How To Read A Check You know checks, right? You still write them? I know I do. Not a lot, but they do come in handy. Checks are nothing new. But even though checks have been around for a long time, they can be confusing. There are a lot of spaces and numbers and more numbers on checks. What do they all mean? What do they stand for? Let’s take a look at how to read a check and find out all this stuff for ourselves.

Learning How To Read Everything On a Check

Do you have your checkbook handy? If you don’t, you can find out more about checkbooks and checks for business and personal by clicking here. If you do, get it out and open it up. If you don’t have a check nearby, find a check image online and look at it. Too much trouble you say? Alright, I give in. Take a look at the image of a check I have toward the top.

See where it says, “Bank Name”? That is wrong. Normally, your personal information is printed there. It will have your name, your address, and usually your phone number. If it is a check issued by a business, then that business’ information will be in that space.

Pay To The Order Of: This line is known as the “payee line”. Usually, the name of a person or business goes here. Sometimes the check will be made payable to “Cash”. If it is, don’t lose it because whoever has it could then cash it.

Check Number: See those numbers in the upper right-hand corner of the check? Those are simply the number of the check. Sometimes they are on the bottom of the check too. They’ll be to the right of the account number.

Date Space: This one is self-explanatory. Usually, the date the check was written is filled in hear. Sometimes the check writer will put a date in the future there. That is called “post-dating”. If you see a future date on the check, it is a good idea to find out why they did that.

The Dollar Box: In here is the amount of the check written using numbers.

The Dollars Line: This is where the amount of the check is written out mostly in words. (The cents part is usually written in numbers) If the amount in the Dollar Box is different than what is in this space, the written out amount is what matters. The written amount is the official amount.

The Signature Line: That’s where the check writer signs the check. If you are given a check, make sure it is signed or you’ll have problems depositing the check.

The Memo Line: This is sometimes filled in by the check writer. It is simply a space to note what the check was for.

What’s With All Those Numbers On The Bottom?The Numbers on The Bottom of Your Check

The numbers on the bottom always confused me. I was never sure what they were. I thought they had something to do with the checking account number. I was never sure how to read those numbers on a check.

The first time I ever had anything direct deposited was when I got acquainted with those numbers.

Routing Number: Formally known as the ABA routing number or just the routing number. This long string of numbers to the left of the shorter string of numbers has a specific purpose. It is a numeric address of the bank of the check writer. The numbers are for a computer to “read”.

Account Number: This set of numbers, to the right of the routing number, identifies the account the check is “drawn from”. It is the unique number of the account from which the funds will be withdrawn.

I think with all the information I supplied above, that you are now an expert on how to read checks.

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Shield Yourself Now

John “Big John” Johnson is a serial fun seeker, a lover of craft beer, and enjoys all things adult beverage related. A dedicated online marketer and SEO, he has been described as “Peter Pan with German Work Ethic”. John is also a sleight of hand magician with serious chops, enjoys riding Harleys, practicing martial arts and travel.

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