How To Write A Check

Sometimes it’s the small things that get you: You might be familiar with checks, but you get stuck writing out the amount. Writing a check with cents is especially tricky, but with a little bit of practice, you’ll soon be able to do it without thinking.

IMPORTANT: WHEN WRITING A CHECK, ALWAYS WRITE CLEARLY AND NEATLY! Also, always use a black or blue ink pen – all other colors cannot be read by scanning equipment used by check processing companies.

Step One:


You must write the date on the check. It can be DD/MM/YYYY (02/01/2018), DD Month YYYY (1 February 2018), or Month DD, YYYY (February 1, 2018).

Step Two:

Write the name of the person or business that the check is going to. (i.e. “Kappa Kappa Psi” or “Tau Beta Sigma”)

Steps Three and Four:

For example, assume you need to write a check for eight dollars and fifteen cents (that’s $8.15).

There are two steps:
• Write the amount using numbers (see the red number three in the picture above).
• Write the amount using words (see the red number four in the image above).

First, write the amount in numeric form in the dollar box, located on the right side of your check next to the dollar sign (“$”). Start by writing the number of dollars (“8”) followed by a decimal point or period (“.”), and then the number of cents (“15”). Ultimately, you’ll have “8.15” in the dollar box.

Next, to write out the check’s amount in words, the two steps are similar:
• Write out the dollar amount.
• Write the word “and.”
• Write out the number of cents.

The tricky part is putting the number of cents into fraction format. To do so, write the number of cents, then write a slash (“/”), and then write the number 100. Technically, this is the fractional amount of whole dollars.

Using our $8.15 example, write the following:

“Eight dollars”

Write everything together on one line so that it reads “Eight dollars and 15/100.”

Now that you have the basic idea, let’s look at the example in more detail.

No “cents”: You might notice that the word “cents” doesn’t appear anywhere—you don’t need to use it when writing a check. It is sufficient to simply put the number of cents into the format above. If you want, you can certainly write “fifteen cents,” but it’s easier and faster to use the fraction format. Plus, your check probably has the word “Dollars” at the end of the line, so it would not make sense.

The word “and”: Include the word “and” just before you write how many cents the check is for (or just after you write out the full dollar amount). You are writing a check for dollars and cents. If you like, you can use an ampersand (“&”) or plus sign (“+”) instead. It is best not to use the word “and” elsewhere when you write out the amount. For example, the following example is incorrect, and the word “and” should be removed: “One hundred and five dollars.”


It might help to think in terms of percentages: The word percent comes from a Latin term that roughly translates to “per 100.” That’s why cents are called “cents”—each one is one percent of a dollar. Another way of looking at it is to consider that each cent is one one-hundredth of a dollar. When you write a check, you note how many dollars the check is for, including whole dollars as well as partial dollars—or cents.

**It is VITAL that the number written in box 3 matches what you write out longhand on line 4! If they do not match, the bank will either reject the check, or submit it for the amount written out longhand.**

Step Five:


Make absolutely sure that you sign the check! For checks written on the chapter account, the check will need two signatures for the bank to accept it – Treasurer and President/Sponsor/Director of Bands. Each chapter has their accounts set up differently as who the second signer is on record with the bank.

Step Six:

Memo Line

Always document what the check is being written for in the memo line (#6 on the picture).