Mature woman balancing checkbook © AVAVA/

According to a 2015 article in the Washington Post, more people are Googling instructions for how to write a check than ever before. There was a time not too long ago when running out of checks was cause for panic and ordering your first set of personal checks was a milestone. In today’s electronic world, the art of check writing seems like it has dwindled to near extinction. If you lose access to the Internet while you’re completing a purchase, making your rent payment or mailing a payment to an official office such as the Internal Revenue Service, you might need to write out personal checks.

First, familiarize yourself with the anatomy of the check. The numbers on the bottom of the check represent your routing number, which identifies your personal bank, and to the right of that, your account number, followed by the check number. The rest of the blank spaces are the areas you need to complete with all of the relevant information.

1. Write the date

In the top right corner, there’s a line that’s labeled, “Date.” Fill out the month, day and year, using all numbers or by writing the date out completely. For example, 8/1/16 vs. August 1, 2016.

2. Write the recipient’s name

The recipient’s name goes on the line in the center of the check that’s labeled “Pay to the order of.” Use the full name of the person or the official name of the business to be sure the payment goes through.

3. Write in the amount of the check

Add the numbers that represent the amount of the check in the small box to the right of the line where you added the recipient’s name. On the line directly below the one where you placed the recipient’s name, you spell out the amount of the check.

For example, if you want to write a check for $110.50, place the numerals in the box. On the line under the recipient’s name, you would write, “One hundred and ten and 50/100.”

4. Write a memo

This optional line in the lower lefthand corner of your personal check is a useful spot to add your account number if you’re paying a bill or a little note to remind yourself of the purpose of the check. For example, if you’re writing a check to pay your sister back for loaning you money, you could add, “Pay back Sharon’s loan.”

5. Sign on the line

Finally, you need to sign your full name on the line in the lower righthand corner of the check. Without your signature, the recipient cannot cash or deposit the check.

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