1. Check number.
2. Date the check is written. Write out the month, date, and year as shown above.
3. Pay to the order of: this is where you write the name of the person, company, or business that you are paying.
4. Write the amount of the check in words, as shown above. This is very important; the check may be returned if not written correctly.
5. The amount of the check written in numbers. The amount must match the written words on line #4.
6. This line is the “memo” line where you can write what the check is for, examples: rent, tuition bill, textbooks.
7. Bank routing number.
8. Your checking account number.
9. Your signature.
How To Write A Check
To write a check, you have to fill out a few fields as follow:
- Date: This is the date that you actually write the check. It is possible to post-date a check and write it for a future date.
- Pay to the Order of: On this top line, write the name of the recipient or company.
- A box with an “$” in front: In this box, write the amount you want to give to the recipient (person or company). Use numbers like 49.00.
- On the blank line that ends with the word DOLLARS, write out the amount you want to pay the person or company. Here, however, you write long hand — i.e., “forty-nine dollars,” instead of $49.00. To be sure someone doesn’t add anything else, you can draw a straight line until you get to the word ‘DOLLARS’. If your amount ends in zero, you can just write xx/100 or 00/100. If it ends with some pennies, then write the number of pennies over 100. For example, 47 cents would be 47/100.
- For (or Memo): This is a memo for either yourself or the person/company. If you are paying a bill, always include an account number, invoice number, or something to identify this check with your bill.
- The blank line on the bottom right is where you write your signature. The person who signs the check must be an account owner.
How To Enter Transactions Into The Checkbook Register
When you start writing checks on your checking account, it is important that you keep an updated checkbook register. If you don’t, you might overdraw your account and be forced to pay fees to your bank. Some banks will charge outrageous fees for this type of error, so add your numbers carefully.
Anytime you write a check or make any type of withdrawal from the account or make a deposit, you must write that down in your checkbook register. Maintaining your checkbook register will require some discipline, but you cannot organize your finances if you do not keep good records.
Image from Somerset Trust: Your Checkbook Register
- Check Number: Include the check number or transition type (ATM, cash, etc) in the first column. Typical transaction type codes: Deposit: D, ATM Withdrawal: ATM, Check/Debit Card: CC, Electronic Payment: ET, Automatic Deposit: AD, Tax Deductible: T, Other: O.
- Date: date of the transaction
- Description of Transaction: This is just a note to help you identify the charge.
- Payment/Debit: If you took money out of the account, write the total here.
- Fees: If the charge was the result of some type of bank fee, just put a checkmark in this box. If your bank starts adding too many fees, you may need to change banks.
- Deposit/Credit: If you put money into the account, the total deposit amount goes in this space.
- Balance: Using the balance from the line above, add your most recent deposit or subtract your most recent withdrawal.
Your goal is to maintain a positive balance above required minimum balance so that you don’t bounce your check and avoid account maintenance fee.