The sections listed below are pre-printed on a check. However, it’s important to understand these fields and their importance.
Your name and address are pre-printed on each check.
This number is nine digits long and identifies your financial institution, such as a bank or credit union. A routing number helps identify your bank.
This number identifies your specific account within the banking institution. Typically, bank account numbers are 8–12-digits, but can be up to 17 digits long depending on your bank.
This number tells you which check you’re on (out of all the checks in a checkbook) and is mainly used for tracking checks you’ve written.
Writing a check — The bottom line
While writing a check by hand isn’t as common in today’s day and age, there are still occasions that may require you to fill one out.
Now that you have a better understanding of what each section of a check means and how to fill it in, you can feel confident whipping out your checkbook and pen.
Filling out a check FAQ
What is a bounced check?
A bounced check is a check that’s written and distributed without having the sufficient funds available in your bank account. If the funds aren’t available, then the person or entity the check was made out to can’t receive the money, resulting in a bounced check. If a check bounces, banks will typically charge a fee (both to the check writer and the depositor).
Can you write a check to yourself?
Yes, but this is becoming less and less common. Typically, people write themselves checks as a way to withdraw cash or transfer money between accounts. If you want to write yourself a check, you would write your own name on the “pay to the order of” line.
What does it mean to endorse a check?
To deposit a check that’s made out to you, you’ll have to endorse it. This simply means signing the back of the check in the designated spot to verify that you’re the proper recipient and, usually, adding your bank account number. Endorsing the check is an added security step to ensure the correct person and account receives the money. It also authorizes the bank to complete the transaction.