Five Most Common Check Writing Mistakes

Updated on June 24, 2010

As a bank teller, I am exposed to quite a number of customer errors regarding their checks. These errors can cause all sorts of trouble for everyone involved. Although some tellers take the liberty of correcting certain mistakes, officially they aren't allowed to modify checks.

Take a moment to carefully examine all banking documents, the financial institution will appreciate it.

Below is a list of the most frequent mistakes (in no particular order):

5) Written amount doesn't match the numeric amount.

For instance, a person may complete a check with the written amount as one hundred dollars, but the numeric amount is only $10.00. Almost daily we return checks for this reason. In cases like this, the bank is has the option of accepting the check for only the written amount, contacting the customer to authorize a change, or returning the check.

4) Not dated or incorrect date.

Some customers simply neglect to date their checks. Others supply the wrong date (post or stale dated) both intentionally and unintentionally. When post dating your check, make an effort to inform the payee of it. Checks with no date, future dates or those dated a certain number of days in the past will be returned.

3) Not signed.

Surprisingly enough, many people will complete every other portion of their check and then forget to sign it. These are returned instantly.

2) Signature doesn't match the one on file.

As we age, our signature changes. Other events can also alter the way a person signs documents. If the signature on a check differs noticeably from the initial sample provided it will be returned. The best way to remedy this is to furnish a more recent sample of the signature.

1) Modified or altered checks.

Checks that appear to have been altered with scratch outs, write overs, different colored inks or multiple handwriting styles are considered altered. Even if the cause is a simple mistake, these changes look suspicious and may cause the check to be returned. If a mistake absolutely must be corrected, use one line to cross out the error and initial the changes. This may not guarantee that the check remains valid, but it will lower the level of suspicion. Never use whiteout on or photocopy any checking documents.

To reiterate, closely examine checks and other banking documents before submitting them. Items are much more likely to be processed quickly if they have been completed correctly.

I would be glad to answer any personal banking questions anyone may have, feel free to ask. For my next Hub I'd like to write about the most common reasons for a check to be returned, if there is enough interest. Please let me know if this would be helpful!

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    • profile image

      Jay 

      2 days ago

      I sign back of check on first line but dont have n account with chase and it is made out to cash. Can i still sign it over to friend to cash

    • profile image

      David 

      7 days ago

      can i cash a check i signed even if my dad wrote on the back of it where it says "do not write below this line"

    • profile image

      Surya 

      3 weeks ago

      I used' and ' word two times while writing amount in wordings may I know whether it will get clear or not

    • profile image

      Anthony Lomelino 

      6 weeks ago

      Check was declined code 404 popped up

    • profile image

      Jay 

      3 months ago

      If you write a check to the courts and do not write out in words the amount is the check still good? The amount is there in the box with the numbers but you forgot to write out the words of amount. Check still good?

    • profile image

      Tammy Parker 

      3 months ago

      My fiancee had me deposit two t-checks. He spelled out the issuing co name as C. H. Robertson, it should have been C. H. Robinson. Authorization went through everything match. Bank deposited but put 4 day hold on it. Will it clear? Was honest mistake.

    • profile image

      Jimmy 

      4 months ago

      Am untrain teller,I recently pay out a check that it's words and figure differ. I later discover and called back the customer and the cash retrieved. On the process of retrieval management were informed. What should I do for management took it that it's stealing on my part?

    • profile image

      Johnny 

      7 months ago

      I Only Wrote My Name In The Wrong Place In Where My Employer Is Supposed To Sign , How Big Of A Problem Will This Give Me & What’s The Best Next Step

      ?

    • profile image

      NickRoark 

      7 months ago

      I took my check to Chase and they put their Stamp on it but said they couldn't cash it cause I didnt have an account with them now nowhere else will cash it what can I do???

    • profile image

      Kowshika 

      7 months ago

      I posted wrong month in my cheque. If it come back to me or the bank. Answer me soon please

    • profile image

      Kowshika 

      7 months ago

      If the month is wrong means will it returns to me?

    • profile image

      patricia 

      9 months ago

      I received my daughter's financial aid check however, because I thought it was her financial aid I had her sign the back of the check we bought didn't pay attention to who the check was written for. I put a line through her name and initialed it then I signed my name. Will the check be returned?

    • profile image

      Brian 

      12 months ago

      I just received a cheque from a big company it is a computer written cheque but there was a mistake in the address is the cheque still good.

    • profile image

      NANDHINI 

      13 months ago

      In case forty is spelled as fourty in cheque means will it get return???

