In today’s world of digital payments, you may think knowing how to write a check is an obsolete skill. However, many people still write checks for personal and commercial uses. One day, you may need to do so, too. The good news is that writing a check is easy. All you really need is a little practice.
Table of contents
- What Are the Benefits of Knowing How To Write a Check?
- Who Still Accepts a check?
- When Should You Write A Check?
- Examples of Writing a Check
- Steps for How To Write a Check
- Quick Questions
What Are the Benefits of Knowing How To Write a Check?
Some people may argue that acquiring a new skill holds value in itself, but are there any practical reasons to learn how to fill out a check? There are a few that are still applicable today.
Anyone can cash a check made out to them. This makes it possible to easily pay even people who are unbanked. CNBC estimates that 25% of U.S. households are underbanked or unbanked.
Checks can serve as receipts for payments, especially if you keep copies or scan them. You can use checks to track what you have spent money on, how much you spent and who you paid.
People who feel vulnerable online may prefer checks. This is because fraudsters have a much more difficult time stealing the information or cashing checks made out to someone else.
Who Still Accepts a check?
Unfortunately, many companies no longer accept checks from customers. Even so, the following people are more likely to use checks.
Elderly people are the most likely to write checks. Some still use them even for small payments, such as meals at a restaurant.
Surprisingly, 42% of millennials still use checks. This may stem from the generation’s strong participation in the gig economy.
As recently as 2016, the Washington Post estimated that 97% of small businesses used paper checks to make payments. Many larger companies still issue paper checks, as well.
When Should You Write A Check?
Checks can be used to pay any organization or individual willing to accept them. Still, there are some situations that are more appropriate for using checks than others.
When Making Large Payments
If you want to make a cash deposit on an item but prefer not to walk around with the cash on your person, use a check. Note that some businesses may prefer cashier’s checks for big purchases.
When Mailing Payments
When someone is unbanked or underbanked but lives in a different area, you may have no choice but to mail payments. Mailing cash is risky, but mailing checks are safer because only the intended recipient can cash them.
For Personalizing Notes
Many people view checks as serious bank documents with strict rules. There is some truth to this, but you can still personalize them. U.S. News notes that people may even use the memo field to write jokes. Just bear in mind that the bank keeps a copy on file when cashed.
For Paying Taxes
If you are a freelancer or business owner who pays estimated quarterly taxes, you can mail in your payments as checks. Individuals may also mail checks to cover tax liabilities during tax season.
Examples of Writing a Check
Still not sure when writing a check might make sense in a digital world? Check out these examples for guidance:
Example 1: Jenny visits a car dealership to test drive a vehicle just for fun. She believes it is out of her price range, but the salesperson offers a discount if she takes the car off the lot that day. It is late evening, and banks are closed. Jenny has excellent credit, so the salesperson accepts her trade-in vehicle and a personal check for $5,000 as a down payment.
Example 2: Ben is a small business owner with exceptional sales skills but limited time to fulfill client orders. He pitches his landscaping skills to residents of 55-plus communities who are no longer agile enough to tend to their gardens alone. Every week, five other contractors help him finish the work. Every Friday evening, he reconciles the accounts and mails off their check payments.
Steps for How To Write a Check
When writing a check, it’s a good idea to start by finding a completed example. The bank that issued your checkbook may also provide instructions. After checking these sources, follow the steps below to fill in the gaps:
- Verify the name of the payee and write this in the line that says Pay to the Order Of.
- Write the date in the slot provided, usually at the top righthand corner.
- Write out the dollar value in words in the lines below the payee’s name.
- Write out the dollar value in numbers.
- Add a note in the For or Memo line to say what the check is for.
- Sign the check.
- If you are using the check to pay for taxes, your accountant may recommend including your SSN or the business’s EIN.
- Record the check details in the check register provided with your checkbook.
The Charles Schwab checking account presents a combination of features that may not suit every banking need. While its 0.03% APY is modest, it stands out by eliminating minimums and service fees, in addition to offering global ATM fee reimbursement. The mobile app is user-friendly and includes security features for travelers, such as card locking and transaction notifications. Customer reviews are mixed, with positive assessments from finance blogs but less favorable feedback from some users who faced verification and overseas usage issues.
For existing Charles Schwab investors, this checking account could be beneficial, particularly if you intend to capitalize on the expected 10% ROI from stock market investments. However, those in search of a primary checking account or more competitive options may find better alternatives at banks like Ally and Capital One.
The checks you write are called personal checks. Cashier’s checks are written by and backed by the bank, at your request.
You can use any method to record details about the checks you wrote. This may include a notebook, Google spreadsheet or relevant app.
When writing out the worded figures, write them in large letters and then draw a line through the empty space remaining. Follow a similar premise for numerical values. Also, never give someone a signed blank check.
Now that you know how to write a check, you may want to explore the pros and cons of other payment options. Find this information and more on our blog.