Writing checks is pretty much a breeze, unless there’s something written incorrectly or missing information that will cause the bank to not honor the check. That's the last thing you want. Consider ordering custom checks so you have the correct name and address in advance.
Here are 6 common check writing mistakes you should avoid so your checks aren’t stopped in their tracks.
1. Incorrect Date
It’s important to completely spell out the month, followed by the date and year. Don't abbreviate the month. And, once a new year begins, remind yourself to put the new year in rather than the old. This is a common habit, especially during the first week or two in January.
2. Incorrect Amount
The numeric amount and the written amount of your check must match. When people are in a hurry or new to writing checks, they often write the amounts incorrectly or inconsistently.
3. The Important Signature
It's important to make sure you’re the ONLY one signing your checks. Your signature needs to match the one on file at your bank. And, it’s critical to sign your checks immediately after writing them out! Practice writing your signature so it’s always legible. Never use a scribbled signature or initials on your signature line.
4. Correcting Mistakes
If you make a mistake while writing a check, it’s best to void it out and destroy it. Some people make the mistake of crossing out errors and putting the correction next to or above the mistake. Checks with these types of changes may send a “red flag” to the bank that the check could have been fraudulently written or altered.
5. Inks and Pencils
Never use a pencil, marker or colored ink pens to write out your checks. You should always use black or blue ink.
6. Post-dating or Advanced Check Writing
You should only write out your checks when you need them! Don’t write them out weeks and/or months ahead of time when they could end up being stolen or misplaced.
Once the check is written, mail it, drop it off or cash it as soon as possible. Don’t keep checks lying around – you need to protect your banking information from identity theft and other hazards.
A check is a valuable banking instrument and is equal to cash. Take the time to write your checks properly and you will reduce the number of issues that you may encounter.
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