Today, we are going to start with one of the basics of being an adult: how to write a check. In today’s electronic age, you seem to be able to do everything with the swipe of a credit card. However, if you rent an apartment like I do, there is a good chance you will have to write a check. Checks are a bit ironic: you have buy checks in order to spend your own money. But I digress, here is a tutorial:
**Note that the visual diagram above is numbered. Follow along in the directions below:
- Today’s Date: You can write this however you want: April 1st or 4/1. Don’t write a future or past date, or you could potentially run into legal issues.
- Pay To The Order Of: This is who will be cashing in the check and “taking” your money. Spelling does count, so try to make an effort with spelling names. If you don’t know what you should write [example, you’re at your doctor’s office and you’re not sure whether to put Dr. Smith or Smith and Associates] ask! Say something like, “Who should I make this check out to?” Tip: NEVER write this out to “cash.” If your check gets lost somehow, then anyone can cash the check.
- Amount in Numeric Format aka Use Your Numbers: Write out the amount in numeric form, using dollars and cents if applicable. Example: $36.45.
- Amount Using Words: If we use our example of $36.45, we would write out “Thirty six dollars and forty five cents” or “thirty six dollars and 45/100/” Make sure that fields 3 and 4 match or your check can’t be cashed.
- Memo: This is for your notes regarding why you wrote the check. For example, “June rent.” I’ve used this once or twice to show my landlord I paid rent for the month.
- Sign your name: Signing your name makes this legally binding.
Next steps: Give the check to the appropriate person/entity. Depending on when they cash the check, which can range from a few days to maybe a few weeks, the money will come out of your checking account. Remember to keep that money set aside in your account until the amount is taken out to avoid any banking fees.