Have you forgotten how to write a check?
Unfortunately, there are just certain 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 this year on one hand.
I definitely won’t use up the whole book of checks I have.
Here’s a quick list of steps to write a check with cents followed by a detailed step by step example check. Click on any step to jump to it below or read on to get the full details.
At the end of this detailed step-by-step, we have compiled a quick printable guide you can have, as well.
- Enter the date on the top right
- Enter the payee on “Pay to the Order of line”
- Write check amount in numbers in the $ box
- Write check amount in words on the line that ends with “Dollars”
- Write necessary information in “For” or “Memo” field on the bottom left corner
- Sign check in the bottom right corner
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 each image to learn how to write a check with cents.
Step 1: Enter the date on the top right
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.
Step 2: Enter the payee on “Pay to the Order of line”
In this field, you will write the name of the company or person you’re writing the check to. Make sure to use the proper name so the person or business you’re 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.
Step 3: Write the check amount in numbers in the $ 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.
If you want to write a check with no cents or zero cents, simply put .00 after the dollar amount in this box.
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.
Step 4: Write the check amount in words on the line that ends with “Dollars”
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.
If you want to write a check with no cents or zero cents, simply put 00/100 or xx/100 in the place you’d usually put the cents.
This field should be used to determine the value of the check if there is a discrepancy between the numbers amount and the words amount.
Step 5: Write the necessary information in “For” or “Memo” field on the bottom left corner
In the for or memo field, you can write whatever you want to help you remember what the check was for if the person or company 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.
Step 6: Sign check in the bottom right corner
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 blank check and someone finds it they can write out a check to themselves for the whole balance of your bank account.
Now You Know How to Write a Check With Cents
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, not the example. 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.
Did you know how to write a check with cents 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.
Lance Cothern, CPA holds a CPA license in Indiana. He’s a personal finance, debt and credit expert that writes professionally for top-tier publications including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Investopedia, Credit Karma, Business Insider and more.
Additionally, his expertise has been featured on Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Kiplinger, Reuters, CNBC and more.
Lance is the founder of Money Manifesto. He started writing about money and helping people solve their financial problems in 2012. You can read more about him and find links to his other work and media mentions here.