While you may pay most of your bills online these days, or even via a mobile app, there are a few times when you may have to take out a pen and use it with a checkbook to pay a person or a company. If you can’t remember how to write a check—or you’ve never written one before—follow these steps to make sure you are properly filling out the financial document.
See infographic transcript below
Six Easy Steps to Writing a Check
Fill in the date
Typically, most people write today’s date. However, most banks will honor a check dated after today’s date, which is known as a post-dated check, even if the date hasn’t yet arrived. The check’s recipient can deposit the check once it is in hand.
Add a recipient
On the line that says, “Pay to the Order Of,” write the name of the person, people, or company to whom you are issuing the check. Use the name that appears on their bank account to make it easier for them to deposit the check later. If the recipient simply wants to cash the check without depositing it, you can write the word “CASH” instead of their name in this field.
Indicate the numerical amount
There are two places you must include the amount for which you’re writing the check. In the field next to the recipient’s name, write the numerical amount, including the decimal ($250.50).
Write out the amount
Then, on the line below the name, you should write out the amount in words, using a fraction to indicate any cents: “Two Hundred Fifty and 50/100.” Writing the amount in two different ways makes it easier for bank employees to verify the intended value of the check.
Include a memo
While not required, filling out the memo field on the check can be helpful for recordkeeping purposes or to help the recipient understand your intentions. You can fill in this field, typically found on the bottom left corner of the check, with just a few words.
Sign the check
Finally, write your signature in the field on the bottom right corner of the check. Without this signature, the check recipient will not be able to cash or deposit the check.
Writing checks may feel strange if you don’t regularly use them as a means of payment, so writing a few for practice can help you get more comfortable with the process (just be sure to void your practice checks by crossing them out with ink). Once you have the steps down, keep one of your voided checks as an example in case you need a refresher in the future.