As the world moves towards being cashless, one form of payment still lingers, especially in America.
Checks! In 2015, Americans wrote on average 38 checks.
One of the top 5 money questions Googled in 2018 was how to write a check. While checks continue to be used and until they are completely discontinued, knowing how to write a check is an important money skill.
I learned how to write a check primarily because I worked as an accountant for years, otherwise I'd probably have to look up how to write one each time.
Here's a guide to writing a check:
1. Date - write out the full date (month, date, and year)
Tip: Most banks will honor checks only for 6 months from the check date, so especially around the turn of the year, make sure to get that year correct 😉
2. Payee (Pay to the order of) - write the full name of the person or company you're paying
If you're unsure who to make the check out to, reach out and double check. Believe me, anyone would be happy to confirm with you, instead of having to wait for a second check that is made out correctly.
Tip: If there's space left in this field, after you write the full name of the payee, add a dash through the rest of this space. If this check find itself in the wrong hands, instead of the rightful owner, then it will be harder to cash.
3. Amount - write the full amount you're paying with dollars and cents, even if there are zero cents to pay
Tip: My preferred way to write the cents due is to write the amount over 100, same as a fraction. For example you're writing a check for $74.15, then I'd write 74 15/100 in the amount box. This will leave less room for error when your checks are being processed and will decrease your chances of the amount field being manipulated if it landed in the wrong hands.
4. Amount in words - write in the full amount that you're paying but in words. Using the same example from the previous point, you'd write "seventy-four and 15/100".
Tip: If there is space left in this field after you write the full name of the payee, add a dash through the rest of this space. This will prevent anyone from attempting to manipulate the amount to say something else other than what is intended
5. Memo - this is a great place to add a note that will help you remember what this check was for.
Tip: If you're writing a check for a bill, write down the invoice number or your account number with the vendor. This will ensure the check gets to the right place as quickly as possible.
6. Signature - keep your signature consistent to prevent banks from flagging payments as fraudulent and delaying the payee from receiving their payment on time.