Until recently, personal checks used to be one of the most common and preferred payment options. However, over the past 20 years, the usage of checks dropped by more than 50%. But, they’re still alive and kicking, at least in the UK. On the other hand, Google trend shows an interesting result that the query on “How to Write a Check” has been growing in the last ten years.
Credit cards, online shopping, and the fact that we live in an increasingly digital world have somewhat brushed checks aside.
However, there still are situations in which they are the best and most convenient option to foot the bill. But, in order to make sure that this entire process is seamless and hassle-free, it’s important to learn how to properly fill out your paper check.
How to write a Check for different banks
Checking account is one of basic bank services offered to assist individuals in managing their finances. If you look at checks issued by different banks, they share the very similar format, which includes the following fields,
- Date – date of transaction
- Pay To The Oder Of – payee field
- Amount of money in numeric form
- Amount of money in words
Bank of America
Lloyds TSB How to write a check
JPMorgan Chase Bank Routing Numbers
Barclays how to write cheque
Wells Fargo how to write a check
Citibank Check sample
Routing numbers of HSBC Bank
Steps on how to write a check
So whatever banks you are using, their checks are similar. Here is a step-by-step guide to show you how to provide all the necessary information together with a couple of tips on how to protect yourself from fraud.
Enter the Current Date
At the top right-hand corner of a check is the place for the date of the transaction.
It has the purpose of help both you and the recipient keep your records accurately. It’s common to use the current date when you’re writing the check, but you can also “postdate” your payment. This refers to the practice of using a future date. Before doing so, it’s advisable to check with your recipient whether they accept this kind of payment and inform your bank.
As for the format, month/day/year is standard in the US, while in the UK and other parts of Europe, the common notation is day/month/year.
Fill Out the Payee Field
On the line marked “Pay to the order of” write the name of the person or business that is supposed to receive your payment.
In case you’re not sure who you should make your check out to, it’s best to ask and eliminate any potential mistakes.
Although it doesn’t have to be a full name, it’s best to write, for example, “Peter Parker” instead of “P Parker” to minimize the odds of fraud.
If you also receive checks, maybe you can consider introducing a customer support chatbot that would help your customers handle different payment methods, including checks.
Enter the Amount
Checks usually have an empty field with a currency sign in front of it, placed right next to the payee line.
This is where you should fill out the amount of money, using a numeric form, or, simply put, numbers.
By starting writing as far to the left as possible, you’ll prevent a fraudulent recipient to add “1”, “2”, or any other numbers.
If the amount you have to pay contains cents, you can use a decimal point – $52.50. However, as a decimal point can be confused for a comma, some people resort to writing cents as a fraction.
These $52.50 would be represented as $52 50/100 in that case.
Fill Out the Amount in Words
Writing out the amount in words is another mechanism to prevent fraud.
You’ll see a blank line just below the payee line, and this is where you should use the expanded word form. However, cents should be written as a fraction.
What you should bear in mind is that if the amount in a numeric form and the amount in a word form don’t match, most banks will consider the latter to be the legal amount of your check.
It’s a good idea to write in all capital letters because they’re more difficult to tamper with.
At the bottom right-hand of the check, there’s a signature line.
It’s important to sign your name legibly and use the same signature that you used on file at your bank.
The check isn’t valid without your signature on it, so don’t forget this step. Otherwise, the bank won’t be able to process it which can result in different fees.
A Memo Line
This isn’t a mandatory field, and you can write down a note such as the number of your account in case the payee misplaced it, or state the purpose of your payment as a reminder.
Also, if you’re using a check to pay your taxes, you can write down your Social Security Number for the IRS to identify you and find your file more easily.
Follow this guide and ensure that all your checks are properly written and seamlessly processed.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.