I personally don’t write to many checks these days. However I still write them. I learned to write a check when I first got a checking account in college. I had moved out of the dorms and into my first apartment. I felt so grown up. However, I had no clue how to write a check or how checks were handled. A life sill I needed. So who did I go to my Mom of course, my teacher of the life skill. She talked me through how to write out a check over the phone. Then the next time we got together she taught me how to balance my check book.
In today’s world we have so many choices on how to pay for things, writing a check is one of the last ways we think of to pay for things. However, it is a life skill that is still used and needs to be taught.
Here are the parts of a check. 1) is YOUR name. your address and telephone number are optional. However most stores will ask for it and write it on the check if it is not on it. I personally do not put my phone number on it but I will happily give it to anyone that asks for it. That is a personal choice. 2) is the check number. This identifies the check in your check register and on the bank statement. 2a) is the date your are writing the check. 3) Pay to the order of line is where you write the name of the person (or the store, or company) you are paying. Example: John Smith 4) is the amount of the check in numbers. Example: $407.32 5) is where you write out the amount of the check in words. Example: four hundred seven and 32/100 ———————Dollars. Note you will want to draw and line from the end of writing out to the “dollars” printed on the check to prevent anyone altering the check. 6) is the Memo line. This is where you put a small note to remind yourself what the check is for Example: parts for truck. 7) is where you sign the check. This tells the bank you are authorizing the bank to pay out funds from your account. 8) is the numbers for your bank(a routing number) and your account number and the number of the check. It is printed in a font that computers can read it easily. 9) is where your bank’s logo is and their address. Writing out a check is basically fill in the blank.
What happens after you write a check?
Right after you hand the check over to the payee you should get into the habit of thinking you no longer have that money even though your account will not reflect it right away. How long will it take to show in your account you wrote a check? That will depend on the payee. So using the example above, John Smith has a check you wrote for $407.32 for truck parts. John Smith will take your check to his bank and he will deposit it or cash it. Then his bank will request from your bank for payment. This is when the money is taken from your account. This can take a couple of business days. However, in this day in age of electronics it can happen much faster through mobile phones, computers, and check scanners on cash registers.
What happens when you deposit a check?
Let’s look at what happens when you deposit a check. Example: You receive a $300.00 check for a load of firewood you sold. You go to your bank and deposit it, which starts the process of “clearing” the check. This can take several business days to do. In the meantime you need some cash. It is your responsibility to repay any funds that are used if that check is not good, in other words it bounces. The bank can put a hold on a check depending on how much it is and who issued the check. By law the bank has to release the first $200 and in a few days the balance will be cleared to you to use.
First, when you write a check make sure you have money in your account to cover it and you keep track of it on your check register. If you write a check and it bounces you are required to pay it and the overdraft fees. If you don’t you can get into deep trouble with the law because that is fraud. Next, don’t assume any check you have deposited has cleared. To make 100% sure check with your bank that check is cleared. The bank does not notify you if a check has cleared but they will notify you if you bounce a check
I hope this has helped you understand how checks are processed and you learned a life skill.
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