Most people only write checks for things like their monthly rent which only requires writing a check with dollars and zero cents.
But how are you supposed to write out a check with dollars and cents?
Follow along with our step by step guide and you’ll be able to write the check you need to write and teach others how to write out a check with dollars and cents in no time.
If you need to write a different type of check or need to know about routing numbers, here are a few other tutorials you could use instead:
- How To Write A Check For Over A Thousand Dollars
- How To Write A Check With Zero Cents
- How To Write A Void Check And Why You May Need To
- Writing A Check To Cash Isn’t Good And How To Write It Anyway
- What Is A Routing Number And How Do I Find Mine?
Step 1 – Fill Out The Date
Just like with any other check, you’ll need to fill in the date in the top right corner of the check labeled 1 in the above picture.
You can write the date in MM/DD/YYYY format or write out the date in Month Day, Year format.
Step 2 – Fill Out Pay To The Order Of Line
Next, you’ll write the name of the person or company you’re writing the check to on the “Pay to the Order of” line labeled 2 in the above picture.
Often, this is a person’s name, such as John Doe or a company name, such as John Doe Rentals Inc. In this example, we’ll write the check out to Rick Weaver.
However, you can also write the check to cash, but then whoever holds the check could cash it.
Step 3 – Fill In The Amount Of The Check In Numbers
The third step is filling in the amount of the check in numbers in the box with a dollar sign next to it labeled 3 in the picture above.
If you wanted to write a check for $85.39, simply write 85.39 in the box. The dollar sign is already taken care of just outside of the box, so you don’t have to repeat it.
Try to make the numbers take up as much space in the box as possible so there is little chance of the check being altered.
Step 4 – Write The Dollar Amount In Words
Next, you’ll be writing out the full dollar amount in words on the line that ends with the word dollars labeled 4 in the picture above. This line is just below the “Pay to the Order of” line.
You don’t have to write the words dollars or cents, since the word dollars at the end of the line means anything you write will be considered to be dollars or a fraction of a dollar.
The key to writing a check with cents is writing the word “and” then putting the cents as a fraction of a dollar. So, you’d write XX/100, where XX is the amount of cents the check is for.
For our $85.39 check, we’d write out “Eighty Five and 39/100” and fill the rest of the line in with a strike out to prevent anyone from altering the check.
Step 5 – Fill In Memo Information
This step is optional when it comes to writing most checks. However, if the person you’re paying requires you to write something like an account number or statement number on your checks, this is the place to do it.
In the bottom left corner of the check there should be a line labeled “Memo” or “For”. In this example of writing a check, it is labeled 5 in the picture above.
If the person you’re paying doesn’t require you to write anything here, you can write anything you want to help you remember what the check was for.
Checkbooks with carbon copies will retain this information, but even if you don’t have carbon copies available, banks can often give you a copy of your cashed checks in case you forget what you wrote it for.
Step 6 – Sign The Check
The last step is signing the check in the lower right hand corner on the line labeled 6 in the picture above. Without your signature, the check isn’t valid and cannot be cashed.
Be careful to never sign a check before filling out every other field on the check. If you do, someone could write in whatever they want in steps 1 through 5 and potentially drain your bank account.
Here’s an image of the completed check as described throughout this example.
Congratulations! You Now Know How To Write A Check With Cents
If you feel like you’ll forget how to write a check, simply bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you need to fill out a check.
If you have any questions about writing a check, please leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to answer it for you either with a new post or in the comments below.
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.