The art of writing a check

By Jakob Jelling

Although it may seem very obvious, many people do not know how to write checks. With the birth of a generation that regularly uses ATM check cards, online bill payment systems, and credit cards more often than checks, check writing may risk extinction due to ignorance.

Luckily for you, this article will take you through the process of properly writing a check step-by-step – so that there may be hope for future generations of check writers. The first thing you should do is write in the date using any format with which you feel most comfortable. Just make sure that you write it legibly, so that there is no confusion as to when you wrote the check. If you want the recipient to have the money right away, put in the current date. If you want the recipient to withdraw the funds at a later date, however, write in a future date. This is called a post-dated check. Rent checks are often collected in this manner.

Secondly, write the name of the person or organization that will receive your check on the line that is preceded by the words “Pay to the Order of” or “Payable to.” Then write the dollar amount that you want to send to the recipient in the small space that starts with a dollar sign ($) so that it is written in the following manner: “50.89.” (Of course, you must write in the amount you want to pay). At this point you must write the same amount using words for whole dollar amounts, a fractional number for amounts less than a dollar, and a straight line in the remaining space before the word “Dollars.” Do it in this manner exactly: “Fifty and 89/100------------- Dollars.”

On the lower right side of the check, make sure you write your signature. Also, take note of the check number, date, payee, and amount in the check stub or the check ledger at the front of your checkbook. Now subtract the amount of your check so you can calculate how much money you have left in your account after the check clears.

Here are some extra tips for writing checks: know how much money you have in your bank account at any given time, as you will be charged a fee for any checks that bounce due to insufficient funds. Also, if you aren't very good at keeping records, use a checkbook that makes an automatic carbon copy of the checks you write. This will come in handy when you're busy or rushing to make payments.


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