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If you’ve been writing a check for a while (or never), here’s a handy guide to writing a check.
Adobe Stock Photo, Bankrate Illustration
Steps to fill out a check
Many of us send money electronically these days. From time to time, we may write physical checks to make a payment to an individual or company. Here are the steps to write a check.
1. Fill in the date
Write the current date on the line in the top right corner. This information will notify the financial institution and recipient exactly when you have written it. You can write the date in full or use all numbers. For example 10-6-2020 or 10 June 2020.
2. Write the name of the payee
On the line that says ‘pay to order from’, write the name of the person or company you want to pay. Use the recipient’s full name instead of a nickname. If you are making a payment on behalf of a company, check the company name before writing it on the check.
If you do not know the exact name, you can write the word “cash”. However, this can be a risky move as anyone can cash or deposit a check marked as “cash”.
3. Write the check amount in numeric form
The check contains two spaces that require you to indicate the amount you are paying. First, write the numerical dollar amount in the small box to the right of the recipient’s name line. For example, you can write $100.30 if you want to write a check for one hundred dollars and thirty cents. Make sure you write this clearly so that the bank can deduct the correct amount from your account.
4. Write the check amount in words
You must then write the dollar amount in words to match the numerical amount you have already written on the line under “pay to order from”. Put the number of cents above 100. For example, if you write $100.30 in the box, you would write “30/100 hundred”. If the check is $100 or some other round number, it should still contain 00/100 for clarity. When you write the dollar amount in words, check the total payment.
5. Write a memo
The Notes section of the check is optional. It’s a good idea to fill it out, though, as it can remind you why you wrote the check. For example, if you’re writing the check to pay your barber for your haircut, you can write “haircut.” If the check is for a particular invoice, write down your account number in the notes section.
A company may ask you to write down your account number or invoice number in this section. This helps them apply the payment to your account.
6. Sign the check
Sign your name on the line in the lower right corner of your check. Make sure you sign legibly and make sure you use the same signature that is available at your bank. Your signature informs the bank that you agree to pay the specified amount to the beneficiary you have specified.