4 Common Mistakes People Make When Writing Checks

4 Common Mistakes People Make When Writing Checks

A check is a negotiable instrument that allows the drawer to ask a third party to release money from their account for payment to the bearer. The checks have an interior with spaces for information such as the author’s name, endorsement clause, day of issue, etc.

You can write a check to pay a bill, pay a debt, or check out a store. You can also use it to give someone money, even if you don’t owe them anything. Some types of checks include personal checks, certified checks, cashier’s checks, payroll checks, and money orders. If you make an error when writing a check, it may bounce.

1. The Check is Not Signed

A signature is a mark or symbol to certify and prove a document’s authenticity. It can be manual or electronic. Manual signatures are often handwritten using a pen. Electronic signatures can be a number keyed into a computer, chipped into a smart card, or inputted by touch on a tablet. A person’s signature on a document is enough to bind them legally to all its contents.

If the drawer doesn’t sign the check, the bank cannot pay it because they do not have any way to prove it is valid. Ensure that you sign in the right space. The signature should match the sample on file. If they are not identical, the check could be rejected. Electronic or digital signatures should be presented in a readable, clear, and complete format.

2. The Check is Modified or Altered

An alteration is any action taken to change the information written on a document. This can be done by adding, subtracting, or changing words on a check. The alteration can be a simple crossing out of an amount to re-write it or as drastic as removing complete lines or writing in entirely new amounts and information.

If you must make any changes, write the reason and initial it. The initials should be very close to the line being changed. The alteration should be shown in the same ink as the rest of the check. Modern laser checks are very difficult to alter. Avoid making changes, but if you have to, ensure you do it clearly and correctly.

3. The Amount Written Doesn’t Match the Numeric Amount

Checks have spaces for writing a numeric and worded amount. The numeric amount should always match the number written in words. If they don’t match, it is considered an error, and the check will likely be rejected. Proofread the check after filling it out. Check all of your writing to ensure it is legible and clear. Ensure that all of the information and numbers are correct.

4. The Check is Written Without a Date

Without a date, there is no way to tell when the check was written. If there is a space for a date, ensure you have filled it out. If there is no specified space, write it in any vacant space or parenthesis next to one of the other information fields.

Your bank needs a record of when you write the check for bookkeeping, fund reconciliation, and settlement purposes. Make sure that you write it in the correct format so that the computer can correctly process and read it.

If you write a check, ensure you correctly format it for your application and bank. Ensure all the information is written legibly and accurately. Make sure you have filled all of the spaces.