This step-by-step guide will explain everything you need to know about how to write a check easily or void a check.
Filling out a check correctly is important, as not doing it right can leave you with a payment due.
In the age of mobile payments, it is often easy to transfer money digitally. But there are still certain places and occasions that only accept cash or checks as payment methods.
A step by step guide about how to write a check easily
Wondering how to fill out a check? Have you spent some time without using your checkbook? Consider these steps when writing a check to make sure the recipient can cash it.
How to read a check: Before reading the list, take a look at this image to understand all the parts of a check.
There are five basic steps to writing a check:
1. Write the date
You’ll need to put today’s date in the top right corner of the check. Entering the correct date is essential, since banks are not required to accept checks that are more than six months old. This is because there is a body of law called the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) that regulates this in the US.
You may need to post-date or post-date a check in certain situations. In this case you write a future date. Just remember that doing so means the recipient won’t be able to cash the check before the date on the check.
Make sure you write the month, day and year correctly. The payee may not be able to cash the check if the date is misspelled or not legible. In that case, your financial institution will return the check to you.
2. Write the name of the beneficiary
To fill out a check, you must add the payee. On the first line of the check, you’ll see the words “Pay to the order of.” In English, you can say: “Pay to the order of.”
On this line, you must clearly write the name of the person or company that will cash the check.
The recipient’s name must be written on the check in order for the recipient to deposit the funds from the check into their bank account. Make sure to write your full name. Write it clearly so that the recipient can deposit the funds correctly.
3. Fill in the exact amount in numbers
First, make sure you have enough money in your checking account. The check will come out of your checking account, not your savings account.
You will see a small box on the right side of the check. In this box, write the total amount of the payment. Some checks include a dollar sign, while others do not. You don’t have to place it.
Simply fill in the amount of the check in numbers. Be sure to include the decimal point in the correct place, so your recipient doesn’t have a problem cashing the check.
4. Fill in the amount of money written in words
To fill out a check, you have to write the amount twice. Just below the payee line, there is a blank line with the word “dollars” to the right. On this line, fill in the amount of the check in words.
For example, if the amount of the check is $142.57, you would write “one hundred and forty-two and 57/100” on this line. If the dollar amount is exact, you should still put “0/100” to clarify that no cents were omitted.
To the right of this line, you might see the number 100 with a line above it. If your check has this option, you can put the cents there instead of including them in the dollar amount. You can also put “00” for exact dollar amounts.
5. Sign the check clearly
In the bottom right corner, you will see a blank line. You must sign the check clearly and legibly.
The check cannot be cashed unless there is a valid signature from the primary account holder on that line. A checking account can have more than one authorized signer.
Once it’s ready, the recipient can deposit the check at a bank or ATM.
6. Write a note
Filling out the note line at the bottom left of the check is optional, unless requested by the payee. This field can help the recipient keep track of payments received. It is also useful for record keeping.
On the memo line, you can specify what the check is for.
7. Keep track of your checks
When you write a check, it’s a good idea to write it down in your check register if you have no other method of keeping track of your spending. In the back of your checkbook, you’ll see a register where you can list what each check is written for. You can write the check number, the amount, the payee and the date. This is useful when budgeting your personal finances and keeping track of payments made.
How to void a check and why
You may need to void a check at some point. What is a voided check? It is simply a check that you filled out and then canceled before it could be cashed.
Consider this common scenario. You just joined a new job that will pay you by direct deposit. To make sure your employer has the correct account number, they may ask you for a voided check. You can also submit a voided check if you want to set up a recurring electronic payment with a vendor or other employer.
If you make a mistake when filling out a check, void it. It is better to void or tear up a check with an error.
To void a check, cross out the signature line, the date, and the small box where the amount of the check is placed. Then write “VOID” in capital letters on the check to make it unusable, meaning no one will be able to handle or cash it.
Voiding a check is one way to protect yourself from fraud. Once you successfully void the check, be sure to note it in your check register so you can track it.
Do not give your employer or anyone else a blank check. Remember that anyone can fill out a blank check and cash it illegally.
How to request checks
You can request checks associated with your checking account directly from your bank. You can do this in person with a teller at your local branch, or you can order a checkbook online.
In most cases, your banking institution will deduct the cost of the checkbook from your checking account. Many banks work with third-party check providers. You can request checks from the provider directly or through your own financial institution. Your checkbook will also include an information sheet with the contact information you need to order a new checkbook in the future.