In today’s world of online banking, direct debits and payment apps, who still needs to write a check, right? Well, you might.
If you lose electronic access to your checking account while you’re completing a purchase, making your rent payment or settling up with the IRS, you might need to write a check. So you’d better know the correct way to do it.
Familiarize yourself with the anatomy of a check. The numbers on the bottom include represent your routing number, which identifies your 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.
Check writing steps
1. Fill in 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, 11/25/18 or November 25, 2018.
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 the amount of the check
Fill in the numbers representing the dollar amount of the check in the small box to the right of the line for the recipient’s name. On the line directly below the recipient’s name, write the value 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 ten and 50/100.”
4. Write a memo
This optional line in the lower left-hand 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 your sister made a loan to you and you’re writing a check to pay her back, you could add, “Sharon’s loan payoff.”
5. Sign on the line
Finally, you need to sign your full name on the line in the lower right-hand corner of the check. Without your signature, the recipient cannot cash or deposit the check.
- Get started: Best checking accounts
- Learn more: Checking vs. Savings account
- Tools: Savings calculators