A check is a legal written, dated, and signed instrument that directs a bank to pay a specific sum of money to the bearer. In addition, it is an indispensable skill every adult should master. Because it is still surprisingly very common even in today’s ultra digitalized world.
Writing a check is pretty easy, this article will show you exactly how to do it. Just follow the step by step guide. There is no specific order you can complete it in any order you like.
How to Write a Check: Step by step
- Step 1: Write the date
On the upper right-hand corner, there is a dedicated blank space. Typically, you use today’s date to keep accurate records. However, always remember the date here should be the date that you sign the check.
- Step 2: The name of the recipient or the payee
“Pay to the order of” write the name of the person or the company you are sending the check to next to that line. Also, do avoid any mistake, if you are not sure about the person’s full name ( first name, middle name, last name, ‘Jr’ or “sir”), please double check again before writing. If it goes to an organization write out its full name, not acronyms unless given permission.
- Step 3: Numerical amount of the check to the right of the dollar sign
write the exact amount using dollars and cents in the small box on the right-hand side. Consistently, start with the last number on the left to prevent fraud. Finally, draw a line after the last digit.
- Step 4: Amount in words below the “Pay to the Order of” line
The exact amount should have an equivalent in words to avoid fraud and confusion. This is the amount that would be paid. Yet in case of doubt with the numerical amount, the amount in words is legally abiding.
- Step 5: Signature
Sign the check in the bottom-right corner. Use the same and the signature on file at your bank. The check will invalid if it is not signed.
- Step 6: Memo section on the bottom left of the check.
Although this section is optional. It could be useful to write a note for yourself to remember what the check is for. In addition, some organization or landlords require additional information on the memo section. For instance rent appartment#1 or ID number. Because it helps keep track and accountability.
11 Things to keep in mind
- Write a check when you absolutely need it. That is because it is time-consuming and it is not the most convenient way to move money. Furthermore, you can save money and time by not using a checkbook.
- Make sure you have sufficient fund in your account before writing a check or the amount will be available before the recipient cashes it to avoid a bounced check.
- Keep a record of all your checks: it would help you track your expenses and avoid bounced checks.
- Use a pen when writing a check to make it permanent and avoid any issues.
- No blank check: Don’t sign a check until you’ve filled in all the necessary information including the recipient and the amount. a blank check is basically given unlimited access to your account.
- Print the amount in a way that prevents scammers from adding to it or altering it.
- Get checkbook with carbon paper so you can automatically keep a record of every check you write.
- Always use the same signature for all your check and it has to be the same signature filed at your bank.
- Avoid writing a check payable to cash. It practically the same as a blank check.
- Write fewer checks. Use this method of moving money when it is absolutely necessary.
- When writing your check make sure nobody is recording. The goal is to avoid people imitating or forging your signature and your handwriting.
How to cancel a check
When you realized that a check was stolen or lost, there are some few steps you can take to ensure the check doesn’t get cashed by an unauthorized person.
- a. Call the bank to ask them to stop the payment immediately as soon as possible before the check is processed.
- b. Prepare the following information check number, amount, name of the beneficiary
- c. Make sure you send in within typically 14 days official paperwork either by mail or in-person to follow up with the verbal or electronic request. If no written confirmation is made within the legal time frame the stop payment will not be honored.
- d. Be prepared to pay cancellation fees normally around $30
- e. Close the account that has been comprised and reopen a new one to avoid unauthorized access to your account.
What to do if a stolen check has been cleared?
- If a stolen check goes through, you can still be able to eliminate charges by contacting your bank in a timely manner.
- Contact the recipient to inform the person or the organization about the incident and the necessary measures. Eventually, make arrangement to send a new check.
- The cancellation also applies to a cashier check as well in case of fraud.
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