The risk of this is that someone else could use the check to pull money out of your account if you lost it. Because of that, make sure you don’t write the check until you are at the bank and ready to withdraw funds. On that note, always be careful when carrying around blank checks. If lost, someone else could fill it out, forge your signature, and potentially make withdrawals of your money. At the lower left is a line where you can, if you choose, note what the check is for, or write in your account number for, say, the utility company you’re paying with that check.

Compare all of your credits and debits from your bank statement to your checkbook register. This will include any withdrawals, checks, and unlisted deposits. And if you’re paying a bill, it’s a good idea to add your account number or invoice number to this section, that way the money goes to the correct account.

Certain checkbooks will have sheets of carbon paper in between the actual check and a facsimile check. This type of checkbook comes allows the creation of a carbon copy of all of your checks. This enables you to determine how your money was spent and what was printed on every check. As soon as your check has been written, assume the funds are gone. If your check is electronically transferred, your cash will be withdrawn from your account much faster.

  • A check register is an ideal place to do this, whether you use an electronic or paper register.
  • Next, address the check to the person, business, or organization you are paying.
  • That’s exactly what you’ll get with the premium version of EveryDollar.
  • “Yes, there should be checks and balances,” Nail told me last week.
  • The offers that appear on this site are from companies that compensate us.
  • For instance, if you’re mailing your December rent check on Nov. 28 but won’t have the necessary funds until the first of the month, you might date the check Dec. 1.

If you want to cash the check so you can have cash in hand, sign it in the box on the back that says Endorse Here. However, this section doesn’t contain important info, such as the routing number. A phone number and address may be included, or you might just see the bank’s logo. If you’re concerned about privacy, you can limit the amount of information on your checks or take steps such as using a post office box instead of your home address. Each of the below sections corresponds to an important aspect of this blank check.

Add your closing remarks

When your payment is for a whole number, simply put the number in the numerical box field using standard periods and zeroes to represent zero cents (e.g., 375.00). Do not write a check for an amount that’s greater than what you have in your account. Having insufficient funds will cause checks to “bounce,” which means they can’t be cashed and may result in insufficient fund fees. Next, address the check to the person, business, or organization you are paying. You’ll find this field below the date line toward the left of the check along with text reading “Pay to” or “Pay to the order of.” Sometimes an employer requests a voided check to set up your direct deposit, or you can void a check to help set up automatic bill pay.

Whether you’ve never written a physical check before or can’t remember the last time you did, this quick guide can help you understand how to write a check correctly. Double-check to ensure you have signed your checks properly using your full legal name, and write the correct date out as well. Keep your checkbook as well-protected as your wallet, don’t leave it lying around, and make sure to keep the carbon copy of each check written. Try to avoid writing out checks for cash, too, and order checks directly from your bank regularly to keep from running out of paper checks, especially if you use them often. While it’s possible to write a check to yourself, be aware that banks and credit unions may charge a fee or refuse to cash the check if you don’t have an account with them. To avoid these issues, you might want to consider using other ways to move your money, like ACH transfers or money transfer apps.

Writing a check isn’t tricky, but there are things to keep in mind to ensure the check will be valid. Write their name on the line that begins with “Pay to the order of.” You can name a person or a business. For a person, be sure to use the full name and not a nickname.

Credit cards vs. debit cards: Key differences

You will need to endorse the back of the check when you deposit it. If you believe there is an error on your bank statement, contact Huntington as soon as possible. Filling out the line that says “Memo” is optional, but helpful for knowing why you wrote the check. If you are paying a check for a monthly electric bill or rent, you can write “Electric Bill” or “Monthly Rent” in the memo area. Often when you are paying a bill, the company will ask you to write your account number on the check in the memo area.

Step 4. Write out the amount in words

A journalist for almost two decades, she is the author of Biography of a Body and Buffalo Steel. Checks are generally a secure way to pay for things, but they might not be your best option for every situation. The oldest surviving American checkbook, from the Bank of New York, dates to the 1790s.

Your bank account will become overdrawn so that you will have a negative amount in your checking account, and you will be hit with fees for a returned check. Most banks and credit unions allow you to do your banking online, which may be more secure than sending out or keeping track of paper checks. However, if you use paper checks, keep a few things in mind when using checks. First, when writing one, always use a non-erasable pen, preferably in blue or black ink.

What are the numbers on the bottom of a check?

For security, you want to make it as difficult as possible for someone to alter the number you write in this box. Reference the diagrams of a completed check at the top of this story and a blank check below as you read through a detailed explanation of each component. If you need a little practice filling out a check before you’re ready to send one, try out our printable practice check.

Record your check

The name signed on the back of the check must match the payee’s name listed on the front of the check. If your name is misspelled on the check, sign it with the incorrect spelling and then sign it again with the correct spelling. Following these tips can help you avoid the headaches and financial troubles of check fraud.

Discover checking review: An account with cash-back rewards

If post-dating your check is needed, make certain the payee understands. If your check does not have a date, is dated too far back, or has a future date, it is going to be returned. Whether your money is compensated, taking care of fraud correctly needs both time and effort. Your signature is placed on the bottom right of your check and should be legible. Make sure your signature matches the one your bank has on file.

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