This is an important post for me. Not only is it my first one, but this topic is part of what sparked my passion for Financial Literacy.
I distinctly remember in the 6th grade, my teacher brought in an overhead image of a blank check, much like the one pictured below, and taught us how to properly fill it out. We each got our own copy of the check so that we could practice by ourselves. At the time, my parents had already opened a checking account for me – I remember writing out the check for my calculator at the beginning of 6th grade.
Thinking back on these experiences now, I wonder how much of a money education kids are getting in school. I don’t think money basics like this are taught in class, leaving it up to parents to educate their kids about money. However, what if the parents don’t feel as though they know enough or they were never taught about money – how can they be expected to teach their kids something they’re not sure about?!
Then came my thought – I love finances, taking care of my money, and watching it grow. I love learning new savings techniques and talking to people about money.
I even enjoy paying my bills!
With this blog, I am endeavoring to share my passion for learning about money with everyone. So here we go, my version of Anatomy of a Check:
When filling out a check, all you need to do is write:
1) Today’s date
2) The person or company to whom you wish to give the funds
3) The amount of the check written in numbers
4) The amount of the check written in words, putting the cents in terms of 100 (ex: 00/100 for no cents, or 50/100 for 50 cents), and drawing a line after the “100” to the word “Dollars” (this is to prevent unscrupulous people from having enough room to tamper with your check)
5) A memo (for your records, or sometimes the recipient will request you note your account number)
6) Your signature
Be sure you write legibly so that the bank can read the check correctly!
When you order your checks from a check printing company, your name and address will be pre-printed on your checks (7), as will your bank name (8), routing number (the first group of numbers – before the colon) (9), account number (the second group of numbers – after the colon) (10), check number (11), and the basic format of the check.
A few interesting notes: when you write the amount to be paid in words, if that amount is different from the amount written in numbers, the bank will honor the amount written in words. That amount is legally binding! So, take your time when filling out checks and be sure you are doing it correctly!
Also, it is never a good idea to have your social security number pre-printed on your check – this is a very important number and private! Finally, it is best not to get your phone number pre-printed on your checks. If a company needs that information, you can always hand-write it on the check.
As you can see, it is not difficult to fill out a check, but if you’ve never done it before, it might take a bit of practice. Try it a few times on the sample check below and have fun with it!
Fun fact for today – on April 2, 1792, Congress passed the Coinage Act which created the US Mint, and the first one opened in Philadelphia. Happy Birthday US Mint! (Source: http://www.reference.com)