How To Write A Check: Step-By-Step Guide

Nobody wants to be bothered with carrying a lot of cash around because it usually isn’t necessary most of the time. Everyone is going cashless these days! For instance, if a purchase needs to be made, a credit or debit card is used; If a company wants to make payments, a check is written or a transfer is made.

Through the use of checks, bank transactions have been simplified and diversified thereby giving users a chance to choose their preferred mode of the transaction (transfer, card, check/cheque).

In this article, we’ll highlight the nitty-gritty details about a check, focusing on how to write it securely and giving you a step-by-step guide on the necessary components of the check.

What Is A Check?

A check is a legal document that authorizes a bank to pay money from your checking account to someone. When you open a checking account, your bank will provide you with blank checks known as starter checks or counter checks.

Unfortunately, most people prefer using the transfer and card method, therefore, neglecting the check. This is usually because a lot of users are not familiar with the process of how to write a check. Also, it seems that people are not too convinced about how secure issuing a check is.

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What Is The Safest Way To Write A Check?

To safely write a check, these steps need to be followed:

  • Ensure that a black ink pen is used
  • Keep the amount tightly written (minimize the space between the figures)
  • Draw a line after writing the amount (to strike out the remaining space)
  • Make sure a “VOID” is written on a canceled check before shredding it
  • Never include personal information on a check

How Do You Write A Check For Blank Checks?

A blank check is a check that has been authorized (signed) by the owner of the check before the other information (date, payee, and amount) is imputed.

An example of this is when a company issues out a check to a trusted person before maybe a 4-day weekend. This would give the said trusted person the opportunity to input the necessary information when needed.

To write a blank check, all that is needed is the authorized signature so that the recipient can cash the check after filling out the other details.

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Can I Write A Check Online?

An electronic check or rather an eCheck is a mode of payment that was created for customers that do not want to be bothered with the hassle of a written check (going out to mail or cash the check). It can be filled out and sent off online, which in essence can be referred to as an online check.

Because the world is a bit more technologically inclined now more than ever, it has become necessary to have all modes of transaction available online. To issue out an online check or eCheck all that is needed is the customer’s account number and the bank’s routing number.

For an eCheck to be securely filed out, here’s what needs to be done:

  • Fill in the fields listed with specific information requested by the payment platform
  • Add the name on the bank account and bank name (if you’re using an external platform)
  • Add the intended amount that needs to be paid
  • Indicate the date that you want the check posted
  • Enter your bank’s routing code and your account number

NOTE: The information requested may differ based on the payment platform chosen by the customer. However, the bank’s routing code is necessary to have in all transactions.

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The 5 Key Components Of A Check (plus a bonus)

There are 5 important parts of a check that need to be written to prevent the check from bouncing. This means that if the check is not properly written or if there are errors on the check, it would be returned to the check issuer.

The date

Depending on when you want the check cashed, it is of utmost importance that the date is written on the check. The section for the date is usually in the top right-hand corner of the check. If you do not want your check cashed immediately, you can post-date a check to ensure that it will be cashed days after the check is initially sent in.

The recipient’s name

Writing the recipient’s name on the check will prevent it from getting into the wrong hands. Remember, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry.

The amount in numbers

Indicate the amount that you want to pay in figures. 

The amount in words

In case there’s an error somewhere (avoid making errors) the amount in words is to emphasize the desired amount that you want to pay.

The signature

Without an authorized signature, the check is as good as useless. Ensure that you’re signature is the last thing put on the check just in case errors were made in the process of writing the check.

BONUS: The memo

This is just to indicate the purpose of the check. In the memo slot, you can write if the check is for a bill or an event, whatever it may be. Just ensure that it is short and to the point (2-3 words).

Best Way To Write A Check: Step-by-step guide

Let’s talk you through the process of writing a check. Get out your checkbook and a pen (preferably black) and let’s get to it.

  1. Once you have your check in front of you, you need to write the DATE. This would ensure that you and the recipient have an accurate record of the transaction.
  2. Next, on the line that says pay to the order of, that is where you indicate the PAYEE/RECIPIENT. If you’re writing the check out to an organization, then you would need to write the name of the organization. However, if the check is to be received by an individual, you would need to indicate the person’s full name. Make sure that the information is accurate else the payee will not be allowed to cash the check.
  3. After that, you would need to write the AMOUNT IN FIGURES. You’re usually given a small box to write the figures in. When writing this, make sure you start the number at the edge of the box and keep the figures tightly written to avoid alteration. Strikethrough the extra space if there is any.
  4. Then you can go ahead to write the AMOUNT IN WORDS. This will serve as the official amount of your payment. If there should be any error in the figures, the words will be taken as the legal amount. Make sure that it is written in CAPITAL LETTERS and also strike through the remaining space to avoid alteration.
  5. It’s finally time to SIGN your check. Ensure that your signature is done legibly. Remember that this is very vital as a check can be rendered void without its authorized signature.
  6. There should be a memo section or ’FOR’ section where you can indicate the purpose of the check. This is optional and totally up to you. For accurate records, however, i is recommended to fill it out as well.

NOTE: Most checks take about two business days to go through, so ensure that the use of the check is not an urgent one.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take a bank to verify a check?

It takes a bank a minimum of two working days to verify a check. However, if a check were to be cashed, it can be done in a couple of minutes.

What do you do if you write the wrong amount on a check?

If you make a mistake when writing a check, it’s usually best to just void it and start over. If this isn’t an option or your error is fixable, draw a neat line through it and write the correction directly above it. To help authenticate your correction, initial it.

Who can legally cash a check?

The only person who can legally cash a check is the recipient of the check.

How long is a blank check valid?

Because there is no date written on a blank check, it will remain valid until it has a date on it.

How do I know a check is real?

Most checks have a perforated or rough edge so if all edges are smooth, then there is a high chance the check is fake. Also, a fake check does not have a bank logo or it has a faded bank logo.


Even though checks are going a bit out of style, knowing how to write one properly is highly beneficial. This is especially so when it comes to payment of bills and issuing of checks to organizations. Hopefully, this has been able to help you learn how to write a check the proper way.


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