How to Write a Check (6 Simple Steps)

You may not have a lot of experience with writing checks, or maybe you don’t even own checks. This is likely because checks are not used super often anymore, with the rise of apps like Venmo and Apple Pay.

But they are still important and have their place, especially if you need to sign over a large amount of money for something, like rent or a car repair.

You should be prepared for these situations by knowing how to write a check. Read on for the six easy steps!

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What is the Correct Way to Write a Check?

First of all, if you do not have any checks, be sure to purchase some from a reputable online store. Even if you do not use them very often, they are invaluable to have around when you need them.

Here’s how you can write a check quickly and easily. 

1. Put the date on the check.

This is essential and is the first thing you should do when writing a check. Write today’s date on the check, so it is evident to others when you wrote it.

You can use the typical month, day, year pattern for this.

2. Fill in the “pay to the order of” – Who are you writing the check to?

On the check, you will see a blank space titled, “pay to the order of.” This is the place for the name of the person you are writing the check to.

Make sure to get the name or business correct, so they can cash the check without any problems. Clearly print the name in this place.

3. Write the payment in numbers.

Next to “pay to the order of,” you’ll see a blank space with a dollar sign. This is the spot to write out the payment in numbers. Use only digits for this, and print clearly.

4. Write the amount in words.

Under the “pay to the order of” is another blank space, followed by the word “dollars.” Here you will write out the payment again, but this time using words rather than numbers.

Just write it out exactly as you would say it. You also need to add the number of cents. You can do this by writing the dollar amount and then, “and (cents)/100.

For example, you could write, “Fifty-five dollars and 27/100.” For $55.27. 

5. Write yourself a memo.

At the bottom of the check, there is a memo space. This is a place where you can write a note to yourself about what the check was for.

Since you keep a copy when you give one to someone, it’s a good way to keep your records organized. Your memo might say something like “car payment” or “ haircut.” 

6. Put your signature on the check.

Your check needs a signature to be complete. You’ll find the signature line is usually on the bottom right of the check. Make sure to sign it before giving it to the person you are paying money to.

graphic of a check with labels showing how to write a check so you don't mess it up

How to Write Numbers in Words on a Check

Writing out numbers on a check is pretty straightforward. The simplest method is to write the words the way you would say the number.

For example, $345.32 would be “ Three hundred forty-five and 32/100.” You may not need to add the word dollars because that will already be included on the check.

How Do You Write $1000 on a Check?

To do this, write “$1000.00 in the amount box for numbers. And then write out “One thousand and 00/100” for the written part of the check.

How Do You Write $2000 on a Check?

This is the same way that you’d write a check for any other number, including the ones mentioned earlier. Simply write “$2000.00 in the amount box. Then spell out “Two thousand and 00/100” for the written number section.

How to Write a Check with Cents?

Sometimes you won’t be writing a check for an even amount. Fortunately, writing a check with cents is easy.

Just include it as you would any other number. In the amount box, write the cents as normal.

For example, “156.68”. Then, write out the number by using a fraction for the cents. “One hundred fifty-six and 68/100”. 

When You Might Need to Write a Check

Writing a check is not that common for everyday purchases. When you stop by the store for groceries or gas, you should stick with cards and cash.

This will be the most convenient method of payment. Checks are not an instant process, so most people save them for paying larger amounts less frequently. 

Times where a check might be necessary include paying rent (depending on your landlord). You might also use it to pay for something like school tuition, a home repair, or if you need to pay someone for some reason.

They are helpful, and it’s good to have some checks just in case a situation comes up where you need to write one.

Where to Store Checks

Store your checks somewhere secure, but also somewhere you can easily access them if needed. You may choose to keep them in a home office, or many people like to keep them with their financial papers or in a wallet. That way, you have your checks with you if you need to write one during the day.

Knowing How to Write a Check Properly is Important

It’s essential to know how to write a check. There are some situations where a check is a better form of payment, so everyone should know how to correctly write one out.

It is not complicated, and you can quickly learn how to do this. If you feel you miswrote the check, you can always void and rewrite if you need to.

Checks can provide more security for your money, and they make it easy to pay someone if you don’t have another way to do so. 

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Steffa Mantilla

Certified Financial Education Instructor

Steffa is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and the founder behind Money Tamer. Her 12-year background in operant conditioning and positive behavioral change training is used to help people find effective motivators to change their harmful money behaviors. Steffa explains the reasons “why” behind people’s financial behaviors and how to successfully change them. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. You can learn more about her here.

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