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Learn How To Write A Check

Writing a check is a basic skill everyone should know how to do. You never know when you might need to write a check, and you do not want to look bad if someone is standing over you when you have to write it. Rest assured, this article will guide you through all the steps involved in writing a check.

If you are looking for customized personal checks to order online, we recommend Carousel Checks. They have an offer where you order 3 boxes and you get the 4th box free.

Below is a sample check that you can look for as a reference when reading this article and learning how to write a check.


1. Write out the Date

First, it is important to use a pen in blue or black ink when you are writing a check. Be sure to avoid pencil as it can easily be erased with the amount changed.

To start, on the top right corner of the check there is a spot to write the date. Now for writing the abbreviation for the date, in the USA, the abbreviation goes Month/Day/Year. So for example February 27th 2015 would be written 02/27/2015. You could also write this date by putting dashes instead of slashes: 02-27-15.

It is important to note that in different countries, that date format differs. In many parts of the world the date and month are switched around to the format of Day/Month/Year. Using the wrong format on the date of the check can make a big difference and cause problems, so be sure to have the correct format.

Post Dated Checks: Keep in mind you can post date your cheque so the receiver of the check cannot cash, or deposit it until the date that you have written on the check. For example, if the current date is Oct 1st, but you will not have funds until October 8th, you can enter October 8th on the date of the check. This can be done for various reasons such as:

  • you don’t have enough funds in your account at the present date, however you will on your next payday
  • you are out of town for a while and post date checks for rent for your landlord

2. Write Out The Dollar Amount

Right below the date area on the check, you will see another rectangle box for the dollar amount right across from the “Pay to the Order of” line.

Right next to the dollar symbol, simply right out the amount with the dollars and cents separated by a decimal. Even if there is zero cents you should still right out the .00 at the end of the amount. For example, a check for $525  should look like this: $525.00

If we are dealing with thousands of dollars, separate the thousands with a comma. For example a check for $50,500, should look like this: 50,500.00.

3. Write out the amount to be paid out in words

Under the “Pay to the order of” line, you will see a line. This is the line that you actually write out the amount to be paid in words. Many times the cents portion is written out of a fraction out of 100. For example:

  • $550 should read “Five hundred and fifty dollars”
  • $5550 should read: Five thousand, five hundred and fifty dollars
  • $50,525.38 should read: Fifty thousand, five hundred twenty-five and 38/100 cents.

Furthermore, it is important to hyphenate compound numbers. You should always put a hyphen in between the two words, such as twenty-five.

  • Some people choose to write a horizontal line at the end of the cent amount to prevent anyone else from writing on the check.
  • Keep in mind that the entire amount you write has to fit onto the line completely. So if it is a large amount to write, ensure to write smaller, so it will all fit.

4. Fill in who the check is to be written to

This is on the “Pay to the order of” line. You simply write or print neatly, the name of the individual or business you are writing this check to. Make sure to always use the legal names of the individuals or the business, as if you don’t, it could cause problems when they deposit the check.

Optional : Include information on the ‘memo’ line

The memo line is on the bottom left hand corner of the check, below the line where you textually wrote out the amount of the check. Many of the checks will say ‘memo’ beside the line while some will not. You do not have to write anything on this line however, this is where you would write what the purpose of the check is for. For example, if it was written to a plumber, you could put ‘plumbing’ on the memo line.

Furthermore, the memo line can also be used to provide useful information to the purpose you are writing the check to. For example, if you are writing a check to a landlord, you could write, your last name and your room number.

5. Sign the Check

The signature line will be right across from the memo line, on the bottom right hand corner of the check. When you sign the check, ensure that your signature looks very similar to all your other signatures.

It is very important to never sign a blank check. If you lose the check somebody else could pick it up and write any amount they want and could result in you losing a lot of money.

6. Check Numbers

On your check there will be a number on the top right hand corner that is there to track when the  check is cleared. When you check your bank statement, it will say the check has cleared along with the check number. This is particularly useful to note when you have written multiple checks and need to keep track of when each check has cleared. Also, some check books come with a yellow carbon copy under each check for you to keep for you records.

If you are looking for customized personal checks to order online, we recommend Carousel Checks. They have an offer where you order 3 boxes and you get the 4th box free.

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There you have it, you now know how to properly write a check, feel free to bookmark this page for future reference.

About The Author

Ben Todd

Ben was a seriously broke graduate student with bad credit who after finding himself rejected for any sort of credit card or loan for most of his adult life, finally decided to get his financial life in order. ' He spent several years reading as many financial advice books and blogs as he could. And suprisingly, Ben found he actually LIKED the topic of personal finance; after fixing his own finances, starting his own successful work at home website business, and using his earnings to get out of debt, created to help others do likewise!

1 Comment

  1. rahul khorwal

    There are some people who don’t take their signatures seriously, either they are signing their checks with unoriginal signs or certain images over it. Therefore, it is encouraged to use consistent signatures throughout your submission of the checks, it is a healthy practice in the financial industry which helps your bank identify that the checks are coming from you and catch fraud in the very beginning stages. Otherwise, anyone can show up in bank pretending to be holding a check with lousy signatures over it and cash it without any hassle. Therefore, make your signatures more consistent over the checks you write.


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