Embrace (FI) - Financial Independence

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5 Mins Reading Time

I’m dating myself by saying this but when I was growing up, people wrote checks for everything. And then we put them in the mail to make mortgage/rent payments, etc.… The world has changed a great deal since my youth.

Now, we are a largely checkless and cashless society that pays for goods and services electronically. However, there are still occasions where one must be able to write a check. And that is presumably what brought you here today.


Instances where you may have to write a check include but certainly are not limited to a down payment on a car or house or at a place business that does not accept credit cards. I try to keep a check in my wallet for just such an instance, seeing as how I rarely carry cash.


Making out a check is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. I typically start at the top and work my way to the bottom. Below, I will outline the six-step process of writing a check with a visual aid for reference.

Step One: You must date your check. It’s advisable to include the month, day, and year. As you can see in the example below, the check is dated 1/1/2020. You may future date a check but the recipient is still legally able to cash your check prior to the date you put on it.


Step Two: The next order of busines is naming the recipient of the check in the ‘pay to the order of’ field. This could be your mortgage lender or the name of the busines to whom the check is addressed. In my example, the check is made out to Jane Doe.


Step Three: To the right of the name field, you will need to fill in the dollar value numerically. In this example, the check was drawn for $1,000. As you can see, I have put a line after the dollar amount to prevent Jane or anyone else from adding zeros or otherwise changing the amount for which the check was written.

Step Four: Below the name of the recipient and the numeric value of the check, you will need to spell out the amount in dollars and cents. For the purpose of check writing, cents are written as 100s. Below, the check is written as one thousand dollars and zero one-hundreds. If the check were for $10.50, I would fill this line in as ten dollars and fifty one-hundreds Like before, I have drawn a line after the amount to prevent tampering.


Step Five: ‘Memo’ is the only optional field when writing a check. You can input the reason you are writing the check in this area if you choose. In my fictitious example, I have indicated that the check is for payment to Jane Doe. If you were making a down payment on a car or home, the ‘memo’ field would be a good place to indicate that.


Step Six: The sixth and final step is to sign your check. As you can see, I’ve signed mine John Doe. Once you’ve added your signature, your check is ready to be handed over to the recipient.

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