Fundamentals of Writing a Check: Why It’s an Important Life Skill

Fundamentals of Writing a Check

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Last Updated on December 3, 2021 by Work In My Pajamas

From paying bills to giving them away as gifts, writing checks is a key life skill everyone needs to know. The rapid popularization of online banking and payment wallets makes the humble paper check seem irrelevant. However, there are a few payment scenarios where writing a check is still more convenient. Here’s an example. If you are a business traveler and you need to pay people on the go carrying a checkbook makes life a lot easier. Instead of registering recipient details for online transactions, it’s way simpler to just write check as and when there is a need.

Moreover, learning how to write checks is much like learning how to ride a bike. You may not need the skill later, but it’s a life skill everyone expects you to know. Apart from that, the knowledge helps you understand the basics of banking transactions. Furthermore, if you are planning to start a new business, buying cheap checks and paying vendors and utility bills will be part of your regular operations. Without much ado, here’s everything you need to know if you are writing your first check.

Types of Information You Need To Provide

When writing a check, you would notice that there are about six different types of information that you need to fill out. Different checks may have different layouts, however, all checks ask for the same six types of information. This means if you know what information you need to fill in, you would be well on your way to writing checks like a financial guru.

1. Date

The space for writing the date is almost always located in the top-right corner of the paper check. Writing the date is trickier than it sounds because different banks and regions have different formats. Some banks want you to write the year first followed by the month and then the date while others want you to do the exact opposite. To put an end to the confusion, a lot of banks display prints such as YYYY/MM/DD under the date section.

2. Payee Name

This is the large blank line near the top-left section. This blank section is usually labelled as “Pay To The Order Of” or simply as “Pay To”. This is where the name of the recipient or the person receiving the money needs to be written. This can also be a business, in which case the registered name of the business needs to be written down.

3. The Amount of Money That Needs to Be Transferred (In Numbers)

If you are holding a paper check right now, notice a tiny rectangular box on the right side. This is where you need to write the amount of money that needs to be sent to the recipient, in numbers. The number needs to indicate the amount in dollars followed by a single dot and then the cent value. This means if you are writing a check for $100 the box needs to read “$100.00”. When writing the number make sure it fills up the entire space without crossing the lines. This way there is no room for anyone to add an extra number and withdraw more than they are due.

4. The Amount of Money That Needs to Be Transferred (In Words)

This is the space located just below the recipient name. This is where you need to write the number in words. Therefore if you are writing a check for $100 you need to write “One Hundred Dollars”. Start writing from the left edge of the line so that no one can fraudulently add a word in front. Also, draw a line after the last letter till the end of the space.

5. Memo

Memo is a space for a little note or a message. This note gets stored in the banking database and can tell you why you paid that person or business, if you need to look it up later. You can choose to leave the memo space blank.

6. Signature

This is the space where you sign the check so that the bank can authenticate it by matching it with the signature sample they have. The signature needs to match the one that is registered with the banking account linked to the checkbook.

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