Checks might seem like a relic in today’s digital age, but they remain an essential financial tool for many transactions. One of the common stumbling blocks people face when writing checks is how to accurately note the cents. Let’s dive into the proper way to do this.
1. Understanding the Anatomy of a Check:
Every check, whether personal or business, has several components. There’s the payee line, where you write the name of the person or organization you’re paying, the numeric amount box, the amount in words line, and spaces for a memo, your signature, and date. Familiarizing yourself with these sections will aid in correctly filling out the check.
2. Steps to Write Cents Correctly:
- Start with the Dollar Amount:
Always begin by writing the dollar amount just as you would normally. For instance, if you’re writing a check for $45.50, start with “Forty-five.”
- Using the Fraction Format:
After writing the dollar amount, you’ll represent cents as a fraction. Using our example, you’d write “Forty-five and 50/100.” This shows you’re paying fifty cents beyond the 45 dollars.
- Avoiding Common Mistakes:
Ensure you start writing immediately after the dollar sign to avoid alterations. Steer clear of leading zeros and always maintain clarity in your writing.
3. Ensuring Clarity for the Numeric Amount Box:
In the box where you note the check’s numeric amount, ensure the dollar and cents are clear. For $45.50, you’d write “45.50.” It’s crucial that the written amount and the numeric amount align perfectly to avoid potential complications at the bank.
4. What to Do If You Make a Mistake:
- Voiding the Check:
If you realize there’s an error on the check, write “VOID” in large letters across the front. This ensures the check can’t be used maliciously if it falls into the wrong hands.
- Documenting for Records:
Keep a record of any checks you void, jotting down the reason. This can be useful for your personal financial tracking or in case any questions arise later.
5. Other Check-Writing Tips:
Always use dark ink, preferably black or blue, when writing checks. This ensures the writing is clear and legible. And remember, leaving large gaps or spaces can be an invitation to fraud, so write the amounts as close to the dollar sign as possible.
Writing checks, especially noting cents, might seem like a simple task, but precision is key. With transactions relying on written figures, even a minor mistake can lead to complications. So, next time you’re jotting down those cents, take a moment to double-check. Your financial accuracy and safety are worth that extra glance.