Payments through personal checks are subsiding while payments through debit and credit cards and mobile payments are becoming popular.
However, checks remain a great way of money transfer. Whether you are awarding your colleague or paying rent, learning how to write a check with cents is crucial. It may be simple, but it needs one to have some necessary skills.
Here are simple steps on how to go about writing your check either with dollars and cents included or writing cents only.
Step 1: Format Dollar and Cents Amount
- The first step in formatting is filling in the amount section with the numeric amount. The amount box is located on the right side of the check below the dateline. With the currency symbol indicated on the left side. When writing on this box, using numbers, dollars, and cents have to be written differently, separated by a decimal point. For example, 35.50.
- If the cents are even in even dollars, include it still in the amount. You might be writing a check with no cents to be paid. In this case, you have to indicate the zero cents to be paid. For example, 35.00-you write the amount followed by two zeros.
- The next step is filling the textual amount. Below the “Pay to the Order of’ line, there is a line with currency written at the end. On the line, write the amount to be paid in words. The dollar amount in words while the cents write as a fraction out of 100. The reason being, a dollar has 100 cents. For example, if the dollar amount has 50 cents, write it as 45/100 dollars. While this is the basic rule in writing a check with cents, there is the basic format to write the amount on the line.
- Write the dollar and fractional cent amount: thirty-five dollars and 50/100
- After the fractional cent, you can draw continuous horizontal lines to fill out the line. This is to prevent anybody else from changing your amount or adding another amount.
- Hyphenate compound numbers. Never include a hyphen when writing two words—for example, thirty-five and not thirty-five.
- You should write the dollar amount of several thousand or millions in textual form. You can write the large dollar amount as; one million, three hundred thirty-five thousand, six hundred forty-five dollars and 00/100—
Step 2: Fill Out the Non-Monetary Fields
Here’s what to do when filling out the non-monetary fields of a check.
- The first field to fill is writing the date. The date box is on the top right-hand side of the check. Here, use the correct abbreviations for the date you are writing the check. In most countries, the abbreviations follow the order of month, date than the year.
- In other countries, they switch the date format to date, month, and year. You need to know the date format in your country before writing the check. Using the wrong format makes a big difference.
- If it is necessary, you can post-date the check. For many reasons, you may not want the check cashed on the same day or week. Another reason may be because you do not have the cash when writing the check, so you have to post-date it. This means the date you enter the check is a future one, and no cashing out until the intended date.
- Note that post-dating can be illegal when you intend to manipulate the dates to defraud the one with the check. It is also legal if you have a legitimate reason for post-dating the check.
- The next step is filling the “Pay to the Order of” line. This line is right above the textual amount line. In this line, you need to write the name of the company or person getting the check. It would be best if you used the full legal names of the person. Writing nicknames may cause problems when they go to the bank the check. Always ask whom the check should be made to, and they should give out the correct details of their full legal names.
- On the “Memo” line, include optional information and it’s located at the bottom left side of the check. This line is not a must fill and can remain empty unless you have additional information to give out.
- Most people use the memo line to fill the intention of the check. Either; happy birthday, fees, or for groceries. This is helpful as you remember what the check was for when you need accounts on later dates.
- You can use the memo line to give the receiver information to process and file the check. For example, if you are paying rent to your landlord, you can use this line to give your address as a reminder of the unit you are paying rent for. You can also use the memo line to include your customer account details if you are paying for utility bills.
- Lastly on the non-monetary field is signing the check. Across the memo line at the bottom right is the signature line. You have to sign the check with the same signature you gave out to the bank when you opened your bank account.
- In case you changed your signature, let the bank know about it. This is to avoid inconveniences when the person trying to cash the check gets into trouble or accused of sign forgery.
- Keep in mind of not signing a blank check. You may lose it in the process, and if it gets picked by anyone, they may write a large amount of cash on it, and if your sign is there, you will end up getting a significant loss of amount.
Things to Consider When Writing a Check in Cents
- When issued with a check, write down all the details on the check. The information may be useful later.
- Use the correct signature when signing a check. The bank uses bank records to check your signature on the check. The signature on the check should match the one on your bank account details.
- Do not alternate your check, and you can end up dishonoring it.
- Write full legal names of the person or company receiving the check. You should spell it correctly, check the names in detail before writing.
- Take note of the date to cash out the check. Keeping in mind, you can only cash out the check later or on the date stated.
- Do not leave large spaces when writing your check. This is to keep out fraud. After writing all your details in each line, draw straight horizontal lines on the remaining space.
Writing a check in cents is not a difficult task, but it needs one paying attention to details and following all steps in filling a check. Keep in mind that after writing your check, you cannot do any changes. Also, write your check with a pen to avoid anyone erasing it and writing their figures.
David Nilsen is the former editor of Fourth & Sycamore. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can find more of his writing on his website at davidnilsenwriter.com and follow him on Twitter as @NilsenDavid.