an important skill … even though we all write fewer checks than ever before. Debit cards and online banking have made this tedious payment process almost superfluous.
If you need to make a payment by check – for something like a rental or an unusual bill – and all you have is an online bank account that doesn’t write checkbooks, you usually still have the option to write checks.
Ask your bank about one of these options:
1. Order checks from a third party
Tons of online companies and even Costco and Walmart print checks with your personal information and routing codes and bank account numbers.
Check the FAQs for your online bank checking account to make sure your account information is working for these services. Some don’t, and they should say so explicitly.
2. Schedule a check to be sent out
Even if you can’t order checks for yourself with your bank account, you can schedule checks with almost any existing checking account in the same way as you schedule digital payments.
Sign in to your account through the bank’s app or website and look for a section about Paying Invoices or Send Checks. This allows you to specify the payee and the amount, and to schedule an appointment for the check to be sent. The bank prints out the check with the completed data and sends it to the payee for you.
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This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com