Mar 4th, 2008
If you are new to check writing, then listen up. Though it’s not the most difficult thing in the world, safely writing a check is something that everyone needs to know before it is all said and done.
Use Ink, Never Lead
Writing a check with a pencil leaves you at a huge risk of fraud. Someone could erase what you have written and simply fill in the blanks with how much money they’d like to receive. To keep from handing out blank checks to people, use some sort of ink. Though most people would say that a pen is good enough, it is best to use a permanent marker if at all possible. This is important because there have been instances where people have engaged in “check washing”, a process where criminals use chemicals to remove ink from checks. If you go with permanent marker, this won’t happen to you.
Dating and Identifying
When you first look at the check, it might seem complicated. All of those blanks are easy to fill out once you have all of the information, though. The first step is to fill out the current date on the check. Make sure to correctly identify the date, as post-dating a check is actually illegal. Once you’ve done that, you should write the name of the person who will be receiving the check on the “pay to the order of” line. Be sure to include their complete name.
Filling in the Amount
The most important piece of information on the check is the amount of money it’s worth. You will have to input this information in two places. First, you must input this in the dollar amount line, which can be found just under the “pay to the order of” line. Write out the full amount, including any cents that are involved in the transaction. Filling out this portion of the check will help prevent against someone changing around the numbers that you input. Speaking of those numbers, you will have to input them into the amount box, which can be found on the right side of the check.
Signing the Check
When you are all done with the other parts of the check, it’s time to sign the check. It is very important that you sign the check with your standard signature, similar to the one that can be found on your driver’s license. If you don’t take great care to do this, then the bank could throw up red flags on your check and you could have to answer annoying questions about potential fraud. With the amount of check fraud and forgery going on today, banks are on the lookout for signatures that look suspicious or don’t match your normal signature. The final part of the check is the “info” section, which is optional. Most people like to write what the check is for just for their own bookkeeping ease. Generally, the more information you provide, the better off you will be.
Overall, writing a check isn’t a difficult thing. It isn’t something that should be taken lightly, though. Take great care to fill out each part of the check as carefully as possible, so that there won’t be any chance that your check is altered. This will save you a potential headache in the future.