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All About Checks

How to Write a Check

How to Write a Check

In the digital world we live in, it is possible that you will never write a check. However, there may be some situations when a check is still the best payment method, such as when paying rent or a babysitter. If you have never written a check before, follow the example below.

Anatomy_of_check

  1. Date: Insert the date of the check. Post-dating a check will not prevent the check from being cashed before the date indicated.
  2. Pay to the Order of:  Write the name of the person or company you are paying.
  3. Amount: Write the amount of the check in numbers, such as $51.25.
  4. Dollars:  Write the amount of the check in words, such as Fifty-one and 25/100. Draw a line to the end of the field.
  5. Memo (optional): Record the purpose of the check, such as the account number or invoice number. 
  6. Signature Line:  Sign your name.

Avoiding Altered Checks

Avoiding Altered Checks

Writing a check is easy, but care must be taken to make sure your check cannot be easily altered for fraudulent purposes.

  • Use Ink: This may seem obvious, but it is important to use a permanent ink pen to ensure the payee or amount cannot be changed. Since most checks are now imaged for processing, use black or blue ink to ensure the best image. 
  • Avoid an Altered Amount:  When writing the amount on the check, start at the left edge of the space and keep your numbers close together. Draw a line to the end of the space. Do the same with the written amount. Keep numbers and words close together, so nothing can be inserted. If too much space is allowed, your $ 1 5 .0 0 check could easily be changed to $105.00.
  • Avoid an Altered Payee: Keep the letters close together and draw a line at the end of the payee's name. Checks made payable to a business are especially susceptible to payee alteration. Letters could be added to a company name to make it payable to an individual.
    For example:

         A T & T becomes A. T. & T. J. Smith
         The  Davis  Co. becomes Theo Davis Cook
  • Avoid Blank Payees:  When cashing a check, wait until you arrive at the bank to sign it. A signed blank check, or a signed check payable to "Cash,"can be cashed by anyone if you or the recipient loses the check before taking it to the bank.

Making a Deposit

Making a Deposit

Whether making a deposit in person, by mail, or at an ATM, it is important to complete a deposit slip properly.

Deposit_Slip

  • Date: Write the date you are making the deposit.
  • Cash:  If you are depositing cash, list the amount of cash in this section.
  • Checks:  If you are depositing checks, list each check individually.
  • Less Cash Received:  List any cash you are receiving back from the deposit.
  • Total Deposit:  Write the total of the deposit.
  • Name and Account #:  If you are not using pre-encoded deposit slips, print your name as it appears on your account and fill in your account number.

Endorsing a Check

Endorsing a Check

An endorsement is the signature and writing on the back of a check. In most cases, when endorsing a check, you simply sign your name on the line that says "ENDORSE CHECK HERE." However, there may be special situations that require additional words or signatures. Be careful not to write below the line that says, "DO NOT WRITE, STAMP, OR SIGN BELOW THIS LINE." This area is reserved for bank processing stamps.

Check_Endor_1

Once a check is endorsed, it can be cashed by anyone, so wait until you are at the bank to endorse a check made payable to you. When you are not physically present to receive a deposit receipt, such as when mailing a check to the bank or depositing it at an ATM, write "for deposit only" over your signature to make sure the check can be deposited only to your account.

Check_Endor_2

Two or More Payees
When a check has two or more payees, use the following table to determine how to endorse properly:

StyleExampleEndorsement
Using "or" between names Trey Little or Phoebe Little Either payee may sign
Using a "/" between names Trey Little / Phoebe Little Either payee may sign
Using no indicator between names Trey Little Phoebe Little Either payee may sign
Using "and" between names Trey Little and Phoebe Little All payees must sign

Endorsing a Check to Another Recipient
Occasionally,you may want to give a check payable to you to someone else. To endorse the check to another recipient, write "pay to the order of (recipient's name)" above your endorsement on the back of the check.

Check_Endor_3

Personal Endorsement Required
Insurance claim checks are frequently made payable to the insured,and the mortgage holder or lien holder, so make sure each payee personally endorses the check. If the mortgage holder or lien holder stamps the company name, an authorized representative must also personally sign the back of the check.

Check Payable to a Minor
If a minor does not have a bank account or driver's license, the parent or guardian may need to endorse the check under the minor's signature. If a child is too young to write, the parent or guardian should endorse the check as follows:

Check_Endor_4

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