Parts of a personal check

The anatomy of a check

When opening a checking account and learning to write personal checks, it is important to recognize and know how to fill out the various parts of a personal check. Though checks may vary in style and design, the following items should appear on your checks.
check diagram
1. Your name and address should be printed correctly on the upper left hand corner of the check. You can choose if you would like to include any more items here. Any co-owners of the account will also be listed here. Personalization information is useful in identifying you, and will need to match the information listed on your identification card or driver’s license. To protect against identity fraud keep your personal information to a minumum. It is now not recommended to put any more personal information than your name and address in the personalization area at the upper left of the check.

2. There should be a line for the date in the upper right hand corner. The date should include the month, the date, and the year. Each should be correct, and should correlate to the day you are writing the check.

3. Right below your name and address, there will appear a phrase “Pay to the Order of” and a long line. This phrase means “this money is going to”. On the line, you write the name of the company or person you are paying. If you are writing a check to a person, you should write their full name, first and last, and should not use nicknames. This person or company will use your check to receive money from your bank.

4.The box to the right of the "pay to order" line is for the amount in numbers.

5. Below the line you wrote the company or person’s name you were paying, there will appear another long line. On this line you should write out, in words, the amount you are paying the person. Writing out the dollar amount ensures there is no confusion about how much money should be taken from your account and given to the person you are paying. Next to the line will appear a box, where you should write the numbers for the amount you are paying. The banker or cashier will check that the amount you have written corresponds to the numbers you wrote in the box.

6.Under the amount line will be the name and address of your bank, followed by two more lines, side by side.

7. The left line will be where you can indicate what the check is for. If you are paying utilities, giving a loan, or buying items, you can write on this line how you used the money you wrote the check for. This can aid is record keeping.

8.The line on the right is where you should sign your name. A check is not valid if you have not signed your name, is cursive.

9. On the very bottom of the check, there will be a series of printed numbers. These numbers are the routing numbers[10], account numbers[11] and the check number[12]. They are printed on your check to ensure the check is processed and makes it back to your bank. The person you wrote your check to may not live in your state, or may not bank at your bank. The routing numbers ensure that, no matter what bank they cash your check at, it will end up at your bank for processing. These numbers make up the MICR line. The check number is repeated towards the top right of the check, as is the routing number, in a modified format.

Knowing the parts of a personal check can make writing a check easier to understand. No matter what color or designs you choose for your background, these six parts will make your check writing a success every time.

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