How to Write a Check

Read Time: 4 Min

Filling out a check for the first time or for the first time in a while? You might have questions, such as where to sign a check and how to write a check with cents. Check out our quick how-to.

someone writes a check

Step 1: Date the check

Write the date on the line at the top right-hand corner. This step is important so the bank and/or person you are giving the check to knows when you wrote it.

a personal check with an arrow pointing to the date

Step 2: Who is this check for?

The next line on the check, “Pay to the order of,” is where you write the name of the person or company you want to pay. You can also just write the word “cash” if you don’t know the person or organization’s exact name. Be aware, though, that this can be risky if the check ever gets lost or stolen. Anybody can cash or deposit a check made out to “cash."

a personal check with an arrow pointing to 'pay to the order of'

Step 3: Write the payment amount in numbers

There are two spots on a check where you write the amount you are paying. First, you’ll need to write the dollar amount numerically (for example $130.45) in the small box on the right. Be sure to write this clearly so the ATM and/or bank can accurately subtract this amount from your account.

a personal check with an arrow pointing to the payment amount number

Step 4: Write the payment amount in words

On the line below “Pay to the order of,” write out the dollar amount in words to match the numerical dollar amount you wrote in the box. For example, if you are paying $130.45, you will write “one hundred thirty and 45/100.” To write a check with cents, be sure to put the cents amount over 100. If the dollar amount is a round number, still include “and 00/100” for additional clarity. Writing the dollar amount in words is important for a bank to process a check as it confirms the correct payment total.

a personal check with an arrow pointing to the payment amount in words

Step 5: Write a memo

Filling out the line that says “Memo” is optional, but helpful for knowing why you wrote the check. If you are paying a check for a monthly electric bill or rent, you can write “Electric Bill” or “Monthly Rent” in the memo area. Often when you are paying a bill, the company will ask you to write your account number on the check in the memo area.

a personal check with an arrow pointing to the memo

Step 6: Sign the check

Sign your name on the line at the bottom right-hand corner using the signature you used when you opened the checking account. This shows the bank that you agree that you are paying the stated amount and to the correct payee.

a personal check with an arrow pointing to the signature

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How to balance a checkbook.

Every time you spend money or make a deposit, you should keep track of this in your checkbook's check register, which can be found with the checks you received from Huntington. Your check register is meant to be used for keeping track of your deposits and expenses. All transactions should be recorded, including checks, ATM withdrawals, debit card payments, and deposits.

Record your transactions.

  1. If you make a payment by check, you will record the check number, found in the top right corner of the check. This also helps you keep track of your checks, helping you ensure none of your checks are missing, and reminding you when you need to reorder checks.
  2. Be sure to make note of the date for your records. In the “Transaction” or “Description” column, describe where the payment was made or for what. Then write down the exact amount in either the withdrawal or deposit column depending on if you spent money or received it.
  3. Subtract the amount of any checks, withdrawals, payments and bank fees or add in deposits to the total amount in your account from the previous transaction.

Reconcile your bank statement each month.

When you receive your monthly bank statement, whether it comes in the mail or you view it online, take the time to balance your checking account. First, download our Balancing Worksheet. Then follow the directions to enter the information from your checkbook register and bank account statement as well as any unlisted deposits and outstanding checking/withdrawals. Once you are finished with the worksheet, if your adjusted checkbook and account balance match, your checking account is balanced!

If there are differences, take the time to check your math, see if there are outstanding checks that might not show on your statement yet, and double-check to ensure you didn’t miss a fee or transaction. If you believe there is an error on your bank statement, contact Huntington as soon as possible.

Balancing your checkbook may feel outdated with online banking, mobile banking, and budgeting technology. While your Online Banking history allows you to check your account balance and track your spending on a regular basis, there are still benefits to balancing your checkbook each month (or even each week).

For example, if you wrote someone a check and they haven’t cashed it yet, that amount won’t be listed in your online history, but it will be in your check register. Having accurate knowledge of payments you have made can help you avoid overdraft fees and returns. Additionally, keeping a second record of your transactions could help you spot potential instances of fraud.

All out of checks?

No problem! Easily order checks online from Huntington.

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