1. Example of a Filled Out Check

Example of how to write a check with the Date, Recipient, Amount, and Signature Completed

  1. Date Fill in the date on the blank line at the top right corner of the check. The month/day/year format is standard in the United States.
  2. Recipient’s Name Write the name of the recipient on the blank line after the phrase “Pay to the Order Of.” This can be an individual, organization or business – whoever the check is going to. For an individual, be sure to include the first and last name. For an organization or business, use its full name. 
  3. Amount (Numerical Form) In the box to the right of the recipient’s name, fill in the amount in dollars and cents. If you are paying seven hundred dollars and fifty cents, you would write “$700.50."
  4. Amount (Expanded Word Form) The amount should also be written in expanded word form on the blank line below the recipient’s name. Cents, however, should be written in fraction form. So for the example listed above, you would write “Seven hundred and 50/100.” If the amount does not include cents, you would write “Seven hundred dollars and 00/100.”
  5. The Memo (Optional) Writing in the “Memo” field is not required. However, including a brief statement can be a useful reminder if you need to refer to the check at a later date. The description could be as simple as “utility bill,” “rent” or “mortgage.”
  6. Signature  Sign your name on the line at the bottom right corner of the check. Your signature is mandatory - otherwise the recipient won’t be able to cash it.

2. Routing Numbers, Account Numbers, and Check Numbers

The numbers listed at the bottom of the check represent the following:

Routing Transit Number The first sequence of numbers represents your financial institution’s routing transit number. This code identifies your bank, allowing the check to be directed to the right place for processing. 

Account Number The second sequence of numbers is your unique account number. It was assigned at the bank when you opened the account.

Check Number The last sequence of numbers is the check number. It is also featured at the top of the check, beneath the date.

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.