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How to Write a Check In 5 Steps

December 3, 2020

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In a world of money apps and instant transfers, checks are pretty old-school, but sometimes they’re the only option for transferring money.

Today, we’ll break down how to write a check into five steps for when that moment does come.

Step 1: Date

First, write the date in the upper right corner.

The date tells the bank and the person who’s cashing the check when you wrote it.

The way you write the date doesn’t matter—it just needs to be clear.

For example, January 1st, 2021 and 1/1/21 will both work.

If you don’t want the check to be cashed right away, then you can write a future date, and the check won’t be usable until then.

Step 2: Who’s cashing the check

Next, we’ll write who the check is for.

This is the name of the person or organization who will cash the check.

Write the name on the line that says “pay to the order of.”

Again, it’s important to write the name clearly so there’s no confusion.

Step 3: Number Amount

This amount is the money you want to transfer with the check.

The box for this number is on the right side of the check toward the center.

The box will begin with a dollar sign that looks like this: $

When you write the number, make sure to include dollars and cents. 

For example, if you write a check for one hundred dollars and five cents, it should look like this: $100.05

Try to fill up the entire box with the number amount. Doing so ensures no one can change the amount by adding an extra zero. 

Step 4 Written Amount

Now we’ll write out the number amount from Step 3.

The line to write this information is directly under the line where you wrote who the check is for.

Using our previous example, if the check is for $100.05, then write out that amount in words like this: One Hundred Dollars and Five Cents

Make sure to write clearly, and try to use the entire line. 

Using the whole line to write the amount ensures that no one will try to alter the check after you write it.

Step 5: Signature

Here’s the fun part—you get to practice your signature!

Your signature goes in the bottom right corner of the check.

This is the easiest step, but it’s important to remember.

Your signature tells the bank that you agree to pay the amount written on the check.

Without your signature, the check cannot be used.

Optional Step: Memo

The memo line is for the reason you wrote the check.

You don’t have to do this part for the check to work, but it’s always a good idea.

The memo line is on the bottom left corner of the check. 

Sometimes the spot will say “memo” and sometimes there will just be a blank space where you can write.

The memo you write can be as simple as you like. 

For example, if the check is for your rent in October, you can just write “October Rent.”

Sometimes the memo line can be helpful for reference, too. 

For example, if you’re paying a utility bill, you can write your account number in the memo line. 

When you go over your bank statements later, many banks give you the option to view a list of the checks you wrote. 

If you filled in the memo lines, it will help you remember why you wrote the checks.

Following Up

Before writing a check, it’s a good idea to check your bank account.

Decide the amount of money the check will be for, and make sure that you have that amount in your bank account.

Keep in mind that the money will stay in your account until the check is cashed.

So until the check is cashed, you’ll need to make sure that money is available.

How can you tell if the check has gone through? 

These days online banking makes it easy.

Just log into your account and check the withdrawals. If you see the amount you wrote the check for deducted from your account, then the check has been cashed.

That’s it. 

Now you can write a check the right way.

Good luck!

Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of Varo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC (“Bank”). Bank is not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).

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Julian Dossett

Julian Dossett

Julian is a tech and finance writer, covering stories from artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency to personal loans and credit cards. His work has appeared at The Simple Dollar, Bankrate, and Blockchain Beach. As a former Cision editor, Julian worked across the table from many of the nation’s most trusted brands. He’s currently based in New Mexico.

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