Do You Know What All the Parts of a Check Mean?
Breaking Down the Anatomy of a Check
Even though mobile and online banking are rising in popularity, every once in a while you still have to deposit or write a check. Have you ever stopped to think about what all the different unexplained parts, lines and numbers on a check mean? At First State Bank, we offer online banking as well as mobile banking, but we still appreciate our roots. So allow us to explain what all the different parts of a check mean.
- In the top left corner of every check, you will find the name and address of account holder, usually an individual or business.
- The line beginning with “Pay to the order of” is where you will find who the check is going to.
- Your bank’s American Banking Association (ABA) number appears at the top right of the check.
- The check’s number appears in two places on your check: at the top right, and bottom center.
- You should always fill in the date the check was written at the top right, and never fill in a future date.
- The amount the check is made out for should appear here in numerals.
- The dollar amount will appear in the very center of the check spelled out, with cents shown as a fraction. Some people stylize this as “no/100” while others write “xx/100” if the amount is an exact dollar amount with no cents.
- Your bank’s name and address is written out on the face of your check.
- The “for” line near the bottom of your check is optional. Example purposes for a check could be rent, utilities or groceries.
- Your signature goes on the last line at the bottom right of a check.
- You will see two long numbers at the bottom left of checks. This line is an MICR line, which means Magnetic Ink Character Recognition; this is how your checks are scanned at ATMs, grocery stores and other locations. The left number is your account number with your bank. The number on the right is the routing (ABA) number and is always nine digits long between a line and a colon.
- The number of your check appears both at the bottom center of your check as well as at the top right.
Now that you know what all the different parts of a check mean, you are ready to write and deposit! Just do not forget to endorse (i.e., sign the back of the check where it says, “Endorse here”) your deposits and void any incorrectly filled-out checks you make.