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How to Write a Check

Joshua earned an MBA from USF and he writes mostly about software and technology.

How to Write Out a Check

If you are filling out a check for the first time or haven't filled one out for years, there is a little more anxiety involved. Even though checks are being replaced by other technologies, it's still good to know this skill, which is outlined below.

1. Date the Check

The date of the check belongs in the top right-hand corner of the instrument. Knowing when the check was written is very important in the check-cashing process. If the check hasn’t been cashed within a year or a specified amount of time, it will go stale and will be deemed useless.


2. Address the Check to a Recipient

The next line down on the check to the right is labeled “Pay to the order of.” This is where the name of the recipient of the check goes. This could be someone’s name, a company name, and can even be made out to “cash.” This is the part of the check that you never want to leave blank because if it gets into the wrong hands, it can be filled in by anyone.


3. Write the Payment Amount in Digits

The payment amount must appear in number form on the check to the right of the recipient’s name. This is one of two areas where you need to write the amount of the check. This needs to be written clearly, especially if you are making an electronic transaction where a computer will be reading this written number.

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4. Write the Payment Amount in Words

Below the recipient’s name, the dollar amount that was previously written on the check in numerical form needs to be written in English. Also, any fraction of a dollar needs to be written in the form of a fraction.

Even if the value of the check has no cents, show the placeholder of zero in the fraction “00/100.” Writing this amount in clear cursive or print writing is important so the bank can confirm the value of the check.


5. Write a Memo (Optional)

The area where a memo needs to be written for a check is usually labeled as “Memo” or “For.” This part of the check is optional, but it is good practice to fill this out whenever a check is completed. When writing a bill, the payer’s account number is written in this area. If writing the check to someone as a loan, you may want to specify this fact.


6. Sign the Check

The last part of a check that needs to be signed is the signature line. This is found in the bottom right-hand corner of the check. After signing this, the check becomes a legal financial instrument, so you may want to look it over one more time to make sure you have everything written correctly.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Joshua Crowder

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