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A short Guide for writing a Check

Although with the advent of ATMs, credit cards, and ultimately online money transfers, the age of the check is considered over, the skill of writing a check is still a very useful skill to have. Especially when you find yourself in a third-world country without electricity and large amounts of cash.

Before you begin writing your check, always keep in mind to use an ink-based pen whenever possible. In worst cases NEVER write a check with a pencil, as doing this means you’re just plainly asking your check to be forged. Pens with depleted and fading ink are also unadvisable, and the best instrument to write your check is a marker pen or a gel pen, as they ensure a greater ink absorbency to the paper.

The step-by-step of writing/filling in the check are:

  1. Fill in the “date” section by using the date the check is being written, or a future date for a post-dated check. You can use any format, as long as it is legible. Many used are the “long” format (February 24, 2008), and the “short” format (2/24/08). Note that not all countries write the month before the day, which may mix-up a date where the day is below 13, when written in short format (e.g 2/4/2008 can either mean February the 4th, or April the 2nd).
  2. Write the name of the person or company the check is written for in the “Pay to the order” section. Always double-check unfamiliar names for spelling.
  3. In the space with the Dollar sign ($), write the numerical amount of the check. Write it as close together and to the dollar sign as possible, to prevent forgers from inserting an extra digit.
  4. Proceed into writing the worded amount of the check in the “dollar amount” line (this is usually a very long section with the word “DOLLARS” at the end.). Write cents in a fraction of a hundredth form, and draw a line from the end of your writing towards the “DOLLARS”, to prevent anyone adding in more amount (a written amount for a $25.60 check should read, “twenty five and 60/100——————DOLLARS”)
  5. Sign the check on the “signature” section.

After you handle the check to the recipient, don’t forget to deduct the amount of the check from your account balance. Do this as immediately as possible, as this, from many things, may help prevent bounced checks in the future. Do this with your bank as well.

When the check you have written turns out to be voided or unused after all, destroy it so no one can use the MICRE code to counterfeit.