how to read a check

Writing a check is not a big deal but what happens when you receive one and you don’t know how to read a check? Now it makes sense to you, doesn’t it? Checks have been around for a while. Still, there are lots of things you must understand about the check you’ve received.

As a popular way of transaction, check gets most of our attention. This is the reason we are interested in talking about a check. As you know, a check is a combination of different parts that contains some information.

Without having the knowledge of reading a check, you can’t get the clarity for using it. To make your concept clear we briefly discussed it below.

What Is A Check And What Does It Mean?

If we say in a formal way, a check is a written order copy. Through this copy, one can instruct a concerned bank to pay a specific amount of money. It’s the simplest way to give an order to make a transaction and transfer the money.

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A check is also another way to carry the amount without having the cash in your pocket. Now you can understand why discussing is the only way to know how to read a check.

What Are The Most Basic Parts of A Check?

Before jumping into the deep, you can take a quick look at its important parts. Trust me, there are lots of things yet to discover. Let’s have it.

  • Personal information
  • Memo line
  • Date
  • Signature line
  • Bank name
  • Payee line
  • The dollar box
  • The amount of the check
  • The account number
  • Check number
  • Bank’s ABA routing number
  • Bank’s fractional number, etc

Now, it’s time to do more discussion about all these parts.

  • Personal Information

Take a check as a demo copy. First, you can find personal information about the owner of the check.  Look at the upper left-hand corner. You’ll see a name and an address. This is the person to whom the account belongs.

  • Payee Line

Every check has a specific instruction to pay a specific amount of money to a person or business. In the payee line, the name you’ll find. There is a text “Pay to the order of.” Make the concept clear, if this check is yours, then you are the payee.

  • The Dollar Box

Look to find a box in the check where you will find a $ sign inside a square-shaped box. In this box, the amount is written in numbers.

  • The Amount of the Check

The amount that is written in number also must be written in words. This line is located below the payee line. Remember, if the cents are included with the amount, then the cents must be written in words as well.

  • Memo Line

Memo lines are always good to keep the check on track. Here you can use a signal to identify the reason for using this check.

  • Date

There is a box for the date. It can be used for the written date of the check. Sometimes you’ll find a postdate that means it should be encased in a feature on this specific date.

  • Signature

This part is one of the most important parts of the check. Through a verified signature, the check is authorized by the owner of the bank account.

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Signature - how to read a check
Picture: Signature
  • Name of the Bank

This name is mentioned only for one reason. That is for further quarry. If you need to know about the check this bank will help you.

  • Bank’s ABA Routing Number

A routing number is a nine-digit unique number. In the bottom left corner, this number is located. This number indicates where the checking account was opened. But the few routing numbers are more than nine digits.

Here are more few important parts of the check that are also equally important to understand and these are.

  • Every check is associated with a specific account number that defines from which account the fund will be withdrawn. Most of the time, the number is located on the bottom of the check and it’s a printed number.
  • Every check has its own identity. That means there is something in this check that is only used to identify this specific check. Yes, we are talking about the check number. At the upper right corner of the check, you’ll find the check number.
Account Number
Picture: Account Number

Why Reading A Check Perfectly Is Important?

Reading a check successfully is treated as a skill for many people. Once you know how to read your check then it’ll be easier for you to read other types of checks like cashier’s checks or business checks. We found some reasons to learn to read a check and these are.

  • Check is the most common way of paying or receiving cash from a person or bank.
  • Lots of people still don’t know how to make a transaction digitally. So, they depend on issuing and receiving checks.
  • Using a check is so simple. It’s also more realistic than everything. So, people feel comfortable using checks.
  • Checks are a symbol of a secure transaction. If it’s lost or stolen from your wallet, it’s easy to recover the amount. It’s even easy to mail a check instead of sending cash.

The Bottom Line

From the above discussion, we found why and how to read a check. This step-by-step guideline is more than enough for one who is trying to read a check even for the first time. If you’re one of them, then now you know where to look for important information in a check. 

Without a manual, it’s hard to understand details about a check. But trust me, it’s simple once you know all the details like I’ve discussed earlier in this article. After reading this guideline, I hope to become a master at reading a check properly.

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