      Answer me asap

    • profile image

      Kenneth 

      13 months ago

      I went to cash a check with a bank and because I didn't have an account they wouldn't cash it so they put whiteout tape on the back of it and now when I went to another place to cash it they said they wouldn't cash it because of that what do I do

    • profile image

      royalnesh@gmail.com 

      15 months ago

      Hi. I received a cheque from a competition in College. The amount has a crossed '3' then written '5' and signed.

      The cheque has 2 signatures and one of the signatures has been resigned just side by the corrected digit for approval of the correction.

      Is the cheque valid? do I need both the signatures for the correction to be valid?

    • profile image

      Nathan osei 

      18 months ago

      I have a check from my dad which am supposed to use that money for my school fees and wanted to pay it through my bank card but it only said the school initials on the Oder of: and on the memo it says my name but can l cancell the school initials and put my name there cause that is what my bank is looking for before they can assept the check

    • profile image

      margie 

      22 months ago

      i have a wrong spelling like instead of fils i wrote it "Fills" is this acceptable?

    • profile image

      Ck 

      23 months ago

      How can i resolve my problem , i wrote 40,000 in words as fourty instead of forty. Can bank accept it or not ?

      And also the other check. Is 25,000 which is i wrote twenty thousand then i forgot to write five so i put it upper between the space of twenty and thousand. ? Is it okay ?

    • profile image

      junior 

      2 years ago

      I got 88 hrs of vacation time and cashed in 40 hrs of my vacation and on my check they took out $680.00 which is 40 hrs of my vacation and they also took 40 hrs away from my vacation which leaves me 48 hrs left. I was like what the f#$#. I got my check stubs to make this rite on Monday. Steelhead metal corp.

    • profile image

      jeniffer 

      2 years ago

      I have my own buisniss and tryed making out payrolll checks my self to save time and money.i screwed up acouple.then scratched name off paper to redew them paper looks fuzzy.is ther any way i can fix that .or do i just retyp over them .im out of paper

    • profile image

      nilam 

      3 years ago

      Only scratch littlebit in my paycheck on my name is it approve by bank?

    • profile image

      nilam 

      3 years ago

      My check is in laundry machine it is little bit scratch is bank can accept?

    • profile image

      Johnb876 

      3 years ago

      Write more, that's all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what you're talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read? bfbddddabdgd

    • profile image

      Sunil 

      5 years ago

      date on my check was give an --/--/200--.but i have issued it by changing the year as 2012,will this check be valid?

      please answer as soon as possible.

    • monicamelendez profile image

      monicamelendez 

      6 years ago from Salt Lake City

      I recently wrote the wrong amount when I wrote it out. Not to worry, it was only $600 off. Hahhaha oops!

    • profile image

      jennifer 

      6 years ago

      what if you put the amount where the "pay to" line was? can i still write the check?

    • profile image

      wrong 

      6 years ago

      Dates on checks are irrelevant. Post dating makes no difference. There doesn't even have to be any date on a check for a bank to process it.

    • profile image

      ajb 

      7 years ago

      I wrote a check for one thousand and four pounds 80 pence

      but accidently put £10004.80 and they paid out the £10004.80 how do I resolve this I have notified my bank manager he is not that confident on my behalf

    • jimbody profile imageAUTHOR

      jimbody 

      8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Yes, check kiting, identity theft and forgery continue to be big issues in the banking industry. My job as a teller requires me to examine documents very closely and verify identities as mentioned in the hub. Although lots of the processes are automated now, every paper item that goes through today's banks has a digital picture taken of it, front and back. Those images are reviewed not only by the branch staff, but proof corrections, bookkeeping and other departments as well. If anything, checks are under more scrutiny now than they were in the past mainly because it's easier for bank employees to review them digitally.

      For instance, before the advent of computerized banking software, signatures could only be verified by retrieving the paper sample from a filing cabinet. Now those samples are a few keystrokes away and much more accessible.

      Hope this helps, and thanks for the feedback! :)

    • FCEtier profile image

      Chip 

      8 years ago from Cold Mountain

      Surely you saw the movie, "Catch Me If You Can". Are the security items brought up in that movie still relevant today?

      And, do banks really continue to check the checks as closely as you talk about? I thought processing checks was mostly automated now.

      Thanks for a timely article.

    • jimbody profile imageAUTHOR

      jimbody 

      8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Good point. This hub applies to the United States. Cheers! :)

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 

      8 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      In the United Kingdom they will be stopping cheques soon but I don't know what they have thought of for those times when only a cheque will do

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