How To Write A Check

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Writing a check (or for Canadians, cheque) might seem pretty intuitive. But a lot of people (or maybe it’s mostly us millennials and Gen Z’s) haven’t had much reason to use them in our lives!

I found myself calling my mom to make sure I was doing it right this fall when my landlord requested post-dated checks. And, embarrassingly, I wasn’t. It’s a simple piece of financial knowledge, but you shouldn’t blame yourself for not knowing how to do it. And now, you don’t have to worry because we’ve got a super easy to guide to help you do it without having to call your mom like I did. Let’s take it from the top!

How to Write a Check Step-By-Step

Step 1: Today’s Date

In the top right hand corner of your personal check, write today’s date. This will help keep financial records organized for both yourself and the recipient.

Step 2: Payee’s Name

The payee is who you’re making the check out to, or, the recipient of the check. Write their name (whether an individual or organization) on the line labeled “Pay To The Order Of”.

Step 3: Numeric Amount

Use the small box on the right side of the check to write the amount you are paying in numeric form. This is as easy as writing the numbers for the dollar value directly on the cheque!

Step 4: Amount In Words

Using capital letters, write the amount you are paying in words on the line below the payee’s name on the check. Writing the amount in words is meant to provide clarification of the amount and will be the official amount of your payment should what you wrote in number form not match the written amount.

Step 5: Sign The Check

Sign your name on the line in the bottom right corner of the check. Make sure it is legible and matches the name and signature on file at your bank.

Step 6: What Is The Check For?

On the line labeled “MEMO” you can write why you wrote the check/ what it’s for. While this is an optional step, it is worth filling in to keep things organized. For example, if you’re writing a check for your landlord for your monthly rent, you could write “August 2020 rent”.

Here’s what your completed check should look like:

More check-writing basics

We’ve covered the essentials of how to write a check. So, here are a couple other things you might want to keep in mind!

What are post-dated checks?

Post-dated checks are checks written in advance. Where you’d usually write today’s date, you opt to write the date when you want the recipient to cash the check. This might be because you lack sufficient funds until that date, or you are simply paying for something ahead of time.

What are void checks?

A void check has the word “VOID” written across the front of the check. A void check indicates that the check should not be used for payment but rather for the information the check provides (like account numbers) to use for things like electronic payments.

Cashing a check

If you’re the recipient of a check, you must endorse the check by signing the back of it where it says “endorsement”. You can either deposit the check in person at your bank or credit union, or if your bank offers electronic deposit, you can do it via your online banking app by scanning the check.

Writing a check is easy!

And it’s a super useful piece of financial knowledge to have. You never know when an occasion will pop up that you need to write a check. So now that you know how to write them, order some for yourself and you’ll be ready for it!

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