Banking Category Banking: the easy, simple banking guide

How to fill out a check

Failing to properly fill out a check can have consequences ranging from difficulties in cashing the check to errors in your bank account. Follow these steps to quickly and accurately fill out a personal check.

Use non-erasable ink to fill out a check. Erasable ink or pencil marks can be erased and altered by unscrupulous individuals. This could result in money you did not intend to be transferred to the party being deducted from your checking account.

Complete the date. The payee on the check can't cash the check until the date indicated on the date line. It is important that the day, month and year be accurate.

Write in the payee. Legibly write the name of the payee on the line that states, "Pay to the order of." The payee is the person, business or organization you want to pay. For example, if you want to pay for your hair cut, you would write, "Suzie's Beauty Palace" on the line.

Enter the numerical amount of the check in box. Use dollars and cents, even if it is a round number, where the cents value is zero.

Write out the corresponding dollar amount on the line beneath the payee. This should exactly match the numerical amount in the box. Write the cents (even if they are zeros) as a fraction over 100. For example, a check in the amount of $140.17 would be written, "One hundred forty dollars and 17/100."

Sign your check. Use the version of your name printed on your check face. If it includes middle initials or prefixes, use them.

Add a memo in the memo field. If you are paying a bill, it is advisable to write your account number in the memo field. This field can also be helpful to you when reconciling your statement if you have forgotten what a payment was for.


  • Avoid post-dating checks. Many people and businesses will not accept checks written for a date in the future. Do not leave blank space on a check. If the amount you write on the line does not fill the entire space, draw a line after your entry to fill the remainder.