It’s rare, but occasionally someone will want to know how to write a check to cash.
Writing a check to cash is a bad idea, but it’s ultimately up to the person writing the check whether they want to do it or not.
If you want to write a check to cash, how exactly does it work? It’s as easy as you’d imagine, but here’s how to write a check to cash step by step.
Find out why I think it’s a bad idea after this tutorial.
If you need to write a different type of check, here are a few check writing guides we have available.
- How To Write A Check For Over A Thousand Dollars
- How To Write Out A Check With Dollars And Cents
- How To Write A Check With Zero Cents
- How To Write A Void Check And Why You May Need To
Step 1 – Date The Check
The first step is dating the check in the top right corner. You’ll do this at the #1 label in the image above. You can write out the date, such as Month Day, Year, or abbreviate it, such as MM/DD/YYYY.
Step 2 – Write The Check Out To “Cash”
Next, you’ll write the word “Cash” on the line labeled “Pay to the Order of”. You’ll write this on the line labeled #2 in the image above.
Step 3 – Write The Check Amount In Numbers
The third step is writing the amount of the check in numbers in the box with a dollar sign next to it, labeled #3 in the image above. Since there is a $ sign already printed, you’ll just need to write the numbers.
For our example, we’ll pretend the check to “Cash” is for $500. In this case, you’d simply write 500.00 in the box.
Step 4 – Write The Check Amount In Words
On the line below the “Pay to the Order of” line, you’ll see a blank line that ends in dollars. On this line, labeled #4 in the above image, you’ll write the amount of the check in words.
In this case, you’d write “Five Hundred” followed by a strikeout line to prevent anyone from changing the amount of the check.
If you want to be more precise and lower the likelihood of someone tampering with the check even further, you should write “Five Hundred and no/100” to indicate the check is for $500 and no cents.
Even if you do this, you should still strike out the rest of the line that is blank.
Step 5 – Fill Out The For Or Memo Field
If the person receiving the check requests you to add specific information to the check, you can add it in the “Memo” or “For” field labeled #5 in the image above. This field is in the bottom left corner of the check.
If the person receiving the check doesn’t request any information, you can put whatever you want in this field to remind you why you wrote the check.
Step 6 – Sign The Check
The final step is signing the check in the bottom right hand corner. In the image above, this field is labeled #6.
Why Writing A Check To Cash Is A Bad Idea
Writing a check to cash is a terrible idea in my opinion, but it can be done if you really want to do it.
Why is it a bad idea? As long as the check has been signed, a check written out to cash can be cashed by absolutely anyone.
Let’s say you decide you want to get some cash and write a check out to cash at home before you head to the bank. Along the way, the check falls out of your wallet.
If a random person finds that check before you get a chance to get your bank to stop payment on it, that person can head to the nearest bank, cash the check and take your money.
You’ll never know who cashed the check and you’ll never get your money back. It’s gone forever.
Similarly, if you’re writing a check to someone else and they just request you write it out to cash, the same exact thing can happen.
In this case, the person who lost the check may even try to get you to write them another one. You wouldn’t be obligated to do it, but it makes for a nasty situation either way.
What Can You Do Other Than Writing A Check To Cash?
Let’s say you want to write a check to cash to get cash from your bank or to transfer money to another bank you have. Rather than write the check to cash, write the check out to yourself. This way, only you can cash the check.
What about if person you’re paying isn’t sure who exactly you should write the check out to? In this case, just wait and find out who really should get the check before filling in the name.
Finally, if you’re writing the check to two people but aren’t sure which one will cash the check, you can write the check to both people or one of the two.
If you want both people to have to sign the check before it can be deposited, write “Kramer Mills AND Sophie Sonos” on the “Pay to the Order of Line”.
If you only want one of them to have to sign the check in order to deposit it, write “Kramer Mills OR Sophie Sonos”.
Now you know exactly how to write a check out to cash and why writing a check to cash is an awful idea.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to write a check to cash. That said, if you do, at least you’ve been warned of what can happen.
What questions do you have about writing a check to cash? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll answer them with an update to the article or in the comments.
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.