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How do I Write a Check?

By G. Wiesen
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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To write a check, you need to fill in the various fields on the check with the appropriate information. You will need to write to whom the check is addressed and the proper date, or the date after which the check can be cashed, and you will need to fill in the amount the check is worth. This includes writing it in a numerical form in the box provided, as well as spelling out the amount in words to be sure the amount is accurate. As you write a check you can also usually include a memo or indication of what the check is intended for, and finally you have to sign the check.

Different people often begin to write a check at different places on the check, but you may find it is easiest to begin at the top and work your way down. This means beginning with the date; you will usually write the current date when you are writing the check. You may sometimes write a future date at which point the check is cashable, though this is often frowned upon when you write a check to pay for a transaction at a business.

Most checks then have a field that says “Pay to the order of” and you will fill this out as you write a check. This should be the name of the person or group to whom the check is addressed. You should be sure to write an accurate and full name in this field, usually first and last name for a person and the legal operating name of a business or organization.

As you write a check, you will then want to fill in the amount for which the check is being issued. You write this twice, both as a numerical value in a box or field that will usually have a symbol for money such as “$” with it. The amount is also written in words in another field or on a line followed by a word indicating money such as “Dollars” and you should include any amount of change as a numerical fraction over 100. These should be the same number, so if you write a check for seven US Dollars, it should have “$7.00” in the numerical field and read “Seven and 00/100 Dollars” in the other field.

Most checks will then have two final fields at the bottom — one is optional and the other is not. There is typically a memo or note field at the bottom, which allows you to include a note about why the check is being written. This can be helpful later to remind yourself of why you wrote the check, or if there are disputes later regarding any check you have written. The other field at the bottom is typically meant for you to sign, and unless the check is signed it is not valid and cannot be cashed by the person to whom it is issued.

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Discussion Comments
By Talentryto — On Feb 10, 2014
Though at first glimpse you may think this article addresses something that is easy and that everyone knows how to do, that is simply not the case today. Keep in mind that many younger people with bank accounts use debit cards, and may not even have checking accounts. Though checks are not used as much as they used to be, the proper way to write a check is still a skill that everyone should learn.
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