There are just some times when you don’t have many other options other than writing a check.
Sometimes you’re out of cash. Other times the store won’t accept credit cards.
That’s why it’s important to know how to fill out a check.
However, to keep things in perspective, I think I could count the number of checks I’ll have to fill out on one hand this year.
I definitely won’t use up the whole book of checks I have.
So How Do You Write a Check Anyway?
There are six fields you will need to fill out and I have numbered them in the image below. Follow the instructions that follow the image to learn how to write a check!
Check Field 1 – Date
Insert the date in this field. You can write it out pretty much however you want but you must include the month, date and year. Here are some examples of acceptable formats. October 21st, 2015, Oct 21, 2015, 10/21/2015, 10/21/15.
Field 2 – Pay To the Order Of
In this field you will write who the check is for. Make sure to use the appropriate name so that the person or business you are writing the check to can deposit or cash it. If you are writing a check to a person write their first and last name. If you are writing it out to a business write out whatever the business has asked you to fill in.
Field 3 – $ Box
Here you write out the amount of the check in numbers. For instance you’d write “1,542.63” without the quotes for a one thousand five hundred forty two dollar and sixty three cent check.
Since the dollar sign is already printed on the check you do not have to write another $. Make sure that you put a decimal place in the proper spot! If the check is over 3 digits you can use commas as well.
Field 4 – Blank Line with Dollars Written At the End
Here you write out the amount of the check in words. In our example above you would write one thousand five hundred forty two and 63/100. Write out the dollar amount in words and then use a fraction to represent cents. As a quick tip I write a line through the rest of the empty space so people can’t easily add more words to the end to make the check worth more. This field will be used to determine the value of the check if there is a discrepancy between the numbers amount and the words amount.
Field 5 – For or Memo
Here you can write whatever you want for your own information if the bill you are paying doesn’t require something different. Some businesses like you to write your account number or an invoice number in the memo field so they can keep track of what you are paying for.
Most banks return scanned images of your checks with your bank statements or at least offer you some way to view an image of a check so this might help you remember what it was for.
Field 6 – Blank Line
This is where you sign the check. The check isn’t valid until you sign it so make sure you don’t forget this crucial part. Never sign a check until all other fields are filled in.
If you do sign a check and someone finds it they can write out a check to themselves for the whole balance of your bank account! That’d be no good.
Now You Know How to Write a Check
Here is a final version of what your completed check should look like after you have filled it out. Make sure you use the facts applicable to your situation though. I don’t think I’d want to pay Wal-Mart for $1,542.63 of groceries!
Writing a check seems like a pain with the options you have for paying your bills today. Instead of writing checks I personally use things like online bill pay from the company that bills me or I pay directly from my bank’s website. I’ve also set up automatic drafts for my mortgage and car payment.
Did you know how to write a check before reading this? If you think someone you know could get help from this post please pass it along to a friend or bookmark it for future use.
Photo by: KJGarbutt Text added by: Lance Cothern