The Top 5 Most Common Check-Writing Mistakes
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):
1. The 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 has the option of accepting the check for only the written amount, contacting the customer to authorize a change, or returning the check.
2. It's not dated, or the date is incorrect.
Some customers simply neglect to date their checks. Others supply the wrong date (post- or stale-dated) both intentionally and unintentionally. When postdating 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. The check is not signed.
Surprisingly enough, many people will complete every other portion of their check and then forget to sign it. These are returned instantly.
4. The 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.
5. The check is modified or altered.
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.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.