Everything You Need to Know About Checks

Whether you’ve never written a check or you just need a refresher, learn basic tips for how to write and void and check.

Filling out a check illustration

While it might seem like debit cards, online banking, and banking apps are the only way to manage your money these days, paper checks are still important for your personal finances. You might need to write a check to pay for something or void a check for different reasons.

To understand checks, it’s important to know what the different numbers mean, such as the check number, routing number, and account number. These numbers are necessary for automatic payments, like receiving your paycheck or paying bills. If you want to use direct deposit for your salary, you’ll need to provide these numbers to your employer.

What to know about checks

How to Fill Out a Check

Step 1: Fill in the Date

In the top right corner of the check, you’ll find a line for the date. Simply fill in the month, day, and year to indicate the date you are writing the check.

Step 2: Fill in the Payee

On the “Pay to the Order of” line, write the name of the person or business that will receive the payment. Use their first and last name if it’s an individual or use the actual name of the business.

Step 3: Fill in the Payment Amount

Next to the payee line, you’ll see a box where you should write the payment amount in numbers. For instance, you could write “$100.50”.

Step 4: Write the Payment Amount in Words

Below the payee line, write out the payment amount in words. If your amount includes cents, write the number of cents over 100. For instance, if your check amount is $100.50, you’d write “one-hundred dollars and 50/100”. Remember to draw a line at the end of the amount to prevent anyone from adding extra words.

Step 5: Sign the Check

In the bottom right corner, you’ll find a space for your signature. Make sure your signature on the check matches your signature in other places, like your driver’s license. A check without a signature is invalid and won’t be accepted.

Step 6: Fill in the Memo (optional)

In the bottom left corner, you’ll see a line called the “memo line,” which is not required. You can use it to write a note to yourself, such as “coffee” or “rent,” so you can remember the purpose of the check in the future.

Voided Check

A “voided” check is one that cannot be used to pay for anything. You might be asked to void a check and submit it with some paperwork to set up direct deposit so your paycheck can be deposited directly into your account. If you make a mistake when filling out a check, you may need to void it.

To void a check, write the word “VOID” over the area where you usually fill in the payment information. Be careful to not write over the bank numbers at the bottom of the check, as they are important.

voided check image

Endorsing a Check

If you receive a check, you might wonder how to deposit it or cash it. The first step is to endorse the check. To endorse it, flip it over and sign your name on the top of the short end of the check.

Keep in mind that once you endorse the check, anyone who has it can deposit or cash it. You can take the check to a bank teller, use an ATM machine, or use your bank’s mobile check deposit if available. You’ll need to tell the bank which account to deposit the funds into, or if you prefer to get cash.

how to endorse a check

Check FAQ’s

• What if I make a mistake when writing a check?

If you make a small mistake while writing a check, simply cross it out with a line and continue filling out the check. If you can’t easily correct the mistake, void the check and write a new one.

• Can I name myself as a payee?

You can write your own name on the check and use it to transfer money between your bank accounts.

• What does postdating a check mean?

Postdating a check means writing a future date on the date line. This is useful if you want to send a check now but don’t want it cashed for a few days because you may not have enough money in your account yet. It’s okay to postdate a check, but remember that the recipient can’t deposit it until the date written on the check.

• Is it important to keep track of the checks I have written?

It’s important to keep a record of each check you write. You may have received a check register with your checks, or you can track them electronically using your bank’s online banking or mobile app. This will help you keep track of where your money went, when and for what purpose. It can also help you stick to your budget and make wise spending decisions.

The information provided in these articles is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as the opinion of Central Bancompany, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and does not imply endorsement or support of any of the mentioned information, products, services, or providers. All information presented is without any representation, guaranty, or warranty regarding the accuracy, relevance, or completeness of the information